Everton ended their eight-game winless run in dramatic style, securing a 2-1 victory over Arsenal in the Premier League thanks to Demarai Gray’s stunning injury-time strike.
On a miserable night in Merseyside, the visitors took the lead on the stroke of half-time when Martin Odegaard steered home Kieran Tierney’s cross after an uneventful and uninspiring opening 45 minutes.
Things improved in the second period, though. Star striker Richarlison twice had efforts ruled out for marginal offsides before the Brazilian finally levelled things up via a well-taken header.
And under-fire manager Rafa Benitez saw his struggling side secure all three points just minutes before the final whistle blew when Gray rifled home a stunning strike from 20 yards out.
The end result could have been different if Eddie Nketiah hadn’t hit the post with a gilt-edged chance when the scores were level and if substitute Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had been able to slot home with the final kick of the game.
But, in truth, the Toffees deserved a slice of luck for their battling and determined to display after a torrid run of form in recent weeks.
Despite Gray’s last gasp heroics, it was arguably Richarlison who really stepped up to the plate in what felt like a critical moment in Benitez’s Goodison Park tenure.
As per SofaScore, the 24-year-old received a match rating of 8 out of 10, the highest total awarded to any Everton player that featured on Monday night.
During his time on the pitch, Richarlison won a whopping eight duels, made four key passes to his grateful teammates, completed three of his four attempted dribbles and also pulled his weight defensively, making three tackles.
And Liverpool ECHO journalist Adam Jones was also impressed with the versatile forward’s eye-catching showing.
“Put a lot of effort in and affected the game well, particularly when dropping back in and looking for possession. Finally his goal came and it was well deserved after two unfortunate offside calls,” wrote Jones after awarded him an eight out of 10.
After picking up their first three points since 25 September, Everton and Benitez will be able to breathe a huge sigh of relief after their win over the Gunners, and Richarlison was instrumental in their victory.