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Venue: Goodison Park
Premier League
Sunday 17 September 2023; 4:30pm
0 1
HT: 0 - 0 
Trossard 69'
Attendance: 39,217
Fixture 5
Referee: Simon Hooper

Match Reports
2023-24 Reports Index
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  Young booked (Patterson 87')
  McNeil (Chermiti 88')
  Doucoure (Garner 80')
  Beto (Calvert-Lewin 66')
  Subs not used
  Alli (injured)
  Coleman (injured)
  Gomes (injured)
  Harrison (injured)
  Maupay (loan)

  Gabriel booked
  Zinchenko (Tomiyasu 80')
  Vieira (Havertz 80')
  Martinelli (Trossard 24')
  Nketiah (Jesus 66')
  Subs not used
  Smith Rowe

Match Stats

Shots on target

Premier League Scores
Aston Villa 3-1 C Palace
Fulham 1-0 Luton
Man United 1-3 Brighton
Newcastle 1-0 Brentford
Tottenham 2-1 Sheffield Utd
West Ham 1-3 Man City
Wolves 1-3 Liverpool
Bournemouth 0-0 Chelsea
Everton 0-1 Arsenal
Nott'm Forest 1-1 Burnley

1 Manchester City 15
2 Tottenham Hotspur 13
3 Liverpool 13
4 Arsenal 13
5 Brighton & Hove Albion 12
6 West Ham United 10
7 Aston Villa 9
8 Nottingham Forest 7
9 Crystal Palace 7
10 Fulham 7
11 Brentford 6
12 Newcastle United 6
13 Manchester United 6
14 Chelsea 5
15 Bournemouth 3
16 Wolverhampton Wanderers 3
17 Sheffield United 1
18 Everton 1
19 Burnley 1
20 Luton Town 0

Match Report

No goals. Three straight defeats. Just two wins in their last nine. Everton’s home form, naturally their best hope of survival again this season, continues to be as abysmal as it is worrying.

It was unlikely to improve much against Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal… but then you could have said the same in December 2021 coming off humiliation at the hands of Liverpool and again in February when the Blues hadn’t won in front of their home fans for four games, were sitting 19th in the Premier League and the Gunners appeared to be on course for the title.

In both of those prior instances, Everton found the passion, inspiration and grit to beat Arsenal and record results that, in the grand scheme of things, were one of their keys to staying up in the top flight.

None of that was in evidence today in a display that was, for the most part, long on defensive organisation but depressingly short on guile, invention, intensity and attacking purpose. Even Goodison itself, a cauldron in this fixture earlier this year to greet Sean Dyche as the latest incumbent of the “hot seat”, was subdued and uncertain, perhaps conveying the general mood of the club as Farhad Moshiri prepares to cut ties by selling to 777 Partners in the coming months.

Everton under Dyche, and often under Frank Lampard before him, have tended to at least start games with energy and dogged pressing but it was curious how much respect they paid Arsenal today and how meekly they seemed to accept their fate; as if defeat were obvious before a ball was kicked and they merely had to play along with the script. As one Evertonian posted to Twitter, it was like they were playing for a 1-0 defeat.

The high press seemed to have been abandoned in favour of a strategy of sitting off Arsenal and then getting into them when they got into Everton’s half, a tactic that relied on another excellent display from Jarrad Branthwaite and an improved outing from James Tarkowski, with Vitalii Mykolenko, restored at left-back with Ashley Young replaced Nathan Patterson on the other side, playing his part with a largely assured performance of his own.

But it was high-risk given Arsenal’s ability on the ball and it was undermined by Everton’s horrific inability to do anything meaningful when they had possession which was at odds with the number of chances they created against Fulham, Wolves and Sheffield United, matches from which most agree the Toffees should have gleaned more than just one point.

In that sense, Dyche had better hope that this was an aberration from an attacking standpoint; a consequence of the combination of a vastly superior opposition and the disruption of the international break, with precious little evidence that two-week hiatus for many of his charges had been an opportunity for fine-tuning and the formulation of an attacking strategy.

Because Everton were horrendous going forward, clueless in possession and just awful at times in terms of their ball retention. Beto made his home debut but cut an isolated and unsupported figure up front, Dwight McNeil returned to the fold but looked off the pace, Arnaut Danjuma seemed to suffer from switching flanks to accommodate McNeil, while the decision to sit Amadou Onana deep and push the wasteful Idrissa Gueye forward as one of the lead pressers was questionable from the outset.

