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Arsenal forward Theo Walcott and Everton midfielder Marouane Fellaini both marked their first-team returns with a goal but the 1-1 draw was little use in the battle to regain a top-four spot in the Barclays Premier League.
Walcott, who had missed two matches with a shoulder injury, scored after only 52 seconds only for Fellaini, having served a one-match ban, to equalise just before the half-hour mark. Everton appealed for a second-half penalty when former Toffees midfielder Mikel Arteta challenged Steven Pienaar but the spot kick was not given.
The Toffees have drawn six of their last eight League matches and they are now in sixth, with the Gunners immediately below them. Arsenal had won eight and drawn two of their last 10 League meetings and must have felt they would add to their tally of victories after gaining such an early advantage.
Fans barely had the chance to take their seats before he put the visitors ahead in a move which carved open the Everton defence, Walcott set off on a diagonal right-to-left run, aided by a rebound off Phil Jagielka, but when he got to the edge of the penalty area he offloaded to Aaron Ramsey.
The England international continued the path of his run and his Welsh team-mate duly returned the ball for him to fire in a shot which looped up off Tony Hibbert and over goalkeeper Tim Howard. It took him into double figures for the season and made him joint league scorer - with four - alongside Olivier Giroud, Lukas Podolski and Santi Cazorla.
Arsenal were forced into a reshuffle minutes later when Laurent Koscielny injured himself clearing the ball and was replaced by left-back Kieran Gibbs, with Thomas Vermaelen reverting to his usual place in the centre.
Fellaini's downward header at a corner was collected by Wojciech Szczesny at the second attempt but the Belgium international is not one to pass up chances when they are presented to him and he capitalised in the 28th minute.
Bacary Sagna, under pressure from Steven Pienaar, played a cross-field clearance straight to Everton's leading scorer 25 yards out. He got the ball under control before curling a low, left-footed shot inside Szczesny's right-hand post.
Nikica Jelavic then produced a moment of sublime skill to control Fellaini's flick on his chest and turn Per Mertesacker but he could not hit the target. After 10 minutes contesting dominance at the start of the second half, Everton emerged on top and had it not been for Szczesny they would have gone ahead.
The Poland international kept out Pienaar's near-post shot at the expense of a corner and when Leighton Baines' initial cross was returned to him he picked out Sylvain Distin whose powerful header was denied by Szczesny's fingertips.
The Gunners responded with Olivier Giroud flashing a header across goal from Walcott's cross as they started to show signs of turning the tide. Suddenly Howard was the busier goalkeeper, punching clear a couple of corners and repelling Cazorla's long-range strike. Jelavic had one late chance to snatch victory in the 89th minute but he fired his cross-shot through the six-yard box.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger: "It was a game of big physical intensity, we had a good start and after that I felt Everton came back into it and their direct game was always a threat.
"There are regrets on the goal we conceded but 1-1 is a fair result and it is a good point here. We needed to show great spirit to get away with a point and I am pleased with the effort they put into the game."
Everton manager David Moyes: “The players played really well throughout. [Leighton Baines] felt [his hamstring] in the game and played on in the last 10 or 15 minutes. I felt we put in a lot of energy tonight but it might take its toll.
"We've got Gibbo (Darron Gibson) and Hibbo (Tony Hibbert) back and that has eased it a little bit but I am worried about Nikica Jelavic (ill) who has not trained since Saturday and yesterday I was not playing him."
|01 Dec 2012||v Man City (A)|
|09 Dec 2012||v Spurs (H)|
|15 Dec 2012||v Stoke (A)|
|22 Dec 2012||v West Ham (A)|
|26 Dec 2012||v Wigan (H)|
|30 Dec 2012||v Chelsea (H)|