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Everton 2 - 0 Arsenal

Half-time: 0 - 0


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FA Carling Premiership 2000-01 – Game #14
3 pm Saturday 18 November 2000
Goodison Park, Merseyside
Att: 33,106
« Bradford City (a) Ref: Mike Riley Chelsea (h) »
[ Matchday Calendar ] League Position: 13th [ Results &  Table ]
 MATCH SUMMARY
Danny Cadamarteri

With no less than ELEVEN senior players missing, the injury crisis that has been cited as the official excuse for Everton's utterly disappointing start to the season escalates to new levels of madness... but those excuses began to fail after a tremendous performance by all the replacement Blues.  

A patched up Everton team surely could not stand a chance against Arsenal – championship challengers and Goodison boggy team when it comes to wins – or the lack thereof – against them at home in the Premiership?  Well, all the form and all the pundits were proved wrong by Everton's greater desire and enthusiasm. 

Everton started brightly but Arsenal soon began to show their class, creating a number of early chances.  But Everton matched them for much of the first half. 
Idan Tal had a good chance with a free-kick, but it swirled just wide of the post.  All things considered, this weakened Everton team did themselves proud.  

Early in the second half, Kevin Campbell was all alone in front of the Arsenal goal but he scuffed an easy shot.  Then, a long ball from Naysmith caught out  Luzhny who lost  it to Campbell, Cadamarteri stole in with a good first touch, and a great second touch, volleying home past Manninger and into the back of the Gwladys Street net.

Goodison Park and the match burst into life, with more dirty play from the cockney foreign legion being looked on kindly by a very lenient Mike Riley.  

Danny Cadamarteri turned brilliantly, bore down on goal, and slipped a brilliant ball through to Campbell as he was hacked form behind, and Campbell coolly slotted it home.  YES!

This pivotal match also marked a key moment in Everton's history, when the fans were ballotted for their views on a possible new ground at Kings Dock.  A disappointing attendance considering the importance of the decision, and an implicit indictment of Everton's "Premium Ticket Pricing" – to watch the Reserves!!!

 

  

 MATCH FACTS
   GOALSCORERS  
EVERTON: Cadamarteri (54'), Campbell (73') 
Arsenal:
   LINEUPS  Subs Not Used 
EVERTON: Gerrard; Cleland, Weir, Ball, Naysmith; Hughes, Pembridge, Gemmill; Tal (65' McLeod), Campbell, Cadamarteri.
Unavailable: Alexandersson, Ferguson, Gascoigne, Gough, Jeffers, Pistone,
S Watson Unsworth, Xavier (injured); Nyarko (sick); Gravesen (suspended).
Simonsen, Clarke, Osman, Moore.
Arsenal: Manninger; Dixon (80' Upson), Keown, Pires, Cole; Ljungberg, Wiltord, Parlour, Luzhny, Kanu, Bergkamp.  Lukic, Stepanovs,  Wreh, Vernazza.
   Playing Strips  Formations
EVERTON: Royal Blue shirts; white shorts; blue socks. 4-4-2
Arsenal: Red shirts; white shorts; red socks. 4-4-2
   Yellow Cards  Red Cards
EVERTON: Gemmill (45'), Tal (48'), McLeod (70').
Arsenal: Dixon (55'), Ljungberg (57').
Sports.com Detailed Match Stats and Full Match Commentary  

 

 MATCH REPORTS
 REPORTS BY EVERTON FANS
Mickey Blue Eyes Did the ground move for you too, darling?
Steve Bickerton They don't know what they missed
Rob Burns Who let the Dogs out?
Richard Marland The perfect birthday
 NEWSPAPER REPORTS
ELECTRONIC TELEGRAPH Quick-acting Cadamarteri gives Everton new life
by Clive White
THE SUNDAY TIMES Gunners hit by Everton bombshell
by Ron Clarke
THE TIMES Arsenal pay as their minds drift
by Oliver Kay
 LINKS TO NEWSPAPER REPORTS
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 LINKS TO OTHER INTERNET REPORTS
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 Did the ground move for you too, darling?
Mickey Blue Eyes
 
I voted YES of course.  If the opinions I’ve heard are anything to go by, then so did about 80% of the rest of the fans.  Quite right too.  But alas I cannot believe the directors are serious.  Quite apart from some other information I have, you need only consult the amateurish graphics released by the club in the ballot leaflet.  These are merely the Millennium Stadium graphics transported to Kings Dock.  Two pages are taken up with the GFE proposals for an obviously inferior design. Erk.

So, either:

(a) The architects HOK gave the graphics for the Kings Dock cut-and-paste job to an eighteen years old internee named Monica Lewinsky; or

(b) Whoever reviewed the graphics at the club is an incompetent arsehole who likes giving blow-jobs… perhaps Monica herself. 

In either case, you can’t avoid the implication that it’s all a PR exercise and nothing more. Such an anomaly won’t escape the reviewers at English Partnerships who are the sole owners and decision-makers in the process.  Forget everybody else.... it’s just window dressing.  Ho hum.

