Final Thoughts - Everton’s midfield situation looking pretty bleak at the end there with no one to hold the ball and relieve the pressure. Referee Andre Marriner adding two minutes there shortened my life by two minutes for sure. The Blues once again gave up chances, but also had Lady Luck on their side today. We’ll take the points, any which way they come.
90+6’ - HAIR-RAISING! Arsenal cross across the box and no one to touch it! Then another low cross and Pickford does very well to parry away another one. Still no whistle!
There it is finally!! Everton win their third on the trot!
90+4’ - Kenny and Coleman are in the wingback roles, Tosun the lone man up top.
90+1’ - Godfrey intercepts a pass and is brought down by Willock who will be booked.
Double sub now, with Jonjoe Kenny and Cenk Tosun coming on for Richarlison and Calvert-Lewin. DCL booked for some time-wasting too before he leaves.
90’ - Misplaced pass allows the Blues to win a corner on the left, none of the big defenders have gone upfront. Everton take it short and hold it in the corner before they lose it.
Five minutes to be added on.
88’ - Toffees crying out for midfield help here. Arsenal are knocking on the door.
Richarlison wins the ball just oustide the box and is kicked by Saka, the Brazilian wins a freekick and the clock ticks on.
85’ - Coleman has stayed in Iwobi’s RWB/RM spot, not disrupting the back four.
Arsenal are just lining up to shoot now, Saka cuts in and fires.. blocked by Keane! Another dominant game from him.
Cross in from the left and Willock rises highest as Mina slips, header just wide. Whew.
82’ - Sig again, from the other side. The clock is ticking along as Holgate is now getting scolded for getting in Leno’s space. Perfect corner, Hogate gets his head on it but well over.
Here comes Seamus Coleman! Welcome back captain! Iwobi is the man giving way, after a strong showing for him.
79’ - Willock gets loose past Godfrey, his cross for Martinelli in the middle is wild though and the danger passes. Everton living dangerously for sure.
DCL finds Richy with a great pass, but Maitland-Niles does well to cut it out for a corner.
Sig’s inswinger.. cleared.. falls for Iwobi outside the box and his half-volley is on target, blocked and goes wide! Had that deflected less, Leno’s left was wide open.
77’ - Double foul on Doucoure and DCL in the midfield. Sig lofts one deep and Keane almost gets his head to it, completely unmarked.
75’ - Everton are again happily ceding possession, letting the visitors pass it around. It’s not pretty I’ll say, and for the more nervous among us, very nerve-wracking.
Arsenal’s last sub is Alexandre Lacazette coming on for Nketiah. Nothing from the Toffees’ bench as yet.
70’ - Arteta is throwing the youngsters on. Joe Willock is already on and now Gabby Martinelli is coming on too. Ancelotti could use some fresh legs too.
64’ - DCL header plays Richy through, Maitland-Niles boxes him wide and he cuts it back for the waiting Iwobi but Tierney clears. Good chance.
Now Holgate is pushing up too. Looks like Ancelotti’s instructions to the captain Sigurdsson was for the Blues to attack some more.
62’ - Godfrey with a lung-busting run down the left and a great cross in, just evades DCL and collected on the other side by Iwobi. Everton try to play it back into the box and eventually cleared.
59’ - Gunners win a freekick deep on the Everton left now, Saka takes it directly and it’s over. Everton really need to get their collective feet back on the ball, and head back in the game, this is nowhere nearly over.
57’ - Arsenal now turning the screws as Everton are sitting further and further back, giving them all the space.
53’ - The Blues are letting Arsenal have the ball which can be dangerous. Now the visitors win a corner that they take short. Cross goes into the box, PIckford drops it!! Luiz pounces on the rebound and it comes off the post and the Blues can clear. Bad Pickford is back.
Good Pickford and Bad Pickford all in one sequence. Comes out to gather, overpowered in the air, parries it poorly, reacts superbly to get foot on the shot. This, unfortunately is what we’ve signed up for with him.
48’ - Everton with two quick breaks - one stopped by the offside flag after DCL holds up the ball well, then a poor cross from Richarlison falls between blue shirts.
Halftime Thoughts - A game that is there for the taking, and Everton scored at the best possible time, taking control again after relinquishing it for a brief spell that allowed Arsenal to equalize.
Considering the penalty is an xG of 0,8, Arsenal have created precious little.
45’ - An overlapping Holgate cuts it back to DCL outside the box, he goes for the top corner with his left foot, and Leno parried it away for a corner.
Sig takes an inswinger.. GOAL!! Yerry Mina was closest and drove his header home despite Leno getting a hand to it. Blues lead 2-1 at the break.
44’ - The last time the two sides played at Goodison there was a feeling this match was there for the taking as it ended 0-0, and I get that distinct feeling once again.
42’ - Ceballos has taken a nasty dig at Mina, but referee Andre Marriner is happy to let things work themselves out.
40’ - DCL with a driving run and is clattered by Tierney just outside the box before he can shoot. Foul and a yellow card.
