Everton v Arsenal

Wednsesday, 23 August 1995

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

First, the Facts ...

Everton (0) 0 Arsenal (0) 2

Platt 70, Wright 87.

Everton: Southall, Barrett, Hinchcliffe (Barlow 57), Unsworth, Watson, Ablett, Rideout, Ferguson, Horne, Limpar (Amokachi 77), Parkinson. Subs Not Used: Grant. Booked: Ablett, Horne.

Arsenal: Seaman, Dixon, Winterburn, Bould, Adams, Platt, Wright, Merson, Bergkamp, Keown (Jensen 89), Parlour. Subs Not Used: Helder, Bartram. Booked: Keown, Parlour.

Att: 35,775

Ref: K W Burge (Tonypandy).

Goodison Misery

Daily Mail Soccernet:DAVID PLATT'S first League goal for Arsenal and a second of the season for the prolific Ian Wright made sure Everton's first home game was a miserable experience for their fans.

Having paraded the FA Cup and Charity Shield before the game, hopes were high at a packed Goodison but Platt turned it Arsenal's way on 70 minutes, becoming the first player to score against Everton in seven games in all competitions.

Wright made it two nil three minutes from time, racing down the left, beating David Unsworth and then poking the ball in off the far post.

(c) Daily Mail

Arsenal accomplish well scripted win

Dave Shepherd: The boys in the press room must have cackled over their G&Ts as they wrote up their lyrical rhetoric about Arsenal's shock win over Everton. What better story than the victory of good over evil; - of the Boring team turned style-mon gers over the Stylish team turned ugly?

I'm sure much of the garbage printed today was written long before the kick off -- cliches about continental skill, payback for investment, and Everton swamped and in need of a Ukranian messiah to save them from another 15th place finish.

At least Match of the Day could not hide the truth for those with eyes to see it: Everton could and should have taken the new-look Gunners to the cleaners and sent them home with a scoreline to make their shareholder-supporters look at their 550-pound sea son tickets and wonder if they were insane.

What happened? Well, Everton either flow or they don't, and recently when they haven't flowed, their work rate has been enough to keep outrageous fortune at bay and still come away without losing. Last night the flow was sluggish and the luck in vital mom ents was absent.

The first 25 minutes were terrible. Everton did not seem to want to take on the Arsenal midfield, and instead kept aiming for Ferguson. Against many teams this could work, but Arsenal are probably the last team who will be worried by this. This restricted Everton's chances to accurate but non-dangerous long strikes from Rideout, Ferguson, Hinchcliffe and Horne. This was despite 90% of referee Burge's free kick decisions going Everton's way.

Meanwhile the Arsenal showed that they were a team still very unused to each other. A promising pass was usually followed by a blunder, and they made very little progress towards creating chances. Platt seemed to be chasing shadows, and Bergkamp was compl etely anonymous. Those they had all fell to Parlour, who gave an hilarous display of bad shooting.

Things warmed up a little when Everton passed more, but the Arsenal defence were masterful -- not only filling the area with bodies, but always managing to have two men on the key player (usually Limpar). Each side had one close attempt. Platt hit the full face of the crossbar from a disputed free kick near the church corner, and Rideout beat Seaman with an overhead attempt which was so close the Gwladys St End thought it was a goal.

The second half was not much different until from a much needed fast break from midfield, Limpar crossed from the angle of the box perfectly for Duncan to head in. Dixon was there, but his jump was not high enough to stop the goal. Up went the hands - a g reat save! - by Dixon! An easy penalty. But both referee and (better placed) linesman ruled DF had fouled. The TV replays were badly placed, but this looked a very harsh decision.. referees have allowed much more contact for similar events. One angle show ed Ferguson's hand reaching out, but Dixon collapsing like a rag-doll before contact was made.

Evertonians were sick and angry, but I was a lot sicker - I had a pound on the penalty taker Unsworth at 22-1 for the first goal. 8-[

Spurred on by the crowd, Everton tried to get justice back by playing up a gear, but Arsenal still coped, and the stalemate continued. It was going to be an entertaining an exciting 0-0 draw, and Everton's record-equalling 7th clean sheet... so what is Ne ville doing flapping around on the floor? Boredom?

Oh dear. Only MotD did the move justice -- there was no defensive error -- it was a ball threaded through well-placed alert defenders to a Roy of the Rovers run from Platt, and even Nev's quick advance could not stop the script being fulfilled for the vul tures in the press box. It was a goal in a thousand, and after 9 out of 10 clean sheets your luck has to fail sometime, so it might as well be to class rather than mistakes or dumb luck. A pity though, since it was not deserved by the previous 70 minutes Arsenal played.

