Arsenal Wilt In Everton Cauldron.

As this match approached it was hard not to feel like an American meteorologist watching a hurricane gaining force out in the Atlantic. 

First, it became clear that Lampard was out the door, which would boost any football team on the planet. Soon, Dyche emerged as the only sensible option. Landfall for this perfect storm was an early Saturday fixture at Goodison Park, where we haven’t won for 5+ years. 

If you want a defining moment for the game, how about this:

In the 19th minute, after an uneventful opening, Saliba received the ball from Zinchenko and had to deal with a bit of attention from Onana. Everton’s No. 8 was the only blue shirt within 30 yards of Saliba, but he felt harried enough to clear the ball into touch. Onana pumped his fist, and the crowd roared. 

This action brought on a five-minute air raid, with a long sequence of corners and crosses that forced us to defend for the first time in the game. More importantly, it got the home crowd going, and the collective drive eventually led to a spell of good chances for Everton. 

We’ve seen that in most circumstances, Saliba has the ability to drop a shoulder and make an attacker look silly. Saturday’s match was not “most circumstances”. This was no ordinary new manager bounce we were facing. 

Going out was one of the worst coaches in organized football, and with him all the accompanying tactical confusion and low confidence. 

Coming in was one of the game’s all-time simplifiers, with a style and gameplan that can be assimilated in just one training session, let alone a whole week. 

Compounding that you’ve got a crowd so starved of quality that even the most run-of-the-mill stuff would send them into raptures. Such low standards, matched with the usual indignation and rancour made Goodison Park the perfect launchpad for them and trap for us. 

Checking the record Everton’s new managers get off to winning starts, especially if they arrive mid-season. Yes, even Frank Lampard pulled it off.  

To manage these circumstances, I think there’s a certain number of little actions that you have to perform under moments of pressure. 

Come out with possession enough times, and you reach a critical mass and your opponent’s tail will go down. That tenacity is the foundation for Dyche’s football. It’s the force that squeezes the gap between their lines to the width of a pane of double glazed glass. And on Saturday there was a massive reserve of it because of the freshness of