Neither James Rodriguez nor Lucas Digne on the pitch, Sigurdsson will take, just to Leno’s left. Terrible freekick, no height and comes back off the wall, and his despairing volley in return is well wide.
34’ - Davies gives away a penalty, beaten to the ball by Maitland-Niles, much like the one Gomes gave away against Newcastle. Damn.
Nicholas Pepe to take.. sends Pickford the wrong way, 1-1.
PEPE KEEPS HIS COOL— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) December 19, 2020
Tom Davis hands the Gunners a great chance from the spot and Nicolas Pepe makes no mistake!
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30’ - Carlo with those minute adjustments again that make all the difference. Everton are definitely playing in a 4-4-2 today to get more bodies in the middle. the four of Richarlison - Davies - Doucoure - Iwobi are doing very well to foil Arsenal’s midfield.
28’ - Arsenal have picked up their game since the goal, winning two corners. Mina did well to get goalside of Saka to concede one, while Godfrey was spot on with a sliding challenge to take the ball off Ceballos’ foot for the other.
26’ - Kieran Tierney sets up Eddy Nketiah with a chance on the left and he shoots wide. That was a chance for the visitors.
22’ - GOAL! Iwobi does well to get free on the right, his cross into the box is headed by DCL and takes a deflection off Rob Holding and into the goal! Lady Luck is at the Grand Old Lady tonight! Everton lead 1-0.
EVERTON LEAD ⚽️— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) December 19, 2020
Alex Iwobi's cross is flicked on by Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Arsenal's stand-in captain Rob Holding puts it into his own net!
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18’ - Can’t blame Ancelotti for sticking with his four-centrehalves backline. They have showed very good discipline in their last two games and are maintaining that today too.
15’ - SHOT!! Michael Keane drives the ball forward and then from about 35 yards out lets fly with a swinging cannon! Bernd Leno makes a despairing dive as the ball goes just wide! Wow.
14’ - Sigurdsson nips the ball away from El-Neny who then goes sliding into him, clattering the Icelander. The ref plays a meaningless advantage as the Blues retain possession and Sig gets up, hobbling.
10’ - Looking more like a 4-4-2 with Gylfi Sigurdsson actually up top with Dominic Calvert-Lewin (playing his 150th Everton game), RIcharlison and Alex Iwobi out wide.
7’ - Abdoulaye Docuoure showing some nifty footwork to get the ball out of the Blues half, and cyling the ball well with Davies.
5’ - 4-2-3-1 for the Blues, against the visitors in a 3-4-3. Everton quite comfortable passing the ball around early, think we will control the bulk of the possession today.
1’ - We’re off at Goodison!
Lineups - Carlo Ancelotti has picked Tom Davies as the man to replace Allan in the starting XI. Andre Gomes not even in the squad, did he pick up an injury against Leicester? For the Gunners, captain Pierre-Emrick Aubameyang is out, apparently with a tight calf - he has four in four games against the Blues, so that will be a relief.
Just when Evertonians were resigning themselves to yet another festive season of midtable melees, Carlo Ancelotti’s side decided to stiffen up and pick up two consecutive clean sheets and wins. Now had that happened against Leeds United and Burnley that would have made sense, but this surprising Everton side dispatched Chelsea and Leicester City instead and are now in fifth place in the table.
The visitors today are Arsenal, who despite a star-studded roster and highly-regarded first-time manager in former Blue Mikel Arteta, are wallowing in the lower reaches of the table. The Gunners’ issues are myriad, with inconsistent performances, poor discipline and a general lack of direction ailing Arteta’s first full season in charge.
Competition: Premier League Matchday 14
Date and start time: Saturday, December 19th at 9:30 a.m. PT / 12:30 p.m ET / 5:30 p.m. BST
Capacity: 39,572 [2,000 for COVID regulations]
Weather: 49°F/9°C, cloudy, 24% chance of precipitation, 13 mph winds
How to Watch/Listen
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Gamethread: Live blog above starting one hour before game time
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Pickford, Holgate, Keane, Mina, Godrey, Iwobi, Doucoure, Davies, Sigurdsson, Richarlison, Calvert-Lewin
Subs: Olsen, Lossl, Kenny, Tosun, Nkounkou, Bernard, Coleman, Gordon, Branthwaite
Leno; Holding, David Luiz, Tierney; Maitland-Niles, Ceballos, Elneny, Saka; Pepe, Nketiah, Willian
Subs: Runarsson, Bellerin, Cedric, Mustafi, Kolasinac, Willock, Smith-Rowe, Martinelli, Lacazette
A year ago, just days before Christmas, and before both Arsenal and Everton appointed new long-term managers, their interim bosses faced off at Goodison. Freddy Ljungberg’s Gunners took on Duncan Ferguson’s Toffees, and played out a dour 0-0 draw with both Ancelotti and Arteta watching from the stands.
The return leg of the fixture at the Emirates was in late February just before the COVID pandemic shut everything down. The Blues tried to match Arsenal’s attacking style, and lost 3-2 in an error-strewn performance when they could have just as easily won the game.