Fulltime Thoughts - Defensive errors doom Everton again, as they certainly created a number of chances in the attacking half. The Emirates hoodoo continues for the Blues though, and now drop out of the top half of the table.
FT #PremierLeague#AFC 3 (1.35 xG)#EFC 2 (2.13 xG)— Infogol (@InfogolApp) February 23, 2020
Arsenal create just 0.19 xG in that second half, and were hanging on towards the end. Everton did enough to deserve a point in this one #ARSEVE pic.twitter.com/ZWiogVfOhv
90+5’ - There’s the final whistle. Everton certainly had their chances in the second half, but were unable to capitalize, with Leno making a couple of critical saves.
90+4’ - DCL rises highest to another cross into the box, but Arsenal clear, and then Gomes is booked as he tries to keep Auba from breaking. One last chance coming up?
Now Kean wins the ball in the middle of the park and fires from distance trying to catch Leno off his guard, but it dribbles wide.
90+2’ - Arsenal have all eleven men in their own half, and Sidibe wins a corner off Saka. The hosts are asleep and Everton take it quickly, Sigurdsson curls it into the box and DCL rises highest, and puts it millimetres wide of the far post. Argh!
90’ - We’re going to have four-plus minutes of time added on. Ancelotti looks to be telling the fourth official to note the time ticking off the clock as Leno hobbles around. The board reflects it, five minutes added on.
89’ - Gomes with a delightful long ball to find Richarlison in on goal, Leno slides out to clear well outside his box, and just gets there before the Brazilian.
87’ - Everton try to pass it out of their own box again, and a six-man press from Arsenal wins the ball from a weak attempt to control by Sigurdsson, ball falls to Nketiah and his shot beats Pickford and comes back off the crossbar.
84’ - Everton passing well and finally get it up front, Baines’ cross is deflected by Mustafi, and inches away from a sliding Kean as Leno takes.
The Toffees are knocking on the door, but Arsenal holding firm right now.
81’ - Moise Kean is the last throw of the dice for Ancelotti, with Fabian Delph going off.
Matteo Guendouzi is Mikel Arteta’s last sub, Ozil leaves.
80’ - Arsenal playing keep ball well, but they are quite capable of the boneheaded errors which Everton will need to capitalize on.
Gomes with a delightful long ball down the left, Richarlison gets to it and his low ball into the box is met by DCL, but he can’t get enough contact and it runs wide. Nketiah opened the scoring for Arsenal from a similar ball.
78’ - A Delph shot hits Richarlison, who then turns and fires it on goal, Leno blocks and it falls kindly for the home side to clear.
76’ - Ozil beats Sidibe and centers the ball, Ceballos tries to curl it into the far corner but it’s wide. Last action for the midfielder who has been excellent today, Lucas Torreira on now.
73’ - Chance for DCL!! Saka sloppily loses the ball, Sidibe with a lovely cross that Richarlison heads right at DCL, it bounces up and he tries to nudge it past Leno and the goalie saves! Arsenal claiming offside but he was on, and that was a golden chance missed.
70’ - Everton playing some lovely press-busting football out of the back all the way to the front as Arsenal are now sitting back on their lead looking to pick off the Blues on the counter.
Sigurdsson goes in the book now for a late sliding challenge, deserved.
66’ - Richarlison almost capitalizes on an Arsenal giveaway, but his cross to the middle is cut out, falls to Sigurdsson but his shot is wide.
62’ - Sigurdsson has stayed on the left, Bernard on the right. Hopefully can pin back Saka more than Iwobi did.
Giveaway by Arsenal deep in their own half, Saka loses it to DCL and the striker curls it with his weaker left foot, straight at Leno.
58’ - Holgate steps up with a fantastic interception, and finds Richarlison with a long ball. The center is just inches away from a sliding DCL’s boot, so close.
Schneiderlin and Iwobi now go off, with Andre Gomes and Bernard coming on. Miraculous recovery for Gomes, 105 days after that horrific injury against Spurs. Positive changes from Ancelotti, the defence is going to have to hold from here on out.
52’ - Toffees seeing almost none of the ball now as Arsenal are distributing it well.
