A valiant performance from Everton earns a share of the spoils at the Emirates in a 0-0 draw with Arsenal.
Everton, who had won four of their last five matches, started lively and should have been ahead after six minutes. Steven Pienaar was played into the right side of the Arsenal penalty area by Seamus Coleman, but lifted his shot over both goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny and also the crossbar.
After 41 minutes, Giroud should have put Arsenal ahead when Aaron Ramsey got away down the right and swept the ball back through the penalty area, where the French striker arrived at pace ahead of goalkeeper Howard – but stabbed the ball wide.
Santi Cazorla´s angled shot was blocked as the Gunners finished the half strongly. The Spaniard tested Howard again following the restart with a rasping half-volley as Arsenal looked to break down the stubborn visitors.
Everton, though, refused to lie down and were awarded a free-kick just outside the penalty arc in a central position when former Toffees midfielder Mikel Arteta tripped Pienaar – but Leighton Baines fired it into the wall.
From the break, Walcott sprinted away down the right and eventually crossed for Giroud, but with his back to goal, the striker could not turn and the chance was gone.
The impressive Barkley almost opened the scoring in the 64th, his curling effort just evading Szczesny´s right-hand post. But that was the visitors´ only chance in a second half dominated by the home side.
With 10 minutes left, Arsenal then produced the best move of the game as Gibbs was expertly fed the ball by the industrious Cazorla and sent a low cross in toward the stretching Giroud, but Seamus Coleman managed to slide in to clear.
Giroud had another great chance three minutes later as he received the ball in the area and went past Phil Jagielka only to blast his effort over the bar from a tight angle.