Add all this to the previous week’s hackpig-inspired trough-fest that Smiffy is leaving, so is Bally and The Ears, and gawd knows anybody else, including our overwrought bank manager and the man who sells you your NTL TV services, and it was a relief to get to see an actual match.  Search me why people give any credence to this kind of media muck.  But some do.  

Sadly it leads to the kind of corruption which sometimes sees hacks paying weak club “insiders” for “information.”  Usually it’s a storeman or ticket-seller or some such, the kind of insecure souls who hate their meniality and thus everyone else.  I know for certain there’s one at Anfield and there’s no reason to doubt we have one or two of our “own.”  Ah to hell with them.  I hope they all incinerate together.  Only the fans, players and managers matter.  All the rest are hangers-on.

It was, er, raining in sheets prior to the match.  I know this will surprise you (like all Englishmen are surprised by inclement weather during the winter) but apparently a centre of high meteorological pressure was moving in from the north Atlantic and pissing on everything in it’s path, a bit like trying to relieve yourself in the loo in the away section at Leicester.  If you’re not careful you just don’t make it.  Me, I was well prepared as usual.  Which is more than can be said, he he, for some of my compadres.  While they got soaked, I stayed dry during the walk to the ground from the Black Horse.  I read the weather report, you see.

I was also well prepared for the creaming we were going to get.  I was quite prepared to have Arsenal pissing on me Saturday Parade.  But not without a fight to the death.  Imminent demise concentrates the mind wonderfully.  What was it in Blackadder?  “Readyaimfire!!”?

Smiffy had an interesting formation again and some interesting selections to boot.  Cleland was in at, erm, right back; Bally moved to, erm, I’m not sure but I think it was, erm, centre back; Gary was left back, Scott Gemmill was right centre midfield, Pembo was left centre midfield, Idan Tal was wide left midfield, Danny was wide right midfield and SuperKev was upfront again on his own.  Have I missed anybody out?  

Oh aye yeh.  Davey Weir was centre back and Yozzer was seemingly nowhere in particular.  Paul held his place on the goal line, which sounds deadly familiar.  We had ten missing, they had six missing.  Sometimes life pulls your head off and shits down your neck.  Smiffy’s team selections occasionally do the same.  But this was an emergency.

We had a chance in the first few minutes straight into the Street End but Idan sent it wide with huge determination.  I like the boy… he looks hungry for now.  Then inevitably Arsenal started patting it around and it began to look ominous.  Not as bad as I thought though.  Scott and Pembo were giving it loads in midfield, all of it unceasing and valiant, if not a lot of skill.  

Arsenal simply passed their way through us time and again until, inevitably a chance fell their way in the Park End, left side edge of the box, and the ball went past Paul on the left side.  Gary was standing on the line, a job Bally was always reluctant to do, and he got his forehead on it, up, against the bar and out.  Hey… a stroke of luck!  Maybe we’ll get something out of this after all... 

By the time the half closed, Scott and Pembo had gradually learned their existential lesson and noticeably were winning a good deal more than they were losing, something we have achieved only against Toon this season.  Everyone else took their lead and started doing the same.  In the meantime, Lee Dixon was doing a wonderful impression of an over-the-hill owl arse trying to compensate for lack of pace by kicking everyone who came near him.  The crowd had found their pantomime villain.  Well, it’s that time of year...

We started well in the second half and began to close them down much more efficiently.  Smiffy’s body language was completely different this week – out at the dotted line and dead narky.  Nice sight.  After ten minutes we got a goal that Arsène Wenger’s gonna crucify someone for.  Gary was wide left on the half-way line and crossed a long one to the right penalty-area edge.  It bounded once, skidded over two mesmerised Gooners and Danny was on it in a flash, shouldered one of the defenders aside, took two strides and smashed it low and hard into the bottom left.  Arsenal’s heads and shoulders sagged almost immediately.  We were up for it and they weren’t.  It was only a matter of time.

Maybe twenty minutes later, we got a second.  The game had become a ferocious midfield battle which we were winning hands down.  Arsenal had stopped trying to pass it around, which was probably just as well for us.  Typically, there was a group of players on the wide-right touchline midway in their half.  The ball ping-ponged around until Danny nicked it, turned and got clear closing quickly into the penalty area, taking a couple of defenders with him – the way we know he can when he decides to play.  SuperKev dropped back slightly, just right of the penalty spot and, as the ball came into him, he extended his right leg and scooped it over the keeper while falling back, doubtless in case anybody came in from the rear to close him down.  He’s an owl arse too.

Talking of which, Lee Dixon eventually got the yellow card he’d been pleading for all afternoon after attempting an unauthorised autopsy on Pembo.  Tsk tsk.  You might at least have used anaesthetic, Lee.  Substitution beckoned and he went off to a storm of well earned boos, daft bastard.  Apart from him, sad to say, Dennis Bergkamp looks finished.  His pace and hard determination seem to have deserted him.  I hope not.  The game needs players like him.  The truth is, after early flourishes, Arsenal folded the way we did against Ipswich.

In the circumstances, we played really well.  In my view, it was all down to Mark Pembridge and his attitude.  As he’s regained fitness, he’s got harder and harder and more determined.  He and Scott Gemmill did well to outplay the Gooners where it mattered.  We certainly won’t miss Alex if the rumours fester into fact.  Danny had his best game in ages and took the pressure off SuperKev for a change – who promptly missed a couple of good chances.  Paul got glued on his line because he had fuck all to do.  And at the heart of the defence, Davey Weir was once again magnificent.  Only Yozzer was anonymous.

