Arsenal v Everton

FA Carling Premier League, Saturday 20 January, 1996, Highbury, North London

Previous Match (FA Cup): Stockport County v Everton Next Match (FA Cup): Everton v Port Vale

Previous League Match: Everton v Chelsea Next League Match: Southampton v Everton

Away Win!

Arsenal (1) 1 Everton (0) 2
Wright 38; Kanchelskis 84, Stuart 50.

Arsenal: (4-4-2) Seaman, Dixon, Marshall, Linighan, Winterburn, Merson, Jensen, Clarke (Dickov 86), Helder, Wright, Bergkamp. Subs Not Used: Morrow, Rose. Booked: Jensen.

Everton: (4-3-1-2) Southall, Ablett, Short, Watson, Parkinson, Kanchelskis, Ebbrell, Horne, Ferguson, Stuart, Amokachi (Unsworth 87). Subs Not Used: Limpar, Kearton. Booked: Horne, Ferguson.

Att: 38,275
Ref: M Bodenham (Looe).

A great day out

Guy McEvoy: Highbury. Multi-million pound stadium, cantilevered stands, two Jumbotronic screens, exquisite executive boxes, the whole place stinks of big spending. So you'd would think that they'd be able to afford to put proper toilets other than urinals in the "away" gents. A nightmare if you need a number two. Enough of my gripes. On with the footy.

There was a bizarre incident at the start of the game that needs to be recorded. Nev actually spent the first 2-3 minutes playing in an FC Cologne goalie top (really! with "FC Cologne above the "1" where it would normally say "Southall"), complete with Ford sponsor logo, and without gloves. The reason for this never became apparent, however after a couple of minutes someone did appear (no doubt fearing the wrath of Danka) with his yellow Umbro effort, which he duly stuck on. No sooner had he pulled that over himself than he was chasing out to charge down a good Arsenal opening attack. Nev was to be the focus for a good chunk of the game.

And so it was Arsenal who set the very early pace. Everton's problem wasn't so much that we weren't gelling as a unit, more that the ref and linesman gave in to every single half cry from the home crowd and blew his whistle. At the same time, Arsenal seemed to be getting away with murder (one player clearly picked up the ball when he fell on it and it was to everyone's astonishment when play was waved on, another practically forced Dunc to give him a piggy back without any reprimand).

Matters took an even more ominous turn when Duncan fell victim once more to his infamous reputation and found himself booked for having an Arsenal player fall over within a yard of him, even though no contact was made (the linesman must get the blame for that call, the linesman gesturing to the ref that an elbow was involved and not an offside as widely reported in the press, but nevertheless Dunc was so incensed he was lucky not to go off for dissent).

Fortunately, we were defending well and there didn't seem to be too much room for alarm yet. Then Ian Wright happened. He had threatened all game and, as Evertonians, we need no reminding what he is capable of. In the event there was nothing we could do about the goal. He picked it up thirty five yards out, turned and outpaced Short, then offset Watson and Horne enough to fire home a low short beyond Southall's dive. I would attach no blame to the goal, it was as fine a goal as any opposition has scored against us this season.

Everton though are starting to show again that determined match winning spirit. We lifted our heads and the half did not end without us having chances. A delightful cross from Stuart deserved a more decisive header from Kanchelskis, Amo fluffed a volley, Horne forced a long range save, and an Everton corner created three shorts that were all astonishingly denied.

One of the best things about the Jumbotron screens is that we were all treated to the highlights at half time, an incredibly more worthwhile 15 minutes than hanging on for a 50/50 draw, though I doubt keeping the crowd that interested does wonders for their hot dog sales.

Whatever Joe said at half time had good effect. We started like as we meant to go on and first sniff went to Amo who beat his man, got through and (for once) hit a worthy strike that demanded the very best of Seaman to force onto the bar. We were unable to pickup the rebound and Arsenal had a happy escape. Moments later Amo had a snapshot out of nothing that only just went over. The pressure was telling, and a goal seemed inevitable, when it came it was a peach. The ball was quickly knocked through to Stuart and although Duncan was clearly in an offside position he was also clearly walking the opposite way not even watching play. Stuart glided through the defence and we all held our breath for the shot, it didn't come - instead he chose to go round Seaman, arrogantly done, we then suspected he'd narrowed his angle too much - don't doubt Diamond. The man is on form and that was another very well taken goal for his collection.

