Everton earn vital win in pursuit of Champions League spot

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Everton earned a vital win in their pursuit of a fourth-placed finish as they cruised to a 3-0 win over Champions League-chasing rivals Arsenal.

The hosts went ahead on 14 minutes as Steven Naismith tapped home from close range, before Romelu Lukaku smashed home the Toffee's second shortly after.

The rout was completed by a Mikel Arteta own goal on the hour mark to give Everton a great chance of reaching the top four for the first time since the 2004-2005 season.

In truth, it was a deserved result as the home side attacked the Gunners with pace and power which proved too hot for Arsene Wenger's men to handle.

They signaled their intent almost from the off as Ross Barkley and Kevin Mirallas began to dominate the game from midfield, and before the game was even 15 minutes old they took the lead.

Romelu Lukaku was put through by an inch-perfect pass from Leighton Baines and his shot was saved but it fell kindly into the path of Naismith, who kept his cool to put the home side in front.

An early goal for Everton was the worst possible start for Arsenal as it gave them belief and momentum, which they capitalised on with a delightfully worked second goal just after the half-hour mark.

The hosts broke quickly and Kevin Mirallas released Lukaku - playing in an unfamiliar role on the right hand side - who cut in and struck a fierce left-footed shot into the corner of the net.

The Gunners seemed shellshocked. They were being outclassed and outplayed and showed little signs of turning that around during the match's entirety.

Lukas Podolski was however unfortunate to see his deflected effort well saved by Tim Howard, but it proved to be the only time he was tested in a first-half that belonged completely to Everton.

Proceedings continued in a similar vein after the break and the home side found the killer goal on 62 minutes.

Mirallas was again involved as he played in Naismith who couldn't quite round 'keeper Wojeich Szcesny, and Mikel Arteta got the final touch as he and Mirallas competed for the loose ball.

With the result all but decided, Everton took their foot off the gas and Arsenal began to attack. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain struck the bar with a decent long-range effort but it proved too little too late as the Toffees saw out a win that owed much to the tactical know-how of Roberto Martinez.

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