Fulltime Thoughts - What a great start to the Sean Dyche era. This wasn’t a complete ‘park the bus for 90 minutes’ affair that we were worried about, but would have taken if that’s what was needed to survive the drop. Instead, Dyche is showing that he can get the best out of some underperforming individuals in the squad he has, and that could be enough too.
90+7’ - David Coote gives Arsenal nothing and boy will they be aggrieved, final whistle and Everton win! Sean Dyche begins his tenure with a huge win against the league leaders!
90+6’ - Maupay is fouled, and now how much time will the ref add here?
90+5’ - More shithousery from Maupay, Arsenal simply hate him, and there’s some history there too going back to when Leno still played for them.
Maupay and Zinchenko both going at it and both booked, VAR reviews again but nothing they want to intervene about.
90+4’ - Everton can pass their way out of pressure and Gueye is fouled, he goes down to let the clock keep running.
90+2’ - Gunners corner with Saka to take, sent out of the box for a training ground routine shot for Zinchenko, but the Blues are closing him down at pace and he blasts over.
90’ - Onana makes a lung-bursting run down the left, loses the ball, wins it back and wins a throw-in deep in the Arsenal half! Man of the Match for me.
Six-plus minutes to be added on.
88’ - Pickford booked for timewasting as the Blues are looking to halt play at every opportunity. The fans are getting in the act too, holding the ball back to the fury of Zinchenko.
83’ - Everton corner. McNeil and Tarkowski with good defensive actions to hold the ball in the Arsenal half and the clock ticks on.
81’ - Saka looks to have fouled McNeil but play goes on, and it’s a shooting chance for Trossard, but he puts it wide.
77’ - Fabio Vieira replaces Odegaard, but no more changes for the Blues.
Save for Pickford off Trossard, ball back into the box but the Blues clear. Now Everton counter but an offside ends that. Tons of pressure from Arsenal.
74’ - Poor giveaway from Coady straight to Odegaard, but Pickford cuts out the cross.
Blues go down the other end and win a corner. Ping pong in the box with no Blue shirt making solid contact before there’s an offside.
67’ - Big stop for Coady there, tackles Odegaard as he weaves his way into the box, but then gives the ball right away.
Onana booked for going in hard on Xhaka, that was deserved too, brought his other foot across the man.
66’ - Drama in the box. The Blues are trying to clear their lines through Gueye, and Nketiah goes over Maupay who was shielding the ball. Arsenal want a penalty and there is a VAR review that rules in favour of the home side.
64’ - Dyche took Calvert-Lewin off immediately after the goal, did he tweak something? Neal Maupay is on.
Arsenal win a corner that the Blues can clear.
62’ - Myko gets a card for stopping a Saka counter, that was expected.
60’ - Now Iwobi wins a corner on the right. McNeil puts it deep, straight to Tarkowski who arrows his header across Ramsdale into the GOAL!!!!! The Blues lead 1-0!
58’ - Poor turnover from Iwobi in the middle ends a sustained spell of possession, and Nketiah does very well to fashion a chance for Odegaard who sails the ball over. Blues starting to look tired and Arteta throws on Jorginho and Trossard for Partey and Martinelli.
55’ - More Arsenal pressure and the Blues are having a difficult time adjusting to how quickly they are moving the ball.
54’ - Gunners win their first corner of the game with Myko blocking a Saka cross. Taken short, two shots into the box and both cleared.
52’ - Everton can clear their lines as Odegaard stamps on Onana. Arsenal definitely in the ascendancy here.
50’ - McNeil with the mistake and is lucky not to get punished. He dallied on the ball in his own box and looks like he concedes a corner under pressure, but ref David Coote says goalkick.
47 - Chance! Everton pushing down the right and an Iwobi cross is met by Doucoure, whose control lets him down. The ball eventually comes to Gueye to shoot, but DCL was offside in the build-up.
46’ - Underway again at Goodison.
Halftime Thoughts - Encouraging start to the Dyche era in that first half. The Blues defended well, stayed disciplined blocking passing lanes, and created chances in the other half too.
HT: Everton (1.47) 0-0 (0.36) Arsenal— The xG Philosophy (@xGPhilosophy) February 4, 2023
45+3’ - Another chance right before the break! A counter ends with a cross into the box, DCL’s flicked header across the face of the goal and just wide, ooh.
There’s the halftime whistle, 0-0 at the break, with the Toffees having the better of the chances.