Suddenly there was a real sense that three points were to be taken home from this one, and Everton began to dominate possession. However, Arsenal were well aware of our weakness in our 3 man defence and, despite having about half the amount of the ball we had suddenly found themselves having a succession of chances. The result was a pulsating end to end thriller of a half, to which we owe great debt to Southall for making a string of world class instinct saves and also to a bit of luck when Wright rounded Southall but incredibly failed to find the power from five yards to get the ball to cross the line. Duncan could have stole it for us with a flying header from a corner that looked destined to be a carbon copy of the Stockport goal, however the match winner fell to someone who up to about the last quarter of an hour had been a clearly under used resource. It was almost like we had been keeping Andrei as a secret weapon.

It came from a Barry Horne throw. No Everton player was moving and Barry was completely out of options and consequently was picking up time wasting chants from the Gunner fans. Andrei decided that if no-one else was gonna move then he just had to. He turned fast and ran diagonally away from goal, Horne relieved to finally see someone want the ball hoisted it what appeared to be a little to long. Kan upped his pace to reach it noticed there was a gap and so simply thumped it first touch from 20 yards. Seaman never had a hope.

It is the first time for a good spell we've beaten Arsenal at Highbury, all the more sweeter because we came back from behind. That is now 7 games without defeat and (I like this stat!) we have won every away game in '93. We lie 3 points from the top 5. Our squad is as near full strength as it has been for a couple of seasons. Things are looking bright.

Incidentally, the Evertonians did their bit to advise the FA about a certain job vacancy with constant chants all afternoon of "There's only one Howard Kendall". Also, I'm not absolutely convinced about the Russian song chant of "Andrei Kanchelskis" - I'll swear it's the Jewish tune "Hava Nagiala". Still it's nice that we're getting some imagination.

Individual Performances

Southall 9 - Would have got a 10 but for some decidedly dodgy clearances in the first half. Three breathtaking saves, and many other competent stops. The only thing that looked capable of beating him all afternoon was the Wright piece of magic, and there is no one in the world could have got to that.
Short 8 - Looked very solid if a little over-stretched at times, had an awful lot to do due to our thin defence but kept up with it well.
Watson 7 - Was beaten for pace several times on the ground, yet was an absolute rock in the air, nothing that went high through the middle got through.
Ablett 6 - Probably being a tad generous with the score here but he did enjoy a useful quarter of an hour. The rest of the time he had an absolute stinker, looked indecisive again at the back and coming forward the distribution was simply awful. Move after move broke down when it reached him. Arsenal were treating him with contempt by the end rarely even sending anyone in to challenge him. He picked up the wrath of our crowd. He'll want to forget this one.
Horne 7 - The calming element of our play, though spent a lot of time at the back and proved his shepherding skills are not those of a dedicated full back, costing us a couple of corners. Nevertheless, instrumental in shutting out their passing play.
Ebbrell & Parkinson 7 - Both got themselves involved in trying to close the Gunners and keep them shut out. The only way they were beaten was through the swift wide counter attacks. Coped with Bergkampf very well.
Stuart 8 - Yet again ran like a man possessed for 90 minutes, set up a number of chances for Ammo and Kanchelskis. Very well taken goal. Nowadays an automatic selection.
Amokachi 7 - Worked hard again and although he didn't enjoy the same number of shots we always expect of him he did make slightly better efforts of those that he did have than we would normally expect. Unlucky not to be on the score-sheet, all things considered an asset to us on the day.
Kanchelskis 8 - Again didn't really get the service for a large chunk of the game and spent a lot of time covering at the back, suddenly though in the last quarter of the game he seemed to be central to everything. The match winning effort was deserved.
Ferguson 7 - Off the ball movement much better today, he was heavily marked all the time which meant he never really had the best of chances, but his presence, and dragging of defenders did give the likes of Stuart that little extra space to do their stuff.
Unsworth replaced Amo for the last 2 mins though I don't think he had a touch.

I forgot to mention that Rideout had been dropped outright.

Kanchelskis delivers the decisive blow

By Clive White, Electronic Telegraph

TWO STUNNING individual goals by Ian Wright and Andrei Kanchelskis were responsible for elevating this game above the norm and though either one deserved to win it, it was the strike from the Russian international, seven minutes from time, which decided the outcome in the Merseysiders' favour, compounding a miserable week for Arsenal.

