Dyche off to the perfect start as gutsy Everton out-gun Arsenal

04/02/2023 comments  |  Jump to last
Everton 1 - 0 Arsenal

James Tarkowski's first goal for Everton was a priceless one that secured a debut win for Sean Dyche, the Blues' first victory since October

Sean Dyche began his tenure as Everton manager in the best way possible as his new charges toppled the League leaders to win for the first time since October thanks to two of his former players.

The Blues were unrecognisable from the side that had meekly lost to Southampton in Frank Lampard’s last home game at the helm, delivering exactly the kind of committed, high-octane display to fire Goodison Park up, and they were rewarded when James Tarkowski headed home the game’s only goal with an hour gone from a Dwight McNeil corner.

It was more than Everton deserved for 90-plus minutes of craft and industry that might have yielded a half-time lead had Abdoulaye Doucouré and Dominic Calvert-Lewin not spurned gilt-edged headed chances in the final quarter of an hour of the first period.

At the other end, Arsenal had seen a shot cleared off the line and Jordan Pickford was called into action to parry an effort in the second half but, in the main, Dyche’s men did brilliantly to deprive the high-flying Gunners of clear-cut chances.

Article continues below video content

Dyche had named a line-up boasting a five-man midfield that saw Doucouré start a Premier League game for the first time since August, with McNeil preferred to Demarai Gray, who wasn’t risked due to a slight groin strain, out wide.

And it was clear from the off that Everton were determined to put in a big performance in front of a raucous crowd, thousands of whom had swapped the anti-Board protest outside the ground for full-throated support for the team from the Goodison stands.

Dwight McNeil had the first shot in anger in the ninth minute, a deflected effort that spun towards Calvert-Lewin who was offside even though Aaron Ramsdale beat him to the ball.

Thomas Partey tested Pickford with a low drive that the England keeper gathered at the second attempt in the 12th minute before Calvert-Lewin forced a save from Ramsdale with a drive from the angle following an Alex Iwobi flick-on and Amadou Onana tried to capitalise on a mistake by the keeper but couldn’t chip him from 25 yards out.

Everton had largely kept Arsenal at arm’s length for the first half hour but when Bukayo Saka rolled the otherwise impressive Vitalii Mykolenko, it set Eddie Nketiah up for a clear effort on goal but he lashed it wide.

And six minutes before the interval, Saka’s side-foot volley was searching out the bottom corner with Pickford beaten but Conor Coady had positioned himself superbly to hack it off the line by the far post.

Either side of that chance, Everton had carved out some of their best opportunities of the game, first when the irrepressible Onana drove down the left flank and slid a ball across the face of goal that was just too far ahead of Calvert-Lewin’s lunge.

A minute later, McNeil picked up a Calvert-Lewin flick and picked out Doucouré with a cross but the midfielder failed to make proper contact and headed well wide while Calvert-Lewin had a similar chance in first-half stoppage time but also glanced Iwobi’s cross wide with the goal gaping.

Everton started the second half the same way they had begun the first, with a deflected shot from the vastly-improved Idrissa Gueye prompting a reaction save from Ramsdale but Arsenal began to assert themselves in the manner in which Dyche must have been expecting they would given their quality and patience under Mikel Arteta.

Nketiah got free of Seamus Coleman near the byline and cut it back for Martin Odegaard but, thankfully, he skied his effort from the edge of the box and two minutes later it was 1-0 after Everton won a corner on the right.

McNeil swung it in and Tarkowski muscled his way past Odergaard to meet it and guided a header back across goal past Ramsdale before wheeling away in celebration of his first goal for the Toffees.

Dyche immediately withdrew Calvert-Lewin who had played despite a slight hamstring issue and threw on Neal Maupay and the Blues dug in for the final half hour.

A check by Video Assistant Referee John Brooks confirmed referee David Coote’s assessment that Maupay had not fouled Gabriel in the box amid howls for a penalty from the visitors in the 65th minute.

Then, with 12 minutes left, substitute Leandro Trossard stung Pickford’s palms with a strong shot that was beaten away and cleared before the Belgian missed the target with a curling attempt a few minutes later.

Arsenal were increasingly desperate by the end and were finding their hosts hard to break down and they would have just one more chance to salvage a point in stoppage time but Zinchenko blasted it over the bar.

So, a perfect start for Dyche who surely got everything he could have asked of his players after just a few days’ training under his stewardship.

Wolves’s handsome result against Everton’s next opponents, Liverpool, means that the Toffees will remain in the bottom three but, having chalked off one of the estimated seven wins they will likely need to stay up in one of their most difficult fixtures, there is hope now that the new manager has what it takes to steer them to safety this season.


How to get rid of these ads and support TW

© ToffeeWeb