45+2’ - Poor bouncing backpass from Coleman puts Pickford under pressure, but Nketiah gets contact on him and it’s a foul on a whiffed clearance.
45’ - There will be three-plus minutes added on, extended delays due to injuries to Onana and Saka.
42’ - Now Martinelli goes down after Gana gets a hand to the side of his face. Arsenal freekick on the right sideline. Xhaka tries a flick-on on the low kick and it’s over.
The Blues looks satisfied to let them have the ball and see out the half.
39’ - Saka with an excellent low volley to the far post cleared away by Coady.
34’ - CHANCE!! A great run from Onana down the left and he’s in space, cuts in and his low cross through the box gets only the slightest of touches on the ball from DCL and the chance is missed. That was the length of Calvert-Lewin’s studs away from a goal!
Another chance! Doucoure free in the box and cannot direct his header on goal!
33’ - Everton freekick in the middle. Lofted ball into the box but Ramsdale can come and claim it from DCL’s head.
30’ - Saka gets the better of Mykolenko and Nketiah has a chance after worming away from Tarky, but his shot is wayward from a narrow angle, Gunners’ best chance so far.
25’ - DCL snapshot from the right, straight at Ramsdale. Goalie with a poor clearance and Onana tries to loft it back into the goal, but the execution wasn’t there.
Now Iwobi finds McNeil in space, his cross into the box is behind Iwobi who can’t get enough of a header on it. Very encouraging this.
23’ - McNeil cross cut out, another corner! To the close post this time and DCL gets his head to it, but angle is too tight.
20’ - Iwobi in space on the right and can swing in a cross, and the Blues have the first corner of the game. McNeil to take it with Gray not on the pitch, Onana gets to the deep ball and wins another corner. Iwobi will take from this side, so Dyche is all about the inswingers from both sides. Deep, Tarkowski’s header deflected into the side netting, another corner! This one won by Onana and in the air in the box before Arsenal clear. Good pressure that.
18’ - Saka up and about again after catching an inadvertent Gueye hand in the face.
Looks like we have had a wide player switch, with McNeil and Iwobi swapping wings.
13’ - Arsenal have had a couple of potshots from distance, but they come to nothing.
10’ - Onana up and about gingerly again after a clash of heads.
8’ - The Blues are in a 4-5-1 without possession.
An airplane towing a banner saying “League’s Worst-Run Club; #Time2GoBill” just flies over Goodison.
5’ - Iwobi has gone to the left side of midfield. Encouraging that Dyche has immediately recognized where his stronger side is.
3’ - Calvert-Lewin runs onto a lovely ball in the box, but his first touch pushes him out wide and the chance is lost.
1’ - Underway at Goodison Park!
⚪️— Arsenal (@Arsenal) February 4, 2023
Saliba at the back
Odegaard in midfield
Martinelli on the wing
Let’s do this - together! ✊ pic.twitter.com/ATV1rmMVjt
Everton host Arsenal in Sean Dyche’s first game in charge of the Blues, and he couldn’t have had a more difficult task to start his tenure. The league leaders are in resplendent form, sweeping teams aside though they were just eliminated from the FA Cup by the other team that usually sits atop the table at this time of the season, Manchester City.
With no new signings (!!) in the January transfer window, Dyche is going to have to function a working hand from the same deck of cards that Frank Lampard was working with, minus Anthony Gordon which could yet work out to be addition by subtraction. Is he going to go with a 4-4-2? Or Lampard’s 3-5-2 makes another appearance? We’re just going to have to see.
Meanwhile, the Gunners are simply cruising under former Everton midfielder Mikel Arteta who has overcome some ups and down from earlier in his tenure to get here. On paper they have more talent at just about every position on the pitch to walk away from Goodison Park with another three points to keep them on pace to hit the century mark.
However, Dyche has been working towards uniting the fanbase again and if he can drill the players enough during the week along with a large helping of good fortune (aka new manager bounce), anything can happen.
Competition: Premier League 21
Date and start time: Saturday, February 3rd at 4:30 a.m. PT / 7:30 a.m ET / 12:30 p.m. BST
Weather: 49°F/9°C, cloudy, 19% chance of precipitation, 10 mph winds
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The Blues have a surprisingly good record at home against the Gunners, and are unbeaten in their last four against them including three wins. Goals from Richarlison and a stunning late winner from Demarai Gray settled it 2-1 in favour of the Blues. The last time the two teams played though the score was 5-1 at the Emirates with the Toffees still riding the sense of relief from having secured Premier League survival a few days before that.