In defence of Bruce Rioch's team, the Evertonians were deeply indebted to some equally inspired goalkeeping from the evergreen Neville Southall for still being in a position by the 83rd minute to win the game and maintain a resurgence which now measures seven games without defeat, though their luck would appear to have changed ever since Feyenoord knocked them out of the Cup-Winners' Cup back in November.

The way in which Everton cleared their own awkward obstacle in the midweek replay at Stockport can only have strengthened their belief that there might be another prize awaiting them at the end of this season.

How Rioch must envy their strength in depth and overall good health. Only Earl Barrett was unavailable for selection yesterday, a far cry from the earlier misfortunes with injuries, and they could even afford to leave the former Gunner Anders Limpar champing at the bit on the substitutes' bench alongside another redundant international, David Unsworth.

Arsenal had no such luxury and in the absence of Tony Adams, David Platt, Steve Bould and Martin Keown, were forced to field two youngsters in Adrian Clarke and Scott Marshall with only a handful of first-team games between them.

Rioch's pain was made all the more acute by an equaliser from Graham Stuart that he felt should have been disallowed for offside against Duncan Ferguson, who was running away from the Arsenal goal but, thought Rioch, interfering with play. "I've asked the referee to take a look at the video," said Rioch. "He told me that the goalscorer wasn't in the same zone as the other player but he could have shaken hands with Ferguson as he went past him."

Everton signalled their intent to change the pattern within three minutes of the restart when David Seaman palmed a Daniel Amokachi half-volley against the crossbar.

Wright's goal was reward for Arsenal's early initiative that was in danger of petering out. Southall's expertise had been called upon as early as the fourth minute when he made a double save from the two Dutchmen, Glenn Helder and Dennis Bergkamp, within the space of a few seconds while only a timely interception by Gary Ablett to a rising drive from Lee Dixon prevented the need for more heroics from the 37-year-old Welshman.

But even he was unable to do anything about Wright when the mood took the prolific Arsenal marksman in the 37th minute. There appeared no threat to the Everton goal when Wright took possession just inside the opponents' half and a gaggle of Everton defenders appeared to ensure that that remained so. Unperturbed, this most unpredictable of strikers just continued on his merry way, surrounded by blue shirts, until he suddenly veered off to the left, wrong-footing the lot of them before whipping in a low shot past Southall for his 19th goal of the season, his ninth in five games against the team from Goodison.

Everton signalled their intent to change the pattern within three minutes of the restart when David Seaman palmed a Daniel Amokachi half-volley against the crossbar. Two minutes later they had parity. Dave Watson's forehead returned Seaman's clearance with interest and Stuart ran on to score from an angle while Arsenal appealed for offside.

If Southall had excelled himself earlier, it was nothing to the saves he now made from shots by Paul Merson, Clarke and twice from Bergkamp. Old Nev was in that sort of form. It was from this position that Everton now went on to win the game, Kanchelskis collecting a throw-in and allowing the impetus of it to carry him across the face of the Arsenal goal before he unleashed a wicked, left-foot shot past Seaman.

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Kanchelskis in for the kill

Ian Chadband, Sunday Times

THERE HAVE been times this season when the Highbury faithful must have been convinced that Wright was keeping their stop-start campaign alive single-handedly. He continues to work wonders, but this was another example of how Arsenal's form continues to meander erratically.

For the first time, Wright was given the captain's armband for the day. He responded with the sort of goal we have come to believe only he can conjure up, yet still found his inspiration far from enough to prevent a wretched week for Arsenal ending in predictably miserable fashion.

From his lonely vantage point up front, the new skipper must have looked in horror as he saw his first half tour de force wiped out by the sloppiness of a defence that slumbered amateurishly to let Stuart in and which was undone again by a moment of brilliance from Kanchelskis in the dying minutes. It was no more than Everton deserved for their enterprising approach.

This really did look the ideal day to catch a patched-up Arsenal cold. Off the back of their midweek FA Cup exit at Sheffield United, without the injured Platt and Bould and minus the suspended Adams and Keown, the central defensive partnership of Linighan and Marshall looked distinctly fragile in the face of the assault from Amokachi, Ferguson and Stuart. Joe Royle had gambled on an attacking formation and was handsomely rewarded. Stuart was a constant menace, buzzing in the no-man's-land behind the front two.

