Fulltime thoughts - Duncan Ferguson ends his interim spell in charge of his favourite club with a draw at Goodison against Arsenal. The Blues could and should have won this game, but with how tired the players have been going through this gruelling part of the schedule, this is not the worst result.
Onwards and upwards now with Carlo Ancelotti in charge.
Final score 0-0.
90+3’ - DCL finds Sidibe deep on the right, his cross is perfect but Richarlison and Chambers get into an aerial crash and the whistle goes. This is going to end in a stalemate it looks like. Any other year Everton would be happy with the result, but today this game was here for the taking against a weakened Arsenal.
90’ - Just three minutes to be added on, plus any other extraneous time. Willock hauls down Sigurdsson and he’s in the book too.
87’ - Holgate steps up on the press and catches Callum Chambers in possession. The Arsenal player goes in the book, and Digne has a freekick deep on the left, just outside the box.
Digne’s take is cleared and Davies wins a throw in, the big boys stay up top but the ball makes it all the way back to Pickford.. he hoofs it up and straight out of play.
Ball falls to Davies and he takes a pop from about 25 yards out with his left boot, well wide.
85’ - Mina rolling around on the ground, cramp?
80’ - Big Dunc with another sub of a sub, no controversy this time. Moise Kean comes on for Cenk Tosun.
With Kean on Everton are amping it up here and Goodison is roaring the Blues on.
78’ - Striker swap for the Gunners - Lacazette on for Aubameyang. Not short of riches Arsenal eh?
Keane with a poor pass out of the back and it goes out, and Goodison is howling. The defender is not making any friends here.
73’ - Ferguson makes the change, and it’s not quite we thought. Michael Keane is on, and it’s Fabian Delph going off. Looks like Mason Holgate will step into the midfield and Keane take his spot in the backline.
Now Sigurdsson goes in the book, trips up Saka who was speeding away from him.
68’ - Good coherent Everton move ends with the ball pinging about in the Arsenal box, Davies and DCL both get blocked shots before it ricochets out for a corner.
Corner into the box, looks like it hit an Arsenal hand, but Friend is not interested and play goes on.
66’ - DCL wins a corner from a long diagonal from Holgate. Siggy to take, right height this time, but cleared.
Joe Willock comes on for Emil Smith-Rowe for Arsenal.
65’ - Neither side really getting that last ball in the final third right. There’s an expectant buzz going around Goodison, what happens next?
59’ - Arsenal play their way out of the press from the back and it ends up as a cross into the Everton box that Hogate clears.
56’ - Saka sticks his boot in DCL’s face, foul.. but is it more? He was already booked in the first half, and Friend lets it go.
Blues race upfield 3-on-3, but Tosun’s ball to find Davies is poor and the chance is wasted.
54’ - Digne long throw comes out to Sigurdsson and his shot from outside the box is blocked, corner.
He takes it himself, and it’s poor, allows Arsenal to break. Sidibe clears it for a throw. Corners have been awful for the Blues today.
53’ - The Gunners beginning to assert themselves, Aubameyang with the ball and shoots from the top of the box, but the ball dribbles straight to Pickford.
50’ - Reiss Nelson wins a corner on the Everton left but it’s hoofed clear.
Aubameyang and Saka combine on the left now and the youngster is racing clear but Mina slides in.
The resulting corner goes past Digne and Auba has a shot on goal from a narrow angle but Pickford bats it away, wow. Arsenal the better side in the second half so far.
47’ - Digne pushes up and finds Richarlison in the box on the left, and he fires with his left foot but it flashes across the goal and can’t find the far post.
45’ - Back underway. Delph with a sliding challenge clears the danger as Arsenal attack, and the Gunners are up in arms about it though he played the ball.
Granit Xhaka ynks Davies back when hes on the break but Friend doesn’t book him.
Halftime Thoughts - Finally a game where Everton have more possession, though they haven’t necessarily known what to do with the ball when they have had it. The 0-0 scoreline is probably right, though the Blues have created the better chances without really challenging the visitors’ goal.
HT #PremierLeague#EFC 0 (0.32 xG)#AFC 0 (0.08 xG)— Infogol (@InfogolApp) December 21, 2019
Not much to talk about in this game so far. Arsenal had to wait until the 44th min to have their first shot. Let’s hope for better in the second half #EVEARS pic.twitter.com/8KXWyVpGqx
45+2’ - Arsenal win a throw deep down Everton’s left, cross into the box and Pickford gathers. There’s the halftime whistle.
44’ - Everton have a good three-four minute sequence of possession that ends with Davies free in the Arsenal box, and his centre to Tosun is awkward and the striker hoofs it well over.
Davies is getting booked for a foul in the middle, play goes on and Martinelli gets a shot off from the left, but its wide and Pickford looked to have the frame covered. Two minutes added on.
