Everton got back to winning ways after 105 days of suffering and raised several concerns for Arsenal’s Premier League sequence
Leaders Arsenal faced a tricky challenge this matchweek against Everton, who took the field with a higher intensity due to the debut of manager Sean Dyche, taking over from the failed Frank Lampard project.
On his debut, Dyche promoted two changes from Lampard’s last line-up, including a switch to four at the back with Mina the centre-back to lose his spot. Gray was also moved to the bench, prioritising McNeil.
At the other end, manager Mikel Arteta did not change any names from the starting line-up from the win against Manchester United (3-2). The big news was Partey starting in midfield, after discussions involving his fitness during the week.
To read Arsenal’s player ratings in this match, click here.
Everton showed incredible performance with Sean Dyche
That image that has dogged Everton all season seems to have been left behind with Lampard’s departure. The impact of Dyche’s arrival was immediate with the Goodison Park side completely nullifying Arsenal during the first half.
Everton worked the ball very well pressing Arsenal quickly and being aggressive throughout. Amadou Onana contributed decisively in midfield, and the tactical organisation without the ball extracted the best from the club’s present squad.
The Gunners had just one real chance to score in the 39th minute with a Bukayo Saka volley towards the corner from goalkeeper Pickford, who was already beaten on the spot. However, Coady does superbly to track back and clear the ball off the line.
Arsenal improved in the second half, but Everton took the biggest opportunity
Fulfilling expectations, Arsenal returned with a better performance at the start of the second half with better ball movement and greater occupation of the attacking field, demanding more from the opposing goalkeeper.
However, soon after the entrance of Jorginho (debuting for the Gunners), Everton sought the goal with Tarkowski winning the battle against Odegaard in McNeil’s corner deep to the back post, creating an unimaginable situation for the Premier League leaders.
Arteta’s side dominated possession in the second half and tried attacking moves mainly down the flanks to try and reduce the deficit and at least try to seek an equaliser, but failed to reach the goal.
Great news for Everton and worries for Arsenal
One of the biggest question marks at the pre-match protest at Goodison Park consisted of the lack of reinforcements during the last transfer window. However, Sean Dyche’s great debut proved that lack of qualified players is not the biggest problem for Everton, who are likely to escape relegation.
On the other side, Mikel Arteta ended up being dominated by Sean Dyche for 3/4 of the match, raising concerns for the Premier League sequence against more qualified opponents (especially the two duels against Manchester City).