Arsenal 2-1 Everton: Kai Havertz’s late goal clinches victory but Gunners finish runners-up behind Man City

Arsenal finished the season as runners-up to Manchester City despite Kai Havertz’s late goal clinching a 2-1 win over Everton at the Emirates Stadium.

Havertz’s close-range finish survived a lengthy VAR check for handball after Takehiro Tomiyasu’s goal had cancelled out Idrissa Gueye’s deflected free-kick in the first half.

The 89th-minute strike ensured a winning end to the campaign for Arsenal but they needed a City slip-up against West Ham to claim the title and it did not come, with Pep Guardiola’s side winning 3-1.

Don’t be satisfied. We want much more than that – and we are going to go and get it.

The Gunners finish the campaign on 89 points, their second-highest total in Premier League history, but with a two-point gap to champions City. Everton, meanwhile, finish 15th.

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How Arsenal ended with a win

Arsenal started strongly amid a raucous atmosphere but the mood in the stadium quickly turned, as news of Phil Foden’s goals at the Etihad Stadium began to filter through.

Player ratings Arsenal: Raya (7), White (7), Saliba (7), Gabriel (7), Tomiyasu (8), Partey (6), Odegaard (8), Rice (7), Trossard (6), Havertz (7), Martinelli (7).

Subs: Zinchenko (6), Timber (7), Smith Rowe (6), Jesus (7).

Everton: Pickford (7), Coleman (7), Tarkowski (7), Branthwaite (6), Young (5), Gueye (8), Onana (7), Doucoure (7), Garner (6), McNeil (6), Calvert-Lewin (7).

Subs: Chermiti (6), Beto (n/a).

Player of the match: Martin Odegaard

The Gunners had early chances, with Tomiyasu heading wide and Jordan Pickford denying Declan Rice and Gabriel Martinelli, but Everton soon found a foothold, Dominic Calvert-Lewin striking the post before Gueye’s free-kick flew in off the head of Rice, wrong-footing David Raya.

Image: Idrissa Gueye celebrates with his team-mates after giving Everton the lead

Arsenal were not behind for long, however, as Tomiyasu produced a smart finish from Martin Odegaard’s cut-back, and the equaliser was quickly followed by news of Mohammed Kudus’ goal for West Ham at the Etihad Stadium, as the Emirates roared back to life.

Some fans appeared to be caught out by erroneous rumours of a West Ham equaliser goal soon after that but their celebrations were cut short and the mood was dampened again when Rodri added City’s third goal at the Etihad after the break.

Image: Takehiro Tomiyasu fires in Arsenal’s equaliser against Everton

Arsenal kept pushing for a second goal, though, and twice struck the crossbar, first through Havertz and then through substitute Emile Smith Rowe. Jurrien Timber, back from his ACL injury, was another second-half substitute.

As stoppage time drew closer, it appeared Arsenal would have to settle for a draw against the battling visitors but the breakthrough finally arrived as Havertz tucked home a close-range finish from another Odegaard assist.

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Referee Michael Oliver was sent to the pitchside monitor by VAR to check a possible Gabriel Jesus handball in the build-up but, to the frustration of the visitors, decided the goal should stand, clinching the win for Arsenal but not the title they were dreaming of.

Team news Bukayo Saka missed out with a slight muscle injury for Arsenal, with Gabriel Martinelli drafted into the starting line-up.

Everton named an unchanged team from their win over Sheffield United, with Dominic Calvert-Lewin starting up front again.

Arteta: We need to go to a different level

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player Mikel Arteta congratulated Manchester City on securing their fourth consecutive Premier League and said that despite breaking several Arsenal records this season, those achievements were not enough to deliver the title.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta:

“I’m very proud. First of all congratulations to Manchester City, they are the champions, they’ve been incredible since December. We have tried with everything that we had. You can sense how much we wanted it, we really tried. It wasn’t enough unfortunately.”

One of the dreams I had when I joined was to reconnect everybody, to really bring this place to a different level. We are on that journey right now. I feel sad because I really wanted to deliver that trophy today because it would mean the world to them but we are closer, that’s for sure.

On pushing Man City all the way: “It feels good because success can not only be measured by comparing to somebody else, we need to understand what we are doing. We’ve beat every record this club ever had apart from winning it. This is the most competitive league ever in history and we have to be better. Now we need to find ways we have to improve.

“Now we have to be more determined, very courageous, very ambitious, and we need to go to a different level. We need to deliver.”

