Unai Emery said Arsenal remain in control of the race for Champions League qualification after another disappointing away performance saw his side lose 1 – 0 at Everton on Sunday.
Phil Jagielka , only drafted into Everton’ s starting line- up at the last minute , scored the game ’ s only goal as Arsenal extended their wretched record as the only club in the top four divisions of English football not to have kept a clean sheet on their travels this season.
But Arsenal boss Emery , while conceding his team had played badly , tried to remain positive in the aftermath at Goodison Park .
“I think generally we are well . I don’ t think ; ‘ today we lost and we are very bad ’ .
It was a bad result, not a good performance today , but we are fourth, ” Emery said .
“ Before , I knew it was going to be difficult . After this result, I am thinking the same .
“ After this result , we can be negative because it is three points lost , but it is in our hands if we continue taking chances and opportunities , to be in the top four . ”
Everton had already threatened from one of Lucas Digne ’ s long throw- ins before the full – back delivered the set -piece that led to Jagielka ’ s opening goal on 10 minutes .
His throw was flicked on by Jagielka himself, for Dominic Calvert – Lewin to attempt a header on goal that saw the ball take a kindly bounce , falling to the unmarked defender who swept in from close – range .
There were Arsenal appeals for offside, and television footage seemed to show that Digne ’ s foot might have been over the line in the process of taking his all- important throw.
But it was certainly a dramatic intervention from Jagielka , who had only be called into the team minutes before kick -off when Michael Keane finally succumbed to a virus that had rendered him a doubt.
– Altercation –
Jagielka , 36 , has suffered a difficult season at Goodison , with a series of knee problems limiting him to three starts but his impact on this occasion could not have been greater , or much quicker.
It was also the former England international ’ s first goal since April 2017 as he became the oldest player to score in the Premier League this season .
Victory also meant that Everton have beaten a ‘ big six ’ side for a second consecutive home game , having failed to win against one of those teams in the previous 25 attempts.
But the post- match analysis centred more on Arsenal ’ s poor performance, one which improved only marginally at the interval when Emery brought on Aaron Ramsey and Pierre – Emerick Aubameyang .
The pair brought about an improvement in attack , the latter’ s 48th – minute cross producing a weak punch from Jordan Pickford which Ramsey volleyed over from 12 yards .
But , defensively, Arsenal were even worse after the restart.
Everton really should have doubled their lead on 73 minutes when a Gylfi Sigurdsson shot was charged down by Sokratis and Richarlison sliced the rebound well wide .
The pressure seemed to be taking its toll on Emery , who was involved in a furious verbal altercation with Everton boss Marco Silva eight minutes from time when Shkodran Mustafi was booked for a poor foul on Richarlison as he broke clear , in front of the technical area .
“ He arrived late , but I think it was a yellow card , ” said Emery .
“ I was speaking and he ( Silva ) came into my space and place on the bench and explained something to me . But it was no problem . ”