Again Everton upped a gear. Hinchcliffe, carrying a slight injury, had already given place to Barlow in the wide-right role he prospered in under Joe last season while Limpar moved to the left. Attacks duly came more frequently, but the clock ticked away. Limpar was taken off (to huge applause from the Arsenal fans who still love him) for Amo. This meant Everton had FOUR strikers on the pitch (and we're supposed to be boring, folks!) The attacks increased again.

In the last 10 minutes, Amo missed three 'strikers chances' (difficult but you'd hope for more), and Barlow was robbed by a deflection straight to Seaman, plus 2-3 other attempts off target, so it was not any surprise that the pressure left Everton open t o counter attacks from the now confident and flowing Arsenal playmakers, and they could have added 2-3 more goals.

The one they did add was a ball into the vacated right back region, and for once Unsworth (from left centre back) could not get over quickly enough to intercept Wright, who's shot Nev got brilliant reaction hand to on the floor, but not enough to stop it going in off the far post.

Goodison started to empty - which was stupid, because there were chances thereafter to take the score to about 4-4. After a generousamount of injury time, the crowd were in a state of shock and depression. The Blue faithful have been lured into over-expec tation. This was the first goal conceded since the Chelsea home game (May 3rd), the first loss since Blackburn (Apr 1st), and only the 7th loss in 37 games under Joe Royle.

Does this mean Arsenal will win the league? Not on this performance, but if the rest of the team can start to gel with Bergkamp & Platt before Christmas, they might well run away with it.

Does this mean Everton have problems? No. There is no team in the premier better equipped to close out Everton than Arsenal, and even they needed the blessings of the football gods to go away with anything at all.

Performance Ratings

Southall: 7 Alert to everything even though his game was quiet.

Barrett: 7 Definately improving, but my fears were justified when he left his wing free for Wright to score, and left Rhino to cover other times (once caused the Platt crossbar free kick).

Unsworth: 8 They usual dictionary of saving tackles and awareness.

Watson: 7 No sign of the lack of pace. (Who needs pace when you can miraclulously be where the ball is going?)

Ablett: 7 Poor distribution from the back.

Horne: 8 eek! Barry whizzed around so much and even ran forward beating players... I thought he was Limpar more than once!

Parkinson: 7 A graveyard for opponents who dare hold the ball in the middle.

Limpar: 7 Needing his flair to prize open a stingy defence Anders too often floated into the middle and got marked out.

Hinchcliffe: 7 Performance matched his fitness - not 100%

Ferguson: 7 Unable to dominate the holding position, and not well serviced enough to be a threat.

Rideout: 7 Doing enough to be an automatic first choice striker, but not enough to be a headline-maker.

Amokachi: 8 Great effort in his dream role - behind the front 2. Ignored fouls, regained possession with ease, and created chances. Unlucky not to have carved himself another slice of folklore.

Barlow: 7 Wing delivery is improving. If he can continue improving we will have a natural replacement for Kanchelskis on hand.

Team Performance: 6. Too much reliance on individuals and not enough teamwork to take best advantage of a routine game.

Ref: K Burge. A great display of pro-Everton (or was it pro-home team?) decisions on midfield fouls, but turned down penalty appeals from both teams.

Non-football incidents:

  1. Dixie the mascot's arm fell off.
  2. Trophies paraded before kick off.
  3. Match day programme the size of an Argos catalogue due to 'merchandise' magazine.
  4. Mike Trebilcock doing the half-time draw.
  5. New St.End facilities: 'Dixie diner' (closed). Tall Mushroom tables.

We didn't deserve to lose

Mike Southworh: I'm more gutted now than I was last night despite knowing that the press would be singing the praises of Pratt and Turdkamp. To be perfectly frank, Arsenal were shite. Bergkamp was anonymous and didn't really create the first goal. Merson did all the work. Platt was quiet and only surfaced to hit the crossbar and then score. Not much of a contribution :-[

The Blues had the lion's share of possession and created many more chances, with most of the shots on target and producing saves, albeit easy ones, from Seaman.

Duncan doesn't look fit, and spent a lot of time feeling his groin area. Hinchcliffe also appears to be carrying an injury, and didn't do very much. Hence his substitution to bring Barlow on, who played well and was unlucky with a deflected shot that drop ped nicely for Seaman. Amo needs a new pair of boots, cos he had two good chances and missed both badly.