40’ - Richarison makes a run down the left and gets to the byline, his cross is low and cut out by Leno though.
The press works and Sidibe gets the ball running down the right, but his delivery fails him this time and his cross goes out.
36’ - Everton’s formation is a 4-4-2 without the ball, two banks of four. The middle bank is the most interesting, Davies on the right, Delph then Sigurdsson, and Richarlison on the left.
With the ball, looks more like a 4-3-3 with Richarlison stepping up on the left. The fullbacks have not been very involved coming high up the pitch, and that might be out of respect for the speed of Arsenal’s counter.
29’ - Digne’s long throw causes some chaos in the box again, Richarlison claims he’s being held back and Mina fires off a shot that ricochets around.
28’ - Tosun falling back to defend gives away a freekick just outside the box on the Everton left. Whizzed into the box and punched away by Jordan Pickford, and Delph (!) sets off on a counter attack!
Leno rushes out to clear and clears for a throw, and then Saka kicks it away to prevent the quick throw-in, and goes into the book.
23’ - That’s three fouls already from David Luiz, referee Kevin Friend still keeping the cards in his pocket. Sigurdsson with a long high freekick into the box from the right of the middle third, also cleared away.
21’ - Richarlison very involved for the Blues, which is always a good sign. A throw-in from the left goes into the box but no one can settle the ball and it’s cleared.
The young Gunners are quick and beating Everton to loose balls more often than not.
18’ - Richarlison brought down by David Luiz just outside the box on the left now. Perfect area for Sigurdsson, angle favours him.. oh! Looked like it went in, but it goes into the side netting with Leno flying across.
17’ - Everton freekick on the left, delayed for a couple of minutes as Martinelli gets medical attention. Eventually taken and falls to Richarlison, he takes too long to shoot and it’s blocked.
12’ - A minute after coming on Tosun gets the ball just outside the box and fires off a shot, high and wide. Involved early.
10’ - Iwobi is labouring, feeling his hamstring, and sitting down now. Cenk Tosun is warming up now, so we’re going back to the 4-4-2 then?
9’ - DCL wins another corner on the right, and it’s low again from Digne. Poor that, because the sun is right in Leno’s eyes and the Blues need to take advantage of that.
5’ - Sidibe giveaway from a promising attacking move allows Martinelli to break, but it’s eventually snuffed out, somewhat.
3’ - The Blues have a corner down the right, Digne takes but it’s too low and cleared easily.
1’ - We’re underway at Goodison and there’z a buzz throughout the stadium with Ancelotti in the directors’ box with Marcel Brands, Farhad Moshiri and Bill Kenwright.
While we were waiting for lineups to be announced, Everton sprung the news that Carlo Ancelotti has been confirmed as the next permanent manager. More details here -
The lineups got announced minutes after that, with four changes for the Blues and the return of the 4-2-3-1. Lucas Digne and Djibril Sidibé return to the back line, Fabian Delph and Gylfi Sigurdsson too. Mason Holgate goes back to partnering Yerry Mina.
Both Everton and Arsenal are underperforming expectations this season, but while Duncan Ferguson has stepped in and managed to energize the Blues in his interim tenure, the Gunners have not been able to reciprocate that for Freddie Ljungberg.
With the announcement yesterday that former Everton and Arsenal midfielder Mikel Arteta is the new permanent manager at the helm, the Blues will be hoping that the ‘new manager bounce’ doesn’t quite kick in for them today at Goodison Park.
Everton have their own new permanent manager waiting in the wings, at least at the time of writing this preview. Apparently Carlo Ancelotti has completed all the formalities and an announcement is imminent, if not before the game then some time after or even on Sunday. The Italian manager is back on Merseyside and expected to be in the stands today.
On the pitch, Ferguson’s basic 4-4-2 formation has brought energy and directness to the side which has also been ravaged by injury and illness. While he was noncommittal yesterday in his press conference, he did indicate that he was expecting a couple of players back today, so that remains to be seen.
Arsenal meanwhile are also suffering from an injury crisis of their own and Ljungberg will be delving deep into his squad for this game. The North London side have only won one in their last five games and he will be looking for a response from his players, who will also be looking to usher in the Arteta era on a high note.
Competition: Premier League Matchday 18
Date and start time: Saturday, December 21st at 4:30 a.m. PT / 7:30 a.m ET / 12:30 p.m. BST
Weather: 46°F/8°C, partly cloudy, 7% chance of precipitation, 10 mph winds
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The Blues hosted Arsenal in the middle of their late season revival last season, and outplayed the visitors in a 1-0 win at Goodison. Club captain Phil Jagielka netted the winner on the day, in what turned out to be his last goal for the Blues before he left the club.
Jagielka was a late addition to the starting lineup after Michael Keane had taken ill, but his early goal from a long throw by Lucas Digne pushed the Toffees in front and they never looked like relinquishing that lead on the day.