In the end, Mikel Arteta’s side merely needed to bide their time before making the decisive breakthrough after Gabriel Martinelli’s 19th-minute strike had been ruled out of offside and Leandro Trossard provided the killer goal with 21 minutes of the 90 to go.

The tone of the game was established early, with Arsenal dominating possession — sometimes to an embarrassing degree — and the hosts seemingly content to sit and try and get deep into the contest without conceding.

Fabio Vieira was allowed the time and space to shoot but his effort sailed over in the 10th minute but nine minutes later, Everton’s defence stood still hoping for an offside flag against Eddie Nketiah as Gabriel’s pass deflected forward off Beto. A check by Video Assistant Referee Stuart Attwell confirmed that the Gunners’ striker was marginally offside before Martinelli converted and the Blues were let off the hook.

Arsenal continued to carry all the attacking threat, though, and when Ben White was allowed to power to the byline, Declan Rice’s shot was blocked while the former would test Jordan Pickford with a drive later in the half.

In between, Everton had a brief flurry of attacking intent but William Saliba had seen Beto’s purposeful run out of play, Abdoulaye Doucouré had had a plea for a penalty waved away when he went down in the box and both Gueye and McNeil had seen attempts at goal blocked.

If there was hope that Dyche might fire his charges up for a more effective second half, it was quickly extinguished as Arsenal resumed their control of the game after the interval and almost went ahead within two minutes when Martin Ødegaard stung Pickford’s palms before Tarkowski did superbly to divert Nketiah’s shot wide with a last-ditch lunge.

Two shots from Oleksandr Zinchenko were also deflected behind shortly afterwards before Dominic Calvert-Lewin replaced Beto and was involved in what turned out to be the Blues’ best opportunity when the ball ricocheted to Danjuma but his half-volley dropped narrowly over the bar from the edge of the area.

Two minutes later, Everton were carved open by another short-corner and passing routine from the visitors that ended with the substitute Trossard placing a shot wide of Pickford from a cut-back from near the byline to finally break the deadlock.

Everton’s response was tepid. Mykolenko did really well to sprint onto Pickford’s long ball forward and get a shot away that was blocked by Saliba but Young again wasted the set-piece opportunity and Gueye later lashed a poor shot into the Gwladys Street End.

Instead, it was Arsenal who came closer to adding to the scoreline when an unfortunate bounce fell kindly to Gabriel Jesus but Pickford parried Ødegaard’s goal-bound shot away and Mykolenko got in an excellent block to keep Vieira’s shot out off the rebound.

Dyche threw James Garner, Patterson, and Youssef Chermiti on in the closing stages and the Scot did well to create a half-chance for Calvert-Lewin but the striker looked rusty on his return and prodded the ball into no-man’s-land.

There are threats in this team, players capable of moving the ball, of making things happen but not all of them are playing at a high enough level and, as a collective, they appear to have had precious little belief they could get anything out of this game.

Onana was anonymous save for some good defensive work towards the end, Gueye at times made a mockery of the fact that he once played for Paris Saint-Germain with awful distribution, Danjuma was a peripheral figure in the context of such a one-dimensional display that was heavily reliant on long balls forward rather than coherent moves through midfield or even quick the transitions on which Dyche’s strategy seems to increasingly rely, and Beto struggled under the attention of two top-class centre-backs in Gabriel and Saliba.

Somehow, the manager needs to muster more fight from and instil more belief in this group of players for a sequence of three matches against Brentford, Luton and Bournemouth that have now taken on huge significance in the context of Everton’s desperate need for points.

The prospect of Dyche losing his job, despite an embarrassing points return in recent games, appears remote given the flux and financial constraints off the pitch, so you suspect he’s going to have to knuckle down and get it right. It just needs to happen quickly.

Lyndon Lloyd

Matchday Updates

Everton are back at Goodison Park and in front of the Sky cameras for a huge match against Arsenal which they, as the expression goes, failed to turn up for, valiant defence notwithstanding. 

Sean Dyche seems to be doing his best to keep the players he has available focused on the immense task in hand, amidst strident speculation following Farhad Moshiri's takeover announcement on Friday.  