It was a well earned win against top class opponents in the most difficult circumstances imaginable.  Smiffy appears to have recovered his motivational abilities after a very worrying run when we seemed to be back at square one.  If we can beat a stuttering Chelsea side then that will be the magic-three-in-a-row.  Some of our injuries will be restored to fitness and the hacks will have to go stick their snouts in some other trough.

And I bet we don’t need a recount on OUR ballot papers.  Not unless the Electoral Reform Society is run by a director named Jebediah Bush and his brother is designing the stadium and his father owns the Kings Dock.  Tut tut, America.  What HAVE you come to?


   Up to Reports Index ]
 They don't know what they missed
Steve Bickerton
 
Much of the pre-match talk was about a ground move, another topic was the much publicised injury crisis at Arsenal which saw 8 full internationals unavailable today, with another seven full and one U-21 replacing them!  Not a lot of talk centred on Walter Smith's plight of 10 injuries and 1 suspension, which had decimated the squad.  But no longer being fashionable meant a less sympathetic view of the situation at Goodison had been written in the press.

Such changes enforced upon both managers had left pundits predicting a bore draw.  Having flown home from Spain in the early hours of the morning, the last thing I wanted was a bore draw – my wishes were answered and I witnessed a feast.

The game started at a frenetic pace.  Within two minutes, a Cadamarteri/Cleland link-up saw the ball fizz across the Arsenal box only for Tal to sent a volley over the bar.  Arsenal failed to make any impression as Everton bit ankles at every chance, not allowing the visitors to string meaningful passes together.  The early aggression shown by the blues was a throw back to the "dogs of war" approach, which served us so well under Joe Royle.  But it lasted for a mere 10 minutes as the Champions League side managed to take a grip on the game and play some smooth football.

But it didn't take much to disrupt them again as Lee Dixon's nerve broke as he was skinned by a lively Idan Tal.  How Dixon remained unbooked during the first half I have no idea, as Tal ran him ragged with twists and turns that were a delight to watch.  Dixon, with digs and trips and pushes aplenty, managed to stay just the right side of Mr Riley in the middle as the yellow card stayed in the referee's pocket.

Having bemoaned the state of our squad, with so many out and the likely hiding at the hands of the so-called superstars of Arsenal, the midfield marshalls of Pembridge and Gemmill were a revelation.  Out-tackling, out-running and out-passing their illustrious counterparts, they showed that spirit and determination allied to a modicum of skill goes a long way towards overpowering a skilled but under-committed opposition.  It was a delight to watch.

But not only did the midfield shine, the defence played immaculately.  So it should have done though as you look at its credentials.  Internationals all.  Naysmith, Weir and Cleland all full caps for Scotland and Ball, so nearly an English full cap.  Between them, they shackled Bergkamp, Kanu and Wiltord.... easily!  

Ball was magnificent.  With Naysmith likely to hang on to the left-back slot, Bally will probably need to find a new role.  Today at Centre Back he was a giant, belying his lack of height.  He was assured on the ground and passed the ball well out of defence.  He may struggle there against more robust attackers (Viduka for example), but maybe, just maybe he can develop a sweeper role that allows him to work at the back and roam forward as the opportunity arises.

But I digress, the game.

Arsenal had their moments too: in the first half as Gerrard raced (yes raced) off his line to block a fierce drive from (I think) Pires, which then rebounded out to another red-shirted attacker, who blasted it against Weir, the ball again rebounding Arsenal's way only for Ljungberg to see a goal-bound effort twice deflected by Everton players, with Naysmith's goal line headed deflection clearing the bar for a corner.  Madness!

In reality that was Arsenal's best moment of the match as Everton out-did them in every department.  Yet the first half remained goalless and we were left breathless at 0-0 and fearful of another 'good for 45 minutes' story.

Yet why should we have worried?  There followed a second half performance to match and beat anything I've seen over the last three years with Arsenal folding under the pressure.  

Good defensive work at by Everton saw Naysmith release a long ball upfield.  The ball missed out Campbell and raced on into the Arsenal box, where Danny Cadamarteri took the ball well on his chest, beat the young Arsenal full back Ashley Cole for guile and pace with a quite turn and calmly drove the ball passed the oncoming Manninger.  Danny went mad.  He'd scored against the team he'd supported as a boy.  It was no more than he had deserved, however, as he had harried the Arsenal defence all game, maybe not purposefully at all times, but he'd shown the endeavour and the intent.

1-0 to Everton and we needed to settle the game for 5 minutes or so.  There was no need to worry, however, as Tal eventually drove Dixon to overstep the mark and see yellow for a reckless challenge.  But he too fell foul of the referee's displeasure for a "dive" under a challenge from both Dixon and Parlour.  Tal was distraught at this decision and rightly so, as it was Parlour rather than Dixon who upended him, yet the referee seemed to have a picture of him diving to engineer the dismissal of Dixon.  