Yet, ultimately, despite the entertaining end-to-end nature of the game, Arsenal will rue this as a missed opportunity. They created the lion's share of chances but, four times in the second half, were thwarted by the evergreen Southall. One of his saves, a point-blank stop from a flying Merson volley, was quite breathtaking.

Only a Wright special was likely to defeat him in this mood. There seemed to be little danger when Jensen slotted the ball through to Wright, and, even when he turned Short with a marvellous feint, it seemed impossible that he could manufacture anything, so closely shadowed was he by four blue shirts. But he weaved and jinked outside, finding enough room to plant his left-foot shot into the corner. Even for a man with a penchant for the outrageous, this was something to behold. Bruce Rioch, the Arsenal manager, doubted we would see a better one all season.

At that point, Everton could hardly complain. They had, for the most part, been under the cosh with the Dutch combination of Helder and Bergkamp wreaking plenty of havoc down the left flank. Twice, early on, Southall was forced into saves from this pair.

Yet, for all their pressure - even Dixon got in on the act with his goal-bound shot being gratefully deflected over the top by Short - the danger signs were always apparent for the home side.

Ferguson's mouth seemed to be working overtime when he was booked for dissent in the first half, but it was his head that always looked likely to drag Everton back into the game. Just before the break, he muscled in to allow Parkinson to screw one across the face of goal and just after the interval nodded on for Amokachi to thunder a shot against the bar via Seaman's fingertips.

Then, calamity for Arsenal. When an Everton attack broke down, Watson restarted it by heading from midfield over the top of a static rearguard straight into the path of Stuart. The home defence simply shut up shop, assuming the linesman would flag because Ferguson was retreating from an offside position. No flag came and Stuart, whose impressive display had Royle cooing that he was England material, marauded on, rounded Seaman and shot from a narrow angle to defeat Winterburn's desperate attempt to clear on the line.

The equaliser brought a grumble from Rioch, who felt Stuart had been close enough to Ferguson for it to be ruled that he was interfering with play. He even invited referee Bodenham to look at the video and explain the decision. Still, there could be no excuse for the way hosts of red-shirted players simply looked lamely towards the touchline instead of getting on with the game.

No agruments, though, about the winner. A quick throw-in from the right and Kanchelskis, whose earlier close-range volley had met with a fine save from Seaman, this time with back to goal turned in a flash to volley left-footed from the corner of the box. Seaman's high standards are such that he will consider his failure to tip it round the post as a blunder, but he could afford to ask why his defence had given this obvious match-winner the time and space to even deliver the speculative effort.

Even then, Arsenal could have got back into it. That they did not was down to Southall, who twice kept Bergkamp at bay with exceptional stops. Even when he was beaten and Wright's shot trickled towards goal, Short was there to clear off the line.

Wright's face was a picture of frustration. The man is so often enveloped in controversy - the latest one, an allegation that he spat into the crowd at Middlesbrough last week - but his skilful, lionhearted sojourn up front was exactly the sort of sleeves-rolled-up approach Rioch had demanded. Wright, he felt, was the right one to lead from the front.

But it was a defeat to illustrate again the lack of strength in depth at Rioch's disposal. He has made no secret about the urgency of dipping into the transfer market and reflected gloomily that the one he had wanted to snap up was . . . Kanchelskis. Ah well, such is life.

Arsenal: Bad losers

SoccerNet: A mistake by England goalkeeper David Seaman seven minutes from time condemned Arsenal to their second defeat of a miserable week. Having crashed out of the FA Cup against First Division Sheffield United in midweek, their prospects of a late run for the Premiership title were effectively ended by an Everton side who closed to within a point of them in the table.

Seaman must take a large portion of the blame for spoiling an otherwise excellent individual performance by a lapse which allowed Andrei Kanchelskis to snatch the winning goal.

When the former Manchester United winger collected a throw-in from Barry Horne and cut across the edge of the penalty area to deliver a fierce left-foot shot, Seaman appeared to have the ball covered but allowed it to elude his grasp and finish in the far corner of the net.

The goal stunned Arsenal's fans in a 38,000 Highbury crowd. In a lively entertaining contest, the two goalkeepers, Seaman and his Welsh international counterpart Neville Southall had performed splendidly.

Arsenal, despite fielding a below-strength team minus four first-choice defenders - including England captain Tony Adams - had started the match brightly and taken the lead seven minutes before the interval with a strike from Ian Wright which will surely be a candidate for goal of the season.

