Everton came from behind to beat Arsenal 2-1 at Goodison Park, but Ben Godfrey was fortunate to remain on the pitch following a first-half incident involving Takehiro Tomiyasu
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Mikel Arteta refused to use Ben Godfrey escaping a red card as an excuse for his side’s dramatic defeat to Everton.
During the first half of the Toffees’ clash with Arsenal at Goodison Park, referee Mike Dean was forced to halt proceedings after being made aware of an incident between the two defenders.
Replays showed the Everton defender extended his leg and made contact with Tomiyasu’s chin.
Dean took a closer look on the pitchside monitor after consultation with the VAR, but decided against further sanctions for Godfrey, despite Tomiyasu appearing to be bleeding from the chin.
Speaking at half time of the Premier League encounter, Neville, along with Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher suggested Godfrey had been very fortunate to stay on, with the former claiming he “definitely” meant it.
“You’re talking to two of the masters of trying to make it look accidental,” Neville explained. “We think he definitely means that. However I can see why VAR have said it’s accidental, you couldn’t prove it… but as a professional you know.”
Carragher added: “He’s a very lucky boy.”
Godfrey went on to commit several more fouls, but ultimately played out the 90 minutes on a drama filled night of Premier League football.
Arsenal were left to rue that decision as they saw Everton come from behind to earn a dramatic victory on Merseyside.
But Arteta refused to make any excuses and when quizzed on the Godfrey incident, he said: “That decision is made, I’m sure the VAR has reviewed it, but I want more from my team.”
The hosts thought they had taken the lead during the opening 45 when Richarlison nodded home an Andros Townsend free kick.
That was subsequently disallowed for offside, with Arsenal going up the other end and taking the lead through Martin Odegaard on the stroke of the break.
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On a night where planned Everton supporter protests fell flat, the home support were growing increasingly frustrated as their side trailed deep into the second half.
Richarlison saw a second goal ruled out for offside, before the Brazilian finally got on the scoresheet with ten minutes remaining.
Rafael Benitez then saw his team earn a valuable three points when Demarai Gray scored a stunning injury-time winner.
Defeat for Arsenal means they have now lost three of the last four, remaining in seventh position, whilst Everton’s first win September 25 saw them move up to 12th.