Baines gives away a corner, it’s awful but Sigurdsson now concedes a freekick on the right, but cleared well.
50’ - Arsenal are just channeling everything at Sidibe now. He wins one tackle, but is then caught well upfield again as Ozil’s through ball is collected by Pickford. Surely Ancelotti has to take him off now.
46’ - The second half is underway at the Emirates, no changes that we can see.
And almost immediately Pepe beats Baines with a cross, Sidibe has lost Aubameyang and the hosts lead again. Sidibe’s miserable day is now hitting new levels of wretchedness. 3-2 Arsenal.
AUBA SCORES— NBC Sports Soccer (@NBCSportsSoccer) February 23, 2020
He's now the joint top-scorer in the PL! pic.twitter.com/jZGJ51qASk
Halftime Thoughts - It has been a breathless first half, bookended by two Everton goals from setpieces. Meanwhile they have looked very vulnerable from the wings. The game changed with Kolasinac going off and Saka coming on, but even before that Arsenal were doing well with wide balls.
Can the second half live up to the drama of the first?!
45+4’ - Sidibe wins a corner down the right, Baines to take. Chaos in the box from the low corner, Sigurdsson’s miskick bounces high, Mina heads back at goal.. a sliding Richarlison gets his toenail to the ball with a high foot and it squirms out of Leno’s grasp into the goal! 2-2!! Out of nowhere!
45+2’ - Richarlison getting caught up in the emotion of the game here, and is booked, though he is lucky to stay on the pitch after he slides into Ceballos. Caught him with his trailing leg, not the front foot and that might have saved him.
Richarlison tackle sparks melee. Gets a yellow. Ancelotti appears to sarcastically applaud Ceballos for his reaction— Patrick Boyland (@Paddy_Boyland) February 23, 2020
44’ - Everton win a freekick down the left, Baines curls this one in and Richarlison gets under it, it goes over and wide.
40’ - Everton’s initial swagger is all but gone now, as Arsenal are moving it about beautifully and the home support are loving it.
Saka takes on Sidibe 1-on-1 and the defender finally redeems himself with a perfect sliding challenge in his own box.
35’ - More wretched defending from the Blues, with Baines, Holgate and Mina all conspiring to almost give away a goal with loose passing, but Pickford gathers and prevents disaster.
33’ - Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang makes it 2-1. Sidibe too tight to him and a lovely through ball from David Luiz penetrates the backline, and the striker easily places it past Pickford in the far corner.
BRILLIANT PASS— NBC Sports Soccer (@NBCSportsSoccer) February 23, 2020
BRILLIANT FINISH ⚽️ pic.twitter.com/4cVu9ZbGGY
31’ - Schneiderlin lazily dispossessed by Nketiah tugs him back and is booked.
29’ - More danger for the Blues. Pepe finds Ozil streaking in but Pickford comes out to foil him. Arsenal win a corner eventually but Everton break off the clearance, Richarlison’s cross is blocked.
27’ - Arsenal have tied it up. Eddie Nketiah gets his first Premier League goal, a fantastic weighted cross from Saka finds the youngster who guides it into the far corner, no chance for Pickford. Saka is a very dangerous player and the worse match-up for Sidibe than the injured Kolasinac.
ARSENAL LEVEL IT!— NBC Sports Soccer (@NBCSportsSoccer) February 23, 2020
ANOTHER assist from Bukayo Saka pic.twitter.com/Trgl5B2dev
24’ - A mix-up between Holgate and Delph allows Nketiah some space with Baines caught upfield, but the youngster’s shot is over.
The Blues are stroking it about well especially in the Arsenal half and it ends up in a shot for Iwobi, but that’s well over too.
18’ - After a lengthy hold-up in play, Sead Kolasinac goes off the pitch with what looks like a dislocated shoulder or elbow. Bukayo Saka comes on for him. He had landed hard after an aerial collision with Sidibe.