Walter diffused things by taking Tal out of the fray.  To a rousing ovation he left the field to be replaced by Kevin McLeod, who had shown some bright touches against Ipswich earlier in the season.  He made an instant impression on this game, though, as his first "touch" saw Dixon get his comeuppance.  A strong challenge for a 50-50 ball saw MacLeod send Dixon to the deck.  His treatment by the Arsenal physio saw Mr Riley add on 4 minutes at the end, such was the extent of his discomfort.

Arsenal stepped things up a bit a but they never really troubled Everton at all.  Dixon hobbled of to be replaced by Upson, but it made no difference as Cadamarteri again engineered a goal, driving through the Arsenal defence and sliding the ball to Campbell, who made amends for an earlier miss (or two) by finding the back of Manninger's net.  2-0, oh, yes!!

After that, it was a case of playing out time.  No better illustration of this than a small cameo by Kevin MacLeod, who was racing towards goal, with real support, he looked up, took stock and made a 90° change of direction and headed for the corner flag.  Keown was furious and took the youngster's legs from under him.  Such unusual behaviour for former blue Martin!

When the whistle finally came, it was with Everton on the attack and Arsenal struggling to stay with us.  A home win, but a win produced from style and commitment.  If these were the dogs of war, they weren't the rotweillers of old, these were the greyhounds who were smooth and stylish in full flow, but when confronted with a prey which was ready to be taken, took every delight in moving in for the kill.

With a fantastic performance on the field, it has to be conceded that there was a suitably charged display from the crowd off the field too.  Behind the boys in blue all the way.  Long may it continue and quickly may news of the performance seep out and cause the missing thousands to turn up again, to see what they might possibly be missing.

As for the ground move, well it did move today – to the sound of glory, to the sweat of application and to the passion of desire.  Oh yes, it moved for me, too.

Man of the Match

A difficult choice today, for all of the right reasons.  Naysmith was again impressive, but Michael Ball at Centre Back, deserves special praise for his marshalling of Bergkamp all game.  That alone wasn't enough as the whole midfield deserves credit, with Gemmill just edging it in that department for a 'dogs of war' display of enormous proportions.  Up front, Cadamarteri shaded it from Campbell, for his contribution to both goals and his overall work rate.  He looks to be back on track. 

But who gets the overall prize, this week?  It has to go to Scot Gemmill, who was in inspired form in the middle of the park.


   Up to Reports Index ]
 Who let the Dogs out?
Rob Burns
I was starting to think that there genuinely was a black cloud hanging over Goodison Park as I wearily trudged through more of that disgusting drizzle to the ground yesterday. Laid low by flu for much of the week, I had been lucky enough to share illness with new signing Gary Naysmith and our African enigma Alex Nyarko – does that count as obsession?  

The scene was more than depressing – parallels drawn in the media between Everton's injury crisis and Arsenal's were at best grossly unfair.  The Gunners picked from the likes of Ljungberg, Bergkamp, Kanu... Everton from Gemmill, Pembridge and Cleland.  

Sincerely, I felt it was a case of keeping the score down.  You see Derby, Leicester and Ipswich take points of the top sides but, sadly, we never do.  The jury was definitely out on whether I should have bothered. 

The side picked itself.  Even Walter couldn't have fiddled with that selection.  But it was how he played them that mattered.  Interesting that suspicions of religious bias have been levelled at Smith & Knox in the past but these were quickly dispelled as he fielded a side made up predominantly of left footers.  His use of them was probably the most original formation I have seen at Goodison for some time. 

A flat back-four brought in Cleland at right back, Naysmith on the left, and Ball partnering Weir in central defence.  Arsenal are not prone to using height in open attack and the cool head and confidence of Ball would surely remain calm facing the size 14's of Kanu.  

The midfield was a mixture of steel and as yet undiscovered talent.  Gemmill and Pembridge provided the engine, with Hughes playing in between as the spare man and link between defence and attack.  

Up front was probably the most innovative area with the two wide players, Cadamarteri and Tal, playing off lone striker Campbell in the middle.  This effectively gave us three strikers but maintaining width and reducing dramatically the effectiveness of Luhzny and Don Keowne  in the centre of Arsenal's defence. 

From the start, Everton showed their determination to succeed, and it was blindingly obvious that – regardless of instructions – this team had the will to win the match.  Whether they would be overrun by the class normally shown by Arsenal at GP was another matter.... 100% honesty was the name of the game, and Gemmill and Pembridge particularly worked tirelessly, biting in the tackle and being up and out quick enough to start the counter attack. 

The only worry with the formation was the reliance on Cadamarteri to support Gemmill on the right side against Cole and the drifting Pires.  Instead of the three middle men drifting left to right when out of possession, Pembridge and Hughes tended to leave Gemmill to it, and the lack of understanding was obvious as occasionally Gemmill took his frustration out on Cada rather than his central midfield colleagues. 

One such attack down the Arsenal left did break through and, passing by Cleland, Kanu found himself with Gerrard rushing low towards him.  An unusual moment of quick decision by the keeper brought an excellent save, the ball broke loose outside the area and was crossed with Gerrard now stranded.  Ljungberg shot from around the edge of the box and Naysmith, on the line, manage to head the ball onto the bar and out for the corner.  Heart in mouth time.  