Receiving the ball with his back to goal, Wright tricked his way past Dave Watson, ran towards the edge of the area and as four defenders converged around him, he cleverly side-stepped to the left before drilling a perfect low shot into the far corner. There was little doubt that Arsenal deserved their interval lead but they were to be pegged back by a resurgent second half-performance from Joe Royle's men. They might have drawn level in the 48th minute when Seaman somehow deflected a fierce drive from Daniel Amokachi off the crossbar but did not have long to wait. Three minutes later Graham Stuart put them level with a goal tainted by controversy.

When John Ebrell headed the ball forward, Duncan Ferguson was clearly in an offside position but referee Martin Bodenham decided he was not interfering with play and Stuart accepted the pass, went round Seaman and forced the ball home, despite the efforts of Andy Linighan and Nigel Winterburn to keep it out. A goal-line clearance from Craig Short prevented Wright re-establishing Arsenal's lead and Southall pulled off splendid saves from Dennis Bergkamp and young winger Adrian Clark to keep the visitors on terms.

They were to prove crucial saves when Kanchelskis stepped in to provide Everton with a further boost to their improving season.

Spirit and determination from Everton

CarlingNet: Graham Stuart's controversial equaliser and a surprise late winner by Andrei Kanchelskis enabled Everton to stretch their unbeaten run to seven matches in an incident packed FA Carling Premiership clash at Highbury.

Ian Wright, Arsenal's captain for the day in the absence of the suspended Tony Adams, struck an incredible goal seven minutes before the interval but in the end it proved irrelevant.

Wright delightfully dummied John Ebbrell and then twisted and turned away from a series of challenges to hit an unstoppable shot past Everton goalkeeper Neville Southall.

But three minutes after the break, Stuart squeezed home the equaliser after rounding goalkeeper David Seaman with Arsenal's defenders appealing for offside against both Duncan Ferguson and Daniel Amokachi.

Referee Martin Bodenham brushed the Gunners' protests aside and their misery was complete seven minutes from the end when Russian winger Kanchelskis cut in from a throw by Barry Horne to rifle an 18-yard shot through the double handed grasp of England keeper Seaman. Arsenal, decimated by suspensions to Adams and Martin Keown plus injuries to David Platt and Steve Bould, did enough to earn a gallant point at the very least and Wright's classic strike would have been worthy of winning any match.

But Everton showed the spirit and determination which has been the feature of their most recent form and got the vital breaks when it mattered.

Once Arsenal's new look centre-back pairing of Scott Marshall had settled down they coped well with Everton's attacks, although Seaman had to make splendid saves from Ferguson and Kanchelskis. Southall matched that with superb stops from Wright and Glenn Helder at the other end but although he had no chance with Wright's 19th goal of the season, it was the veteran keeper's saves in the second half which proved the difference between the two teams. Seaman looked like being the hero himself when somehow deflecting Amokachi's close range blast against the crossbar just after the break. But then he was beaten by Stuart's equaliser and had to take the blame for Kanchelskis's late winner.

In between times, though, Southall excelled himself by stopping goalbound efforts by Dennis Bergkamp and youngster Adrian Clarke while Craig Short cleared off the line when Wright slipped through to beat Southall from Paul Merson's pass.

Everton escaped with all three points but Ferguson, who was only given clearance to play by a court's decision to delay the result of a judicial review on his 12-match ban, blotted his copybook again with a first half booking for dissent.

He was fortunate to stay on the pitch, referee Martin Bodenham deciding to take no action when the big striker gestured angrily at a linesman, who flagged for an obvious offside decision against him.

We deserved to win.

Steve Malone and the Everton supporters had a clear view of the incident down the line: An Arsenal defender took a dive, right in front of the linesman, who unbelievabally flagged for a foul. The same linesman also refused to see half a dozen similar incidents in the first half.

The referee then blew for a foul - it was an outrageous decision, and incensed all the blues followers. DD hardly had reacted at all, but the ref had his card out within a milisecond - DD obviously had his card marked fromthe start, and was victim to further Arsenal dives and 50:50 decisions all awarded against by the ref throughout the match.

Have to say, AK's goal was a toatal beaut, but the real star was Big Nev, who came up with 4 world class saves to keep us in the match. A bit of a scrappy performance, but we fought hard and defended well for most of the match.

Some instant impressions:

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