Rideout covered a lot of ground and worked hard for little return. Barry Horne was everywhere, and played really well apart from a couple of glaring mistakes when he gave the ball away far too easily. Parkinson was excellent. His tackling was superb, a nd his ball control and running is getting better all the time. I'm still not overly impressed with his distribution though. Limpar is still the most creative of the midfielders, but was well policed last night.

Overall the defence looked good. There was nothing to be done about the first goal. I originally thought that Rhino was to blame but he wasn't. He was beaten for the second, although, as Dave pointed out to me, he was covering for Barrett and had had t o cover about twenty yards to get anywhere near Wright. I thought Barrett did play well though, by the standards he set last season :-) Watson and Ablett were both steady, and Rhino got his usual quota of tackles in.

It could all have been so different if a blatant hand ball by Lee Dixon hadn't been ignored by Keith Burge in favour of a non existent push on him by Duncan. The ball was crossed in to the far post, Duncan got above Dixon for an excellent chance and Dixon batted the ball away with both hands! Arsenal were given a free kick. None of the papers I've read today have given it any mention, preferring to concentrate on Bergkamp's "match winning performance".

Man of the match: Not too sure, but last night my first instinct was Joe Parkinson so I'll stick with that.

Scoreline flatters The Arse

Neill Travers: The 2-0 scoreline flattered Arsenal, no doubt about that. The difference being that they had 2 clinical finishers in Platt and Wright. Platt was largely anonymous for 90 mins which is even more frustrating. Bergkamp showed some neat touches and vision but won't be a prolific scorer.

On to the blues. Parkinson (even the odd Cruyff turn believe it or not) and Horne were superb and controlled the midfield. Unfortunately both still seem a little reluctant to get in to the penalty area. Ferguson looked unfit in the first half and only rarely got the better of Bould in the air (though this was mostly due to Bould's little nudges). Second half was better with flashes of skill on the floor and a couple of tearaway runs up the flanks.

Rideout was very quiet apart from an unlucky lob, whilst Limpar proved largely ineffective though not through lackof trying. We looked very predictable going forward thus making it easy for Arsenal to counter any threat.

Defensively, I thought we looked quite solid. Unsworth had a very good game which was spoiled towards the end when Wright left him for dead to score. Barrett, too, looked good in the air and had one of his better games.

My main grumble about the team is that I simply don't think that Hinchcliffe is a midfielder. He plays far too deep for that postion and doesn't exactly relish getting past his man. I feel we had the same problem last year towards the end of the season.

It could have gone ether way

Louise Williams: I only saw the highlights on Match of the Day last night, but we looked pretty good to me. Barrett, Horne, and Ferguson all had good games. I must admit, I was not an Amo fan, but I'd like to see him play a full game now. I still t hink he's a tad lazy, but he's mighty skillful when he's got the ball. Anyway, last night it could have gone either way. I suppose they were a bit better, but we went close with a few, including 2 acrobatic back-flip efforts (Rideout and Ferguson).

Our center midfielders were better

Richard Marland: I thought Horne and Parkinson were excellent in their dogs of war mode, although I do worry about the lack of guile in our midfield, we didn't really look like we were going to break down Arsenal's organised defences.

Mark Jensen: I think Horne and Parkie were excellent, both tackling and distribution. I feel the problem last night lay with tactics and the poor quality crosses. Royal should have made a tactical change (what and who I don't know) when he realised that Hinchcliffe and Limpar were being man-marked by Winterburn and Dixon. I realised this after five minutes. The Arsenal defence I thought played very well and Rideout had another quiet game.

Apart from clever tactics by the Arse I thought we played quite well. I was going to blame Unsie but I just couldn't do it.

The nuetral view

Michael Langan: An uninspiring game, sad to relate Arsenal under Rioch show no sign of throwing off their 'boring' tag though off course it's early days yet. After a blank first half David Platt opened the scoring on 70 minutes when he took a pass and rounded Southall in the Everton goal to slot home. With 3 minutes left Ian Wright collected a fine pass from Bergkamp to score from a narrow angle. Sub. Amokachi created a couple of good chances for Everton, why Joe Royle prefers to start Paul Rideout instead is a mystery.

Kanchelskis was in the Everton dugout last night, his transfer tangle should be resolved this week, but it will take more than him to lift Everton above the average.