Arsenal looked generally out of sorts in their forward play, and desperate in defence – particularly in dealing with the tricky winger Idan Tal.  Three times in succession, Tal was fed on the break and felled.  Parlour was guilty on two occasions seconds after each other, referee Riley incredibly seeing nothing worthy of a yellow card.  The third occasion led to a free kick on the left, which Tal curled across the face of goal and just wide of the far post.  Despite ending near the corner flag the slightest change in angle would have resulted in a goal.  The Israeli Kevin Sheedy?  Hmm. 

It was largely expected that, given an ear bashing from Wenger at half-time, a renewed Arsenal would enter the arena... but it was Everton who upped the pace after the break.  The central defence looked solid – Ball playing the parent to Weir and giving him the confidence to move coolly out of defence and sweep up efficiently.  Ball never looked in trouble in a position he has not seen since youth team days. 

Campbell provided the extra height to defend corners whilst Weir did well to tie up the mobile Keown regardless of his position at the start of the set plays.  Cleland looked as good as I have seen him, playing purely as a full-back without having to push forward and risk being caught out. 

Everton played football out of defence and the passing from Pembridge, Gemmill and Hughes until he tired later on was accurate and effective.  The ability of these players to tackle and come out with the ball and play it is the key to their success as, with a midfield that was light in numbers, they were able to recover their own second ball. 

But it was the left side which really turned the screw.  Quick thinking and fast movement from Naysmith was the perfect foil for Tal as, time and again, the two combined down the left.  Tal's pace and carrying of the ball was superb and Lee Dixon quickly made 30,000 enemies as he cut the winger down twice from full flight and was eventually booked.  

Campbell found himself free on two occasions, the first sprinting clear of the defence and then miscontrolling just outside the area under no pressure; the second with only Manninger to beat and chipping over the bar.  

On the right, Cadamarteri finally found the power and pace that exposed Liverpool in his early first team career.  Wrestling away from Cole, he accelerated into the box and shot cleanly into the net on 54 minutes.  

I thought at that point that all we had to do was to hold on for the final few minutes – when I looked up and realised we had another half hour to sweat on!  But the second goal came in due course, and was almost a replica as Cada broke on the diagonal into the box. Good running from Campbell and an unselfish pass sealed the game with Campbell's strike finding the net.  

KC generally looked lively and pacey and seems now to be somewhere near the fitness levels we saw last season.  Arsenal were shell-shocked and there was no way that we were going to concede now.  Due to censorship I am unable to refer to the bare-arsed invader at the end. 

Everton's play was based on 100% effort and commitment from players who find themselves a place on the bench or worse in the reserves on many occasions.  This is not a criticism of Walter's signings but could be a lesson to them.  I cannot see a reason to change the team for Chelsea next week as the threat is relatively the same.  Perhaps, to return players to the side, it would be worth introducing them one by one, letting them play in a side like that and learn that they cannot expect to be carried. 

This was Joe Royle's Dogs of War, played on a football theme.  Now the dilemma I have to face is whether I want to be a top side with top players, and the possibility of much bigger falls, or an honest, hard working side grinding out results.  For this weekend I am extremely contented with the latter.


   Up to Reports Index ]
 The perfect birthday
Richard Marland
Watching the players warming up today was a bit of an alarming experience.  Who were they?  A quick check showed Unsworth and Nyarko AWOL but Naysmith there.  It took me a while to work it all out.  Cleland was there as were a whole batch of youngsters; a process of elimination and guesswork had them as McLeod, Clarke and one other who turned out to be Osman.  This really was bare-bones stuff.

Strangely enough, I have half fancied us to do something.  The perverse nature of this football club decrees that they will do something when you least expect them.  There was even an interesting precedent displayed on the screen prior to the game, the Arsenal game from a few seasons back when they were flying, we were struggling and injury plagued and expected to lose heavily.  That day a creditable performance, fired by goals from Cadamarteri and Michael Ball saw us gain a largely unexpected 2-2 draw.  Clutching at straws maybe, but why not?

Walter's team selection was largely made for him.  It was a question of who was fit to play.  The only real decision was the inclusion of Danny ahead of Joe-Max Moore.  Gerrard was in goal, a flat back four consisted of Cleland, Naysmith, Weir and Ball at centre back.  We strung five across midfield, Hughes, Gemmill and Pembridge in the middle with Cadamarteri and Tal on the flanks. Campbell was the lone striker.  The bench showed how thinly our squad was stretched – Simonsen, Clarke, McLeod, Osman and Moore – of the outfield players Moore was the only one whose first team experience amounted to anything more than minutes.

Right from the start we were chasing and harrying and making life difficult for Arsenal.  As soon as we lost possession, we dropped back in numbers presenting a line of five and four strung across the field for Arsenal to work through.  Suddenly, my optimism didn't look unfounded – we looked pretty good out there! 

Crucially, despite our injury problems, we were able to field a recognisable team with a real balance to it.  We had full backs at full back, centre backs at centre back (at least that's what Bally looked like), central midfielders in centre midfield, and wide men who stayed wide.  Allied to a prodigious work rate, it was working out nicely.  The crowd also responded.  They saw the effort and commitment, saw that we were unsettling Arsenal and became the most supportive they have been in a while.