Odegaard: We’ve changed the club Arsenal captain Martin Odegaard, speaking to the fans from the pitch after beating Everton:

“I think we’re all a little bit disappointed. We’ve been fighting so long for the big dream. We were so close. I’m so proud of the boys, so proud of the team the fans. I’m so proud of the progress we are making.

“We’ve changed the club and I think you all believe in us now.”

Pundit reaction: ‘Arsenal need to get a striker’

Sky Sports’ Gary Neville:

“A huge step forward for Arsenal this year, but they are up against one the best managers [Pep Guardiola] we have ever seen.”

Sky Sports’ Jamie Redknapp:

“This is the hardest part of the season. You have to show bottle, and show you’re not scared.

“Arsenal have pushed Man City relentlessly this year and they have seemed to answer it time and time again.”

Sky Sports’ Micah Richards:

“It is a brilliant young team and there is more to come at Arsenal.

“Kai Havertz has done well and Gabriel Jesus has probably not played at a level which we expected when he left Man City.

“If you’re looking on how they can improve they need to get a striker who can score all type of goals, even when Erling Haaland has not played at his best he has scored goals.”

Dyche laments ‘obvious handball’ on winner

Everton manager Sean Dyche on the decision to allow Kai Havertz’s late goal:

“It’s poor. We’re all worried about handball, we’re not quite sure where handball lives. But that for me was a really obvious one. They go over to the monitor – funny how it’s in a title race – and it goes the other way.

“At the end of the day, we’re not sure where handball lives but that’s a simple one. He handballs it dead into his path, he runs through and they score from it. So that one, for me, has got to be given.”

On Everton’s performance and finish to the season: “Really pleased by how the mentality has grown and improved as the season has gone on.

“We’ve had many knocks this season and I’m pleased the way the team and the staff have seen through the challenges and delivered.

“Even coming here today, it’s not an easy thing, players can relax a little bit, but you can’t at places like this and I don’t think there was even a hint of that.

“I thought we went about the game properly and effectively for our reasons, as part of Everton Football Club. Our fans saw the team give their lot to try and win the game.”

Havertz’s milestone – Opta stats

Arsenal’s 89 points this season is their second most in a single Premier League campaign, after the 90 earned by their title-winning side of 2003/04.

Everton lost their final Premier League game of the season for the 15th time – no side has done so more in the competition’s history.

Kai Havertz has become the fifth player to register 20 Premier League goal involvements (13 goals, 7 assists) in his debut season with Arsenal after Thierry Henry in 1999/00 (25), Santi Cazorla in 2012/13 (23), Lukas Podolski in 2012/13 (20) and Alexis Sanchez in 2014/15 (24).

William Saliba became the first outfield player to play every minute for Arsenal in a single Premier League campaign.

Havertz: Our best wasn’t enough but we’ll be back

Arsenal forward Kai Havertz:

“What can I say? I feel sorry for all the Arsenal fans. We gave our best but it wasn’t enough.

“Maybe in two or three months we can say it was a good fight. Right now I feel like we deserve more. It wasn’t enough in the end but we go again next year.

“We showed great character again, they didn’t make it easy for us. They took time with every throw and every ball. In my opinion it’s sometimes not fair in football but we have to accept that football is hard. Hopefully we can go again next year and give Arsenal fans what they need and what they’re all here for.”

On his message to the fans: “Right now I can’t even think. It’s just so frustrating. It’s tough. I can tell them next year that we’re going to be an even better team and we’re going to give everything again. That’s all I can say.”

The 2023/24 season has reached its conclusion but planning has already started for the new campaign.

Several Premier League sides have confirmed pre-season friendlies ahead of the 2024/25 term, which kicks off on the weekend of August 17/18, while others have given fresh kits an early airing.

The Premier League fixtures – all 380 of them – will be released at 9am on Tuesday, June 18, with full coverage on Sky Sports News and Sky Sports’ digital platforms.

The new EFL season starts on the weekend of August 10/11 and marks the launch of Sky Sports+, giving more choice to sports fans via live streams and a new dedicated channel, at no extra cost. In a broadcasting first, every EFL game across all three divisions – the Championship, League One and League Two – will be streamed live on the opening weekend.

Stand by for another busy summer in the transfer window – clubs can do business from June 14 until August 30 and the Sky Sports Transfer Centre will keep you posted with all the latest news and rumours.

Euro 2024 is just weeks away, too. Keep track of England’s Euro fixtures, check out the full tournament schedule in Germany and join us on skysports.com or the Sky Sports app to follow every game with our live match blogs.

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