Olivier Giroud snatched a point for Arsenal in a dramatic 2-2 draw with Everton in the Barclays Premier League.
First-half goals from Seamus Coleman and Steven Naismith had put Roberto Martinez's side firmly in command as Arsenal laboured on the back of their midweek UEFA Champions League exertions in Turkey against Besiktas.
But Aaron Ramsey bounced back from his red card on Tuesday night in Turkey to net his third goal in as many domestic appearances this term before Giroud, a half-time substitute, headed home from Nacho Monreal's 90th-minute cross after Everton had allowed the full-back time on the left byline.
For most of the match, Everton gave a compelling demonstration of how well they can compete with the sides who finished above them on bigger budgets last season. But Ramsey and Giroud showed how hard overhauling the big boys will prove to be for Martinez's enterprising team.
Despite scoring on the opening weekend against Leicester City, Aiden McGeady dropped to the Everton bench as Belgium forward Kevin Mirallas earned a starting role. Arsenal welcomed back Germany FIFA World Cup winners Per Mertesacker and Mesut Ozil, while Alexis Sanchez was handed a central striking role for the first time by Arsene Wenger.
Steven Pienaar's early departure through injury appeared to unsettle Everton and a badly misjudged 15th-minute clearance by Coleman gave Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain a chance at goal but he shot narrowly wide from the edge of the area. Coleman soon settled his and Everton's nerves, though, when he stole in behind Ozil to head home Gareth Barry's 19th-minute cross.
Three minutes later, Naismith flicked on another excellent lofted pass from Barry to send Mirallas bearing down on goal, but he could only stab wide under pressure from Calum Chambers and Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny.
Mirallas grazed the top of the netting with a 35th-minute free-kick. Just as it appeared that Arsenal had weathered the storm, Everton doubled their advantage on the stroke of half-time.
Romelu Lukaku sent Mertesacker tumbling and raced towards the visitors' goal, eventually picking the pass for Naismith to produce a measured finish under Szczesny.
Wenger replaced Alexis with Giroud at half-time and the France striker almost made an instant impact, smashing a volley over on the end of Oxlade-Chamberlain's raking pass within a minute of the restart.
Barry continued to orchestrate the play for Everton in midfield and Jack Wilshere offered a demonstration of Arsenal's frustrations when he fouled his former England team-mate for a yellow card.
Ramsey played in Giroud to rifle a shot narrowly wide from the edge of the area midway through the second half before the Wales midfielder drew a sharp stop from Tim Howard as Arsenal sought to launch a final assault.
Santi Cazorla, on for Wilshere, injected some clever footwork and an excellent low cross for Ramsey to reduce the arrears with seven minutes remaining, clearing the way for Giroud to steal the headlines.
Everton manager Roberto Martinez: "Our first-half display was full of dynamic football and energy. We looked really strong every time we went forward and when we defended we stopped Arsenal from having a shot on target. Scoring the two goals should have been enough to control the game in the normal manner that we do.
"I just felt that certain individuals, and as a team, we dropped our energy levels and we couldn't control it. When you do that, you have to score that third goal or you allow Arsenal to get one all of a sudden and it becomes momentum and you have something to lose."
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger: "Once we were 2-0 down it can go both ways, they can catch us on the counter-attack because we have to come out and give absolutely everything but we gave a great response and a complete desire to come back.
"The spirit was fantastic and in the end we got back to 2-2. We got a strong point but a deserved one if you look at all the chances we had through the game. I think especially in the second half we had plenty of chances and we came back very late but our spirit maybe got us that point."
|13 Sep 2014||v West Brom (A)|
|30 Nov 2014||v Spurs (A)|
|27 Sep 2014||v Liverpool (A)|
|30 Aug 2014||v Chelsea (H)|
|26 Oct 2014||v Burnley (A)|
|05 Oct 2014||v Man Utd (A)|