In the first half in particular, there were moments when Arsenal played the ball about nicely as they looked for an opening.  For the most part, though, we managed to keep them at arms length.  There was one amazing scramble following a clearance that ricocheted kindly for Arsenal, which ultimately saw Ljunberg hit the woodwork.  That was the closest they were to get, and the fact that it started from a fortunate rebound highlighted the good work we were doing defensively.

The longer the game wore on, the more we started to pose an attacking threat.  Campbell should have done better when put clean through; he probably felt he was offside (he wasn't) and he rather tamely lobbed it over the bar when he should have done much better.  In a game of few chances, it could have proved costly... As it was, it was merely a warning.  Not long after, a long ball from Naysmith found Cadamarteri in the right-hand corner of the box; he brought it down well and finished with some confidence.  This really was becoming too good to be true.

Arsenal didn't like it.  They were becoming increasingly tetchy but still kept striving to find a reply.  The match became increasingly compelling, Arsenal kept on coming but we maintained our shape and discipline, and even looked like we might sneak something on the break.  Campbell had one break where he was once again let down by his own current lack of pace and confidence.  

Again it was only minutes before we put matters right.  Cadamarteri emerged from a scrum of players with the ball, he advanced into the box before slipping it inside to Kevin Campbell who finished well.  2-0 – surely that was game over.

Arsenal, being Arsenal, refused to lay down.  Still they kept coming, but with us still maintaining our shape, they were largely going through the motions.  There was such a determination from the Everton team to deny them anything.  After four minutes of injury time the whistle went and we could celebrate the most unlikely of victories.

As always on these occasions, the churlish will claim that we caught Arsenal on an off-day.  There is probably some truth in that but that shouldn't take anything away from Everton, our game plan and the manner in which we executed it was absolutely perfect.  All this and it was my birthday too, what a day!

  • Gerrard 7 A good performance which was encouraging after his recent problems.
  • Cleland 6 A few dodgy moments but played his part.
  • Naysmith 7 Another decent performance.  His attacking options were severely curtailed but defended well and worked hard.
  • Weir 7 Mr. Consistency.
  • Ball 7 The suggestions of him being ear-marked as the successor to Richard Gough didn't look fanciful today.  Faced by Kanu, Wiltord and Bergkamp, he coped admirably with little or nothing getting past.  Has he found his true role?
  • Cadamarteri 7 Showing his best form in years.  A good goal, and a big part in the second.  Can't argue with that, also worked hard for the team cause, and used the ball well.
  • Pembridge 7 Worked hard for a full 90 minutes.  Closed down space, tracked men, got in tackles and also played a few good balls into the box.  Excellent.
  • Gemmill 7 Matched Pembridge for graft and endeavour.  A player who rarely lets us down when called upon.
  • Hughes 6 The weakest link.  As usual had some good moments but there seems to be large parts of the game when it just passes him by.  The contrast with the mighty work done by Gemmill and Pembridge was striking.  He's failing to make his mark, undoubtedly talented but there's something missing.
  • Tal 7 Was always lively going forward and was also well aware of his defensive duties.  Played out a fascinating personal battle with Lee Dixon, Dixon brought out all his "old-lag" tricks, blocking out his runs, shirt pulling, suggesting he was diving every time he hit the deck.  Tal wasn't fazed by any of this and gave as good as he got.
  • Campbell 7 Still lacking sharpness but his general fitness level seems to be getting there, he was certainly still getting through his workload late in the game.
  • McLeod 6 A fresh pair of legs in a straight swap for Tal.  Made an instant impression on our friend Lee Dixon with a nasty looking challenge which I thought he was going to walk for.  You shouldn't condone such stuff but at least it showed a willingness to get stuck in and not get over-awed.  Did OK again whilst still looking inexperienced.

Team 7 A true team performance. Worked as a team and when you do that you always give yourself a chance.

Man of the match  I'm tempted to say Michael Ball but for me the two men who really epitomised today's performance were Scott Gemmill and Mark Pembridge.  They both got through an incredible amount of work and undoubtedly got the better of supposedly superior opponents.  For me they were the joint man of the match.


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 Quick-acting Cadamarteri gives Everton new life
Clive White, Electronic Telegraph
 
IT WAS a result to make Everton forget all their woes.  The problems surrounding their ground move and financial situation all receded, if only momentarily, with this defeat of Arsenal, a side they had never beaten at Goodison Park in the Premiership.

They did it with something to spare, as second-half goals by Danny Cadamarteri and former Gunner Kevin Campbell ended their opponents' unbeaten 12-match run in the Premiership.

There could be no excuses for Arsenal, nor did Arsène Wenger attempt to offer any.  Though without seven first-choice players, they were beaten fair and square by a side who had been hit even harder by injury and suspension.  Rarely has an Arsenal attack looked so toothless.  Apart from a remarkable sequence of chances in one seventh-minute attack, which resulted in Gary Naysmith heading against his own crossbar, they did not seriously threaten Paul Gerrard's goal.

