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Arsenal 2-1 Everton: Ozil’s playmaking sends Gunners top

  • Gunners earn 2-0 lead
  • Barkley draws Toffees within one
  • Ozil nabs PL assist lead
  • Cech makes key saves

Olivier Giroud and Laurent Koscielny scored as Arsenal built a lead and hung on for a 2-1 win at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday.

Ross Barkley scored for Everton, which sinks to 10th on the Premier League table.

Arsenal leapt atop the table for the moment, and will stay there with a Manchester City loss or draw against Manchester United on Sunday, a non-blowout Red Devils win.

[ MORE: Watch full match replays ]

Olivier Giroud rose to head a Santi Cazorla corner kick, but it was headed wide. And Mesut Ozil saw his 1v1 saved by Tim Howard in the 15th minute.

The Frenchman injected some life into the game with his 36th minute goal, as Ozil sent a curling cross for Giroud to flick over Howard with the top of his head.

And another France international made it 2-0 moments later, as Santi Cazorla whipped a free kick for Koscielny to head past Howard. Deadball nightmares for the Goodison set.

But Barkley pulled one back before the break, lashing a left-footed shot that quickly took a turn off Gabriel Paulista to wrong-foot Petr Cech.

[ MORE: Click here for full lineups, stats, box score ]

2.71 - Mesut Özil has the best games/assist rate in @PremierLeague history - average one every 2.71 matches. (min. 20 assists) Provider.

— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) October 24, 2015

The second half saw some dicey moments for both defenses early, the most notable being Petr Cech escaping a hard-pressing Romelu Lukaku and Tim Howard’s sliding save in the 53rd minute.

Ozil sprung Giroud for a 69th minute chance that looked beautiful and should’ve made it 3-1, but the crossbar was not impressed.

The Toffees kept battling, but Lukaku was missing his killer instinct. The Belgian forward kept working himself into promising positions, but didn’t find the finished product.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

The most painful example came when referee Lee Mason played advantage when Barkley was fouled outside the 18, only for Lukaku to pop a well-crossed ball over the bar.

Cech made a point-blank save of Gerard Deulofeu in the 86th minute, as Everton kept pushing for an equalizer.

Gareth Barry took a second yellow card deep into stoppage time and will miss a game for Everton.

Follow @NicholasMendola