Everton got back to Premier League business with a visit from former Everton hero Mikel Arteta and his Arsenal team. Getting a result from this match has been trouble for Arteta as he is yet to win at Goodison Park with Arsenal’s only victory in their past seven visits coming in October 2017.
In the buildup to the match, Sean Dyche said:
“We’re happy to be back here at Goodison Park with the first international break of the season complete and the transfer window closed. We now have a three-week window, which includes five games before the next domestic break, where we can work with clarity and focus on converting strong performances into points on the board.”
Everton forward Dominic Calvert-Lewin was available to face Arsenal after recovering from a facial injury but was on the bench to start. Jarrad Branthwaite, Lewis Dobbin and James Tarkowski had all overcome minor issues but Jack Harrison didn’t feature as he continues to build his fitness following a groin problem.
Arsenal had 16 players away on international duty and had them all return unscathed. Only Thomas Partey was unavailable for the Gunners. David Raya was in net and Gabriel Jesus who has scored 8 goals in 9 games against Everton started the match on the bench.
The game started with Arsenal on the front foot and Everton playing deeper than required. As a result, possession was heavily in Arsenal’s favour but the chances were limited. Everton did start to apply more pressure with a higher press which created some turnovers.
A mixup in the buildup allowed Gabriel Martinelli to slot the ball into the back of Pickford’s net. Onana said that it was offside and VAR confirmed that fact. Goodison Park had been quiet but it then came to life. Moments later it was Martinelli who was forced off injured.
Everton started to get more of the ball and an Abdoulaye Dourcoure run had the fans calling for a penalty but it was not given. Gueye’s followup shot was the first on the net for either team but was easily handled by Raya.
Simon Hooper’s whistle ended the first half with little fanfare. Everton were hard to break down but had few chances at the other end to give Arsenal any troubles. More was needed in the second half.
The Arsenal started the second half with much more pace and it was only a very good save from Pickford that denied Martin Ødegaard. Arsenal continued to put the pressure on but the Everton defenders were standing firm.
Both teams saw the need to score. Everton made their first change with Beto being replaced by the masked man Calvert-Lewin and Gabriel Jesus coming on for Eddie Nketiah. Moments later, a shot from Danjuma narrowly sailed over the bar.
The resistance was broken with a lovely piece of passing which ended up in the path of Leandro Trossard who guided it into the net. Silky 1, stubborn 0. The inevitability of the goal was not surprising but the lack of any forward play was frustrating.
James Garner was brought on in place of Doucoure for the last ten minutes. The game continued with little moments of quality but the introduction of Chemiti and Patterson might be a look to our future. A nice move by DCL ended when he could not get the ball to Chemiti. Sean Dyche raised his arm in frustration as only 4 minutes were added to the match. Arsenal kept the ball and Everton had few chances to snatch a late point.
Everton Man of the Match: Jarrad Branthwaite - a solid partnership is developing and the young defender made very few errors and made lots of good decisions.
The Everton backline played very well together today and were beaten by Arsenal’s attacking quality. Tarkowski and Branthwaite were on the same page which builds confidence for the rest of the players. The discipline and shape should be commended and even Danjuma was doing his bit to keep things tight. Vitaliy Mykolenko was brought back into the fold today and it certainly must have been in Dyche’s mind how well the Ukrainian had marshalled Bukayo Saka in their international match last week. Mykolenko marshalled Saka in this match and did not give him any chances to get to the byline.
It was a home debut for Beto and he had been saying and doing all the right things to build support from Evertonians. The deeper Everton played today, the more difficult it was for the striker to get involved in the game. His holdup play was suspect at the start of the match and it took until the 28th minute for him to have a touch in the Arsenal box. His work needs to be measured when he is given some service.
On Saturday, Anthony Gordon was given a penalty when the goalkeeper tries to get out of the way but contact was visible and Gordon went down. Today, Doucoure went into the box and the Arsenal defender pulled his leg back and contact was made which brought down the Everton player. Why was there no penalty? Consistency, please. VAR was involved yesterday, how could VAR not be consistent. Will look forward to hearing Howard Webb’s comments on this call later this week.
Everton entered this phase of the season with five games in the next three weeks. Brentford away will be a tricky one and then two massive home matches against Luton and Bournemouth. We cannot play so defensively in those matches. Up to this game we were in the top five for chances created and today we had an xG of 0.2. Today we were at home and only had 21% of possession. Were we playing a top side? Yes, but we cannot be so anemic moving forward.