It was the worst possible precursor to the start of the second phase of the Champions League, which resumes on Wednesday with a match against Spartak Moscow.  Arsenal will need to do better than this if they are to progress further, particularly defensively.

Twice they were caught dozing by the effervescent Cadamarteri, given his first start of the season in the continued absence of Francis Jeffers and Duncan Ferguson.  Arsenal must hope that Tony Adams is fit to resume in midweek because the partnership of Oleg Luzhny and Martin Keown is not convincing.

While Cadamarteri, who made the second goal as well as scoring his first since last spring, was the striking difference between the two sides, it was Everton's attitude which won the day.  From the first whistle to the last their commitment was total and such spirit should serve them well in what is still likely to be a difficult season, one way or another, for the Merseysiders.

One would have never known Arsenal were so hard hit by injury looking at their line-up, which contained plenty of recognisible names.  Everton, on the other hand, were clearly down to the bare bones, their substitutes' bench made up of relative unknowns.  Yet, the discrepancy in class was never apparent.  Nevertheless, the injuries highlighted the club's desperate need to renegotiate cable company NTL's proposed £23M bid for a 9.9% stake in the club.

United's morning victory in the Manchester derby meant that Arsenal had no option but to go for a win here.  In the absence of Thierry Henry, Kanu partnered Sylvain Wiltord in attack, though it was in midfield where Arsenal looked less like their usual selves with Ray Parlour and Fredrik Ljungberg performing in unfamiliar central roles.

No-one epitomised Everton's tireless effort more than Idan Tal, an Israel midfielder who Everton recently signed from a Spanish second division club [Not so – Ed].  His exuberance, from the start, was an irritation to Lee Dixon, which inevitably resulted in a booking for the increasingly harassed Arsenal veteran for a tackle which incurred the wrath of the crowd.

When, after seven minutes, Arsenal had three attempts to score and failed, one sensed that they might not have things all their own way.  Gerrard flung himself in they way of the first effort from Wiltord, then another former Arsenal player, Stephen Hughes, cleared off the line from Kanu, before Naysmith finally headed Ljungberg's shot against his own bar and away to safety.

It was the closest Arsenal were to come to scoring, as Everton worked like Trojans to hang in there until such time that they could create an opportunity of their own.

That chance finally arose after 54 minutes.  Campbell challenged Oleg Luzhny to a high cross from Naysmith and the man from Dinamo Kiev appeared to nudge the ball on with his arm into Cadamarteri's path.  The busy little striker finished with a shot which nestled in the far corner of Alex Manninger's net.

"He lacks consistency, but you can never fault his attitude," said Walter Smith, the Everton manager, afterwards.

Loss of concentration, brought about possibly by an Everton substitution, was responsible for Arsenal falling further behind after 72 minutes.  As Tal went off to a well-deserved round of applause, to be replaced by Kevin McLeod, Everton took a quick throw-in.  Cadamarteri saw the opportunity to dart between Keown and Ashley Cole before pulling the ball back for Campbell to finish from eight yards.

All that was left was for an ecstatic Goodison crowd to heartily boo Dixon from the pitch as he was substituted like some pantomime villain.

Come to think of it, much of Arsenal's football had been pure pantomime, too.

Report © The Electronic Telegraph

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 Gunners hit by Everton bombshell
by Ron Clarke, Sunday Times
 

ARSENAL'S attempt to stay in the slipstream of leaders Manchester United failed with this defeat, which not only leaves them off the pace but, at the end of the season, could be the result that put them out of the race altogether.  For Everton, missing 11 players through a combination of injury and suspension, it was a victory ground out of enthusiasm and endeavour rather than excellence and was the first maximum return at Goodison Park since their first home game of the season.  It was also Arsenal's first defeat here in the Premiership.

The visitors, with thoughts no doubt focused on their forthcoming Champions League duties, were also without eight regulars.  They did, however, dominate most of the action in terms of possession rather than chances but finally succumbed to a double strike from Everton in the second half.

First, on 54 minutes Fredrik Ljungberg misjudged a long ball over the top, allowing Danny Cadamarteri to nip in and curl it past the recalled Alex Manninger in the Arsenal goal.

It was Cadamarteri's first full game this season and his first goal for eight months.  The points were secured some 20 minutes later when Cadamarteri, this time playing the part of provider, pushed the ball into the path of Kevin Campbell.  Without hesitation, the former Arsenal forward whipped it past the last line of defence and into the back of the net.

Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger said later:  "No excuses.  We didn't do enough going forward.  It was a difficult game for us.  Everton defended well."

A delighted Everton manager Walter Smith said: "I am very pleased with the result.  I couldn't have asked any more of the players.  We had the best chances and got the goals to win the game."

All this happened on a day when Everton fans were being balloted about a possible move to a new stadium on the banks of the Mersey.  For some it is seen as a case of the club being sold down the river and for others it is the opportunity for the dawn of a new and exciting era.  Judging by yesterday's line-ups it appeared that many of the residents had already left Goodison, with so many unfamiliar faces on parade.

No doubt the Gunners will have more ammunition for their European ventures but they did not have to dig as deep into their reserves as Everton.

It cannot be a crisis when, without top scorer Thierry Henry, you are still able to have Sylvain Wiltord and Kanu in partnership upfront, aided and abetted just behind by Dennis Bergkamp.