13’ - Let’s talk a bit about the formation now that we’ve had a second to catch our collective breaths. It’s a 4-4-2 that looks more like a 4-2-2-2 with two defensive midfielders in Morgan Schneiderlin and Fabian Delph. Iwobi is on the right in front of Djibril Sidibe while Sigurdsson is on the left ahead of captain Leighton Baines - that’s a sensible choice considering the threat of Nicolas Pepe.
9’ - Blues work a quick break with Sigurdsson and Richarlison, Alex Iwobi gets a shot from the right corner of the box and it’s just wide of the angle with Leno beaten.
6’ - Two quick corners for the hosts, but both dealt with well by the Blues. Arsenal getting plenty of joy early down the wings.
4’ - Pepe draws two players towards him, leaving Hector Bellerin open for a shot from outside the box, but it’s ballooned over.
2’ - GOAL!! Everton ahead already! Gylfi Sigurdsson swings in a freekick into the box, the Arsenal defenders at sixes and sevens, and Dominic Calvert-Lewin pounces with a scissor kick!
Dominic Calvert-Lewin— NBC Sports Soccer (@NBCSportsSoccer) February 23, 2020
WHAT A GOAL! pic.twitter.com/EkQJZK8e0v
1’ - And we’re off at the Emirates, Blues looking to end their run of futility.
Per the Echo, Lucas Digne has not traveled to London and is out for today's game.
The Athletic are confirming this too.
Lucas Digne out for #EFC this afternoon through injury. Not serious and expected to return against Manchester United— Patrick Boyland (@Paddy_Boyland) February 23, 2020
Carlo Ancelotti’s first Everton game, albeit from the stands at Goodison Park, was against today’s opponents Arsenal. Similarly for former Blue Mikel Arteta, who had just been appointed manager of the Gunners. Since then though the Italian manager has taken advantage of a cupcake schedule leading the Blues to six wins, two draws and a solitary loss against Manchester City while Arteta has failed to replicate the same level of success at the Emirates.
Everton went into the winter break in decent form, and the time off will have helped the players get a break while Ancelotti has had some more time to coach up his squad with a difficult four-game stretch beckoning.
The strong run has allowed the Blues back into the thick of the chase for the European spots with a number of teams jostling for position in the top half of the table. Andre Gomes has returned to the first team squad and will likely relieve the selection woes Ancelotti has had in the middle of the park. No such luck for Jean-Philippe Gbamin, who is now unlikely to feature again this season after his latest setback.
Arsenal meanwhile had a good win on Thursday away to Olympiakos in the Europa League, holding a 1-0 lead to take back home for this Thursday’s return leg. Arteta might be tempted to rest a few players for that crucial game, but giving up points to a team that will likely challenge them for a European spot in the league won’t bode well should they fail to lift the Europa League trophy in the final in Gdańsk in just over three months time.
Oh, add to that mix that the Toffees have never won at the Emirates Stadium, and last won away at the Gunners in 1996. Talk about sheer futility.
Competition: Premier League Matchday 27
Date and start time: Sunday, February 23rd at 8:30 a.m. PT / 11:30 a.m ET / 4:30 p.m. BST
Stadium: Emirates Stadium, London, England, United Kingdom
Weather: 52°F/11°C, mostly cloudy, 4% chance of precipitation, 13 mph winds
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Starting XI - Pickford, Sidibe, Holgate, Mina, Baines, Delph, Schneiderlin, Sigurdsson, Iwobi, Richarlison, Calvert-Lewin.
Subs - Stekelenburg, Keane, Coleman, Gomes, Davies, Bernard, Kean.
Starting XI - Leno, Bellerin, Mustafi, Luiz, Kolasinac, Xhaka, Ceballos, Ozil, Pepe, Aubameyang, Nketiah.
Subs - Martinez, Sokratis, Guendouzi, Torreira, Nelson, Saka, Lacazette.
The Blues and their visitors battled to a dour 0-0 draw at Goodison Park two months ago, with neither side able to capitalize with a goal.
The Emirates Stadium remains the ultimate house of horrors for the Toffees, and the last time they visited was in September 2018. Despite a good start that saw Petr Cech foiling Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison and Theo Walcott, it was the hosts that won 2-0 thanks to goals from Alexandre Lacazette and a blatantly offside second by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.