But the brilliance of the Spanish playmaker went unappreciated by Bolton manager Owen Coyle, who had triple cause for complaint at referee Alan Wiley for his role in his team's downfall.
Arteta struck after Bolton defender Gretar Steinsson was shown a red card for hauling down Yakubu as the forward chased Steven Pienaar's through-ball towards goal.
Art work: Mikel Arteta (left) fires home a free-kick to set Everton on their way to victory over Bolton
The Spaniard curled the resulting 20-yard free-kick around theBolton wall, and left keeper Jussi Jaaskelainen rooted to the spot, toset up Everton for a seventh successive home victory, equalling theirbest ever run in the Premier League.
Coyle, however, not only felt that Yakubu had been offside beforereceiving the telling pass but that Arteta had moved the ball fouryards closer to the goal before converting his free-kick. He was alsoaggrieved that Wiley had failed to even up the teams by neglecting tosend off Everton midfielder Tim Cahill.
Coyle said: 'My initial impression was that Yakubu was offside but, if there was contact, it was minimal.
Seeing red: Bolton's Gretar Steinsson (right) is ordered off by referee Alan Wiley
'Mr Wiley, in his wisdom, decided it was a red card, which sometimeshappens. But my issue then is that he allows Mikel Arteta, who is aworld-class player, to move the ball four yards closer to our goal. Iwould suggest with the quality he's got, he's far more dangerous fromfour yards closer to our goal.'
Cahill, booked in the first half, might have been dismissed, eitherfor deliberate handball or a studs-up challenge on Chung-Yong Lee.
Coyle added: 'The decision went against us. I'm the last person whowants players red-carded and off the pitch, but I've had players bookedand sent off for similar offences.'
The second goal was scored in the last minute by Pienaar, whoslotted the ball into an empty net from 15 yards after substitute LeonOsman did well to keep the play alive on the byline.
Injury woe: Everton's Victor Anichebe is stretchered off
But the game needed Arteta's something-out-of-the-ordinary to liftit, with both teams apparently destined to end the campaign inmid-table. For Everton, the return of Arteta, out for a year with torn knee ligaments, has seen him scorethree times in six starts and serves as a reminder of the sort ofcampaign they might have enjoyed had they not been cursed by injury.
'Of course I wish it was three months ago, with the players we havecoming back,' said manager David Moyes. 'And that was a terrificfree-kick. I said I didn't want Mikel to do things too soon when hecame back but he's growing in confidence and improving all the time.He's feeling more like his old self.'
Fall guy: Yakubu Ayegbeni is sent tumbling by Gretar Steinsson
Bolton, buoyed by a recent run of three victories from their lastfour games which has lifted them up the table, might have had a penaltyas early as the third minute after Steinsson's free-kick caused ascramble and Kevin Davies's shot appeared to strike the arm of JohnHeitinga.
But, after Victor Anichebe had wasted a glorious opening with a badfirst touch, most of the first half belonged to Bolton. Their best twoopportunities came late as Tamir Cohen flashed a shot wide and Daviesappeared on the end of a flowing move only to be denied by the leg ofTim Howard.
Everton opened the second half with more urgency and Phil Neville'scross almost presented Pienaar with a scoring opportunity before Yakubueventually forced a save out of Jaaskelainen.
Then Phil Jagielka wasted a glorious chance when he met Arteta'sfree-kick, unmarked six yards out, but guided his header straight atthe keeper.
Everton's 'Unplayable' Anichebe has a bright future if he can sort out attitudeEVERTON FC