The visitors certainly had the territorial advantage throughout, especially in the first period, but as the manager so aptly summed it up they were unable to turn any of it into any kind of positive conclusion.  They had an early scare in the very first minute when Everton's lively Israeli winger Idan Tal sent his volley just inches wide.

The only other highlight of a rather mundane opening 45 minutes saw Kanu and Wiltord combine well before Ljungberg crashed the ball against the bar from an attempted clearance.  Tal whipped in a cross that only just eluded his attacking colleagues and later fired a fierce free kick narrowly the wrong side of Manninger's left-hand post.

The tone for the second half was set by an early rash challenge as defender Lee Dixon ploughed straight through Tal and deservedly received a yellow card.

As the winger had run him ragged most of the afternoon, it was a tackle probably born more out of frustration than malice.  Retribution was gained moments later with Cadamarteri's goal and then finally completed with Campbell's addition.

Arsenal, nominated by singer Sasha Distel as his favourite French team, were not relishing the physical challenge.  By the time they conceded the second goal they were way off key, never mind being totally out of tune.

With Manchester United winning earlier in the day against neighbours City, Arsenal knew exactly what they had to do to stay in touch.  But even when the referee allocated four minutes of stoppage time to extend this pulsating encounter, it was never going to be enough to allow them to get their championship challenge back on the road.

Report © Times Newspapers Ltd

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 Arsenal pay as their minds drift
by Oliver Kay, The Times
 
AS DEFEAT beckoned, the Arsenal supporters resorted to crowing about their wider ambitions. “What you doing Wednesday night?” they asked of their hosts.  This snobbish attitude, where the European Cup Champions’ League becomes an all-consuming distraction rather than a fascinating diversion, seemed to be shared by the players on Saturday.  Far too many were uninterested, apparently saving themselves for the match against Spartak Moscow in midweek — a fact not lost on Arsène Wenger, the manager.  “Maybe our minds were too much on the Champions’ League already,” he said.  “That’s very bad.  That’s not acceptable.”

Arsenal, having juggled their dual ambitions impressively during the opening months of the season, appear to have slipped all too easily into Chelsea mode.  Three matches without a victory and, more alarmingly, without a goal do not constitute a crisis, but the five-point gap that has suddenly opened between them and Manchester United will become a chasm if they do not sort themselves out.

Wenger sounded concerned as he attempted to explain his team’s second defeat of the FA Carling Premiership campaign.  “It is a worry,” he said.  “It may be a collective problem at the moment.  We don’t look collectively sharp going forward.  It is a team problem.”

To Wenger’s immense credit, he did not use an horrific injury list as an excuse for this strangely listless performance.  “I have 20 or so players in the first-team squad and I treat them all equally,” he said.  “We had enough players to put a good side out on to the pitch and we should have enough good players to pick up points away from home.”

Arsenal may have been without eight senior players, Tony Adams, Patrick Vieira and Thierry Henry among them, but Everton, with a whole team missing, were even more seriously afflicted.

It has been a traumatic season for Walter Smith, the Everton manager, but this victory, achieved in such trying circumstances, hinted at happier times ahead.  It has been suggested that his frustration with the club’s persistent financial problems, compounded by the near-collapse of an investment by ntl, the communications company, would lead him to resign, but this performance convinced him that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

“To suggest that I would walk away at the first sign of any trouble is totally untrue,” Smith said.  “I am enjoying it here enormously.  That’s two wins in a row now, which is very pleasing for us.

“If you look at the people who were missing from the team, it was always going to very difficult for us, but that’s the first time since I came here that we’ve beaten one of the top two, ie, Manchester United or Arsenal.”

Smith’s resources may have been utterly depleted, but his makeshift team found a collective determination to which Arsenal had no answer.  While they lacked finesse and did not manage a single shot on target apart from their two goals, Everton were totally deserving of their first victory at Goodison Park since the first week of the season.

Their spirit was epitomised by Danny Cadamarteri, the 21-year-old forward who had never previously threatened to fulfil the potential he showed when he burst on to the Premiership scene three years ago.  Normally a so-called “headless chicken”, he marked his first full appearance of the season with a hugely impressive performance, scoring the first goal and setting up the second for Kevin Campbell.

“That’s the type of player he is,” Smith said.  “Football-wise, he can be frustrating for me as a manager, just as he can be frustrating for supporters to watch him play, but the one thing that you can never fault him for is a lack of effort.”

After a strangely subdued first half, a non-event apart from a brief early assault on the Everton goal, the home team took the lead in the 54th minute, when Cadamarteri seized on a poor header by Oleg Luzhny to score only his tenth league goal in 78 appearances.

Arsenal should have been stung into life, but, their minds clearly on Moscow, they remained subdued and seemed to settle quite contentedly for defeat.  Their deficit was extended in the 73rd minute, when Cadamarteri ran through the defence and laid the ball to Campbell, who finished in impressive style.

There was another brief flurry as Kanu and Dennis Bergkamp, otherwise anonymous, both threatened, but that was as much as Arsenal managed.  One can only hope that they fare better in Moscow.

Report © Times Newspapers Ltd
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