Beto starts his first game at Goodison Park with Dwight McNeil also returning to the starting line-up but Jack Harrison, Seamus Coleman and  Dele Alli are all still recovering from injuries.  Calvert-Lewin is on the bench where Patterson and Garner are demoted to, with a full complement of 9 players and only 1 goalkeeper.

The visitors kicked off and went for possession play that lasted just over a minute before Ahley Young intercepted a pass.  More Arsenal possession saw Keane forced to head behind for a very early corner that Tarkowski headed out. And so it continued with Everton reduced to ball watching. But Young did well to force a goal-kick off Martinelli. 

Everton, however, could only play backwards when they finally got the ball, and showed little interest in risking the high press, instead being vulnerable when McNeil was carpet-bagged and Branthwaite forced to concede another corner, followed quickly by a third when his clearance hit Young. Vieira got the first shot away but well high and wide. 

Branthwaite was forced into a dangerous backpass, Nketiah colliding dangerously with Pickford. Beto got beneath a long Pickford hoof but could not hold it up or lay it off and the ball was going all the way back to Pickford. The Gunners tried to resume their tight passing game but some blue shirts finally intervened to disrupt them. 

Arsenal tried a faster move forward but Mykolenko stopped Saka in his tracks. The slow stuff resumed but, when Everton forced a turnover, they gave the ball away almost immediately. Somehow, the Blues just lost track of things in midfield and Martinelli overlapped to fire home easily, albeit some element of offside – which was finally verified by the VAR.  A lucky escape for a very poor Everton showing so far. 

The painfully slow but largely unchallenged Arsenal build-up play resumed. Branthwaite had to block a goalbound shot from Declan Rice. With Arsenal doing the high press, Pickford gave Tarkowski a horrible play-out, his hoofs to Beto having not worked. Beto was released in midfield but he ambled forward too slowly and could not beat Saliba.

A cross from Young was easily gathered by Raya. Everton tried at least to press a little and got better possession Doucouré surging forward and running into Saliba, eventually Gana shooting lamely at Raya. Saka was fouled and Mykolenko put the cross out of play. Beto tried to collect but accidentally caught Vieira with his elbow. Then Mykolenko was a fraction late on Saka, but Simon Hooper said no foul. 

Beto was again thwarted by Saliba. but at least Everton players were finally engaging a little more with some decent niggle to break up the Arsenal passing play. But really, when they did get the ball, the Blue shirts were just hopeless. Arsenal went forward and White eventually had a pop but Pickford was behind it comfortably. 

More Arsenal build-up play; more tight defending from Everton, and more turnovers immediately squandered; rinse and repeat until Beto got a clearance and lumbered forward but lost the ball. McNeil, who had hardly been involved, strayed offside. After Everton got forward again in added time, Young was booked for a tackle from behind. Saliba went down clutching his face but Beto hardly touched him and Simon Hooper was rightly uninterested. 

And so ended a strange half — effective from the Everton defence because no goals conceded, but oh dear — how utterly useless were they with the ball going forward?

The Blues resumed and immediately gave the ball to Arsenal for a dangerous attack, Branthwait defending. Then Zinchenko crossing and Odegard striking hard at goal but within saving range of Pickford. Gabriele blocked Beto illegally: yellow card. 

Everton had to defend another Arsenal onslaught without Pickford being tested. Danuma trying to work the ball into the Arsenal area and failing, then Mykolenko letting Branthwaite's pass roll under his foot and out of play, letting Arsenal build another spell of attacking pressure. 

Trossard looked well offside when he crossed past Pickford, Taarkowski clearing the danger. Doucuréwas easily robbed and Tarkowski had to stop Saka with a fine block. Three Arsenal corners ensued. Zinchenko's shot blocked and then Branthwaite heading the cross to Pickford and enabling Everton to play an outball. 

The hour-mark passed and Sean Dyche decided that it was time for Dominic Calvert-Lewin, wearing the Mask of Zoro, to replace Beto but not before Gn was fouled, Young floating the free-kick but nothing from it with Gabriel milking a caress from Tarkowski. From a throw-in the ball fell to Danjuma whose snapshot flew just over Raya's bar. 

Everton needed to repel a couple more Arsenal corners, but could do nothing to stop Trossard's first-time volley in off the far post to no doubt secure the 3 points finally for Arsenal, with 20 minutes to go, Evertonshowing zero ability to threaten the Arsenal goal. 

Mykolenko did well to win a corner off a massive Pickford hoof but Young delivered it straight into Raya's arms. Arsenal attacked, Vieira poking it wide. Doucoure tried to build a move down the left but Young surrendered the ball cheaply. 

The Blues got forward again but that abysmal moment of every game came when Gana decided it was time to shoot and shoot as badly as anyone possibly could. Everton were then torn asunder by a quick Arsenal move but Pickford parried Odegaard's shot and Mykolenko superbly blocked Vieira's shot, the ensuing corner being cleared.

A free-kick for a foul on Garner led to a bout of head-tennis that went nowhere. Everton were reduced to scampering around in search of the ball that Arsenal moved forward smoothly to Havertz who could not score from a narrow angle. Hooper had a strong word with Jesus and Tarkowski about something as Patterson replaced Young, and Chermitti replaced McNeil.

The ball got forward to Calvert-Lewin but all he could do was spoon a non-shot and non-cross to nobody as 4 minutes were added on. 

Everton:  Pickford, Young [Y:45+2'] (87' Patterson), Tarkowski, Branthwaite, Mykolenko, Gana, Onana, Doucouré (80' Garner), McNeil (87' Chermiti), Danjuma, Beto (66' Calvert-Lewin). 

Subs not Used: Virginia, Keane, Godfrey, Dobbin, Onyango. 

Arsenal: Raya; White, Saliba, Gabriel [Y:48'] (66' Jesus), Zinchenko (80' Tomiyasu); Rice, Vieira, (80' Havertz), Odegaard; Saka, Nketiah, Martinelli.

Subs not Used: Ramsdale, Kiwior, Jorginho Trossard, Smith Rowe, Nelson.

Michael Kenrick

A Level Playing Field?

Cards on the table. No complaints about the result. The lads put a good shift in, but were beaten by a much, much better team. It’s about as simple as that really.

Yes, Everton were frustrating in possession. I thought in the second half we were far too careless and lost the ball way too easily. There’s plenty for Sean Dyche to correct there. There’s a lot to improve on. But with players returning and getting into their groove, plus the opportunities created against the teams we “should” do well against, I’m encouraged enough that we can get this right.

Once Beto gets a few games under his belt. Once Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Dwight McNeil get more minutes in them. Once Jack Harrison gets fit. Once Seamus Coleman is back to lead us…there’s a lot that will get better.

But there’s a few things Sean really needs to get right quick-smart. Is Ashley Young’s set-pieces really the hill Sean is going to die on? Why the self-nullification of one of our most potent attacking weapons? Nathan Patterson needs a run of games too…is he third choice right back now? What does that say to a young player? He’ll be wanting to leave soon if he gets overlooked. We need to let him learn.

Sean really needs to alter that midfield too. James Garner has to be in it. We need that improvement in quality. The other three, though pretty faultless with effort, seem muddled in our plan. And when we are in trouble and chasing a game, James is quickly called upon to try and rescue it, often from the flank, which is asking a lot really and isn’t very fair. Give him a role in the midfield and games to learn. We’ll lose him if we don’t, which would be a shame as he is quite the gem.

I don’t want Sean sacked. I hjaven’t the faintest idea who we would turn to if we do, and we need as much of a feeling of stability as we can possibly get. But if you keep on losing games, no matter how unfortuitously, eventually the axe will fall, and Sean is in grave danger of that if we don’t improve quickly.

But on the day, Arsenal were much better than us. They have stability with a manager. Enormous resource, much superior players, coaching staff and analysis. They are flying high and were always going to be a huge mountain to overcome despite the best efforts from the vociferous crowd. From the Gwladys Street their goal looked a brilliantly worked one though I’ll have to see it again.

Matching these team is very tough. Out-gunning them even more so. The better team won by a country mile. But you need a level playing field. Does corruption run that deep that one team miles better than another one gets all the 50-50s their way? That a referee will call a game back for a foul once the better team has lost possession, though then not do the same for the lesser team? On a weekend when we’ve seen five injury time goals with games now going on for an extra 10-15 minutes, but we only get four minutes in a very niggly stop-start game. And then most of that four minutes is spent with the ball out of play, only for the referee to blow for full time to second Everton boot it forward? It’s a scenario we’ve seen many times before, but if they are going to show such favouritism, could they do us the courtesy of making it a little less obvious?

The boos rang out at full time were aimed at Simon Hooper and his mates. Did Everton play well? No. But they did give it their all. They made poor decisions in attacking areas but defended heroically, and the defenders will feel hard done to coming out of the wrong side of that.

Like it or not, we know what Sean Dyche is about. He’ll set up not to lose against the big teams and hope for a break. But he’ll go for it in the games we stand much mote of a chance with.

Get behind the lads. Get behind the manager. If the form continues something would have to be done. But by uniting behind them gives them much more of a chance. And if Sean does get the bullet, who exactly are we expecting to come in to our sorry mess of a club and take us forward?

My man of the match: Jarrad Branthwaite

Paul Traill

Match Preview

Things may be heating up off the pitch with the news that Farhad Moshiri has signed a deal with 777 Partners for a buyout of his majority shareholding in Everton FC, but, on the field, the Premier League program resumes this weekend with the winless Blues taking on title-chasing Arsenal at Goodison Park.

The potential end of the Moshiri era will be months in the making, with the Florida-based investment outfit’s bid subject to regulatory approval and 777 themselves to be vetted by the League’s owners and directors test. In the meantime, the Toffees are already embroiled in another fight for top-flight survival.

The opening four games of the campaign yielded just two goals and one point and though Sean Dyche can point to encouraging attacking metrics, the fact remains that his team are in the bottom three coming out of the international break with one of their toughest assignments up next.

Encouragingly, Everton have faired well in this fixture in recent years, having won four and drawn one of their last five meetings with the Gunners on home soil but two years ago it took the inspiration of Demarai Gray — the winger created an equaliser for Richarlison by slamming a shot off the crossbar and then scored a dramatic late winner — a player no longer at the club and last season, it was a backs-against-the-wall display of dogged defending led by Seamus Coleman, who won’t be involved this time due to injury.

While new signing Beto is expected to make his home debut and Dominic Calvert-Lewin looks ready to return, protective mask and all following a cheekbone fracture, it’s at the back where the Blues’ prospects in this game will likely lie.

Jarrad Branthwaite has been in fine form since belatedly being introduced in place of Michael Keane but team captain James Tarkowski has been questionable of late, the veteran Ashley Young hasn’t covered himself in glory, Nathan Patterson’s relative inexperience has been exposed and the midfield has often failed to provide the necessary cover.

If Dyche and his men can demonstrate improvement in that defensive respect from the work put in over the break then they will stand a chance.

Inspired from the midfield by Martin Ødegaard and Declan Rice and lent potency by the likes of Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Jesus in attack, though, Arsenal have one of the most fearsome attacks in the division.

They ran out handsome 3-1 winners last time out against Manchester United, having toppled Nottingham Forest and Crystal Palace in their first two games but their 2-2 draw with Fulham exposed some of their defensive frailties which Dyche will be hoping to exploit through the enterprising Arnaut Danjuma and the pace and power of Beto.

Though there were some question marks over Saka’s fitness this week, it seems as though Mikel Arteta will have just three players definitely ruled out in Thomas Partey, new signing Jurrien Timber and midfielder Mohamed Elneny.

Dyche, meanwhile, will have wait to welcome one of his own new acquisitions to his team in the form of Jack Harrison. The loanee has resumed full training but won’t be ready to return to action this weekend while Coleman and Dele Alli aren’t expected back until next month at the earliest.

If Everton are to make Goodison a fortress again, it’s games like these where they’ll need to perform in all areas of the pitch. Missed chances against Fulham and Wolves cost them dearly and they failed to hold on to an early lead at Sheffield United and the points will be much harder to come by against Arsenal.

A repeat of last season’s edition of this match, Dyche’s first in charge as the Toffees’ boss, would be a huge boost to morale and a magnificent tonic ahead of the upcoming trips to Brentford and Aston Villa.

Kick-off: 4:30 pm, Sunday, 17 September 2023
Referee: Simon Hooper
VAR: Stuart Attwell
Last Time: Everton 1 - 0 Arsenal

Predicted Line-up: Pickford, Patterson, Tarkowski, Branthwaite, Young, Gueye, Garner, Onana, Danjuma, Doucouré, Beto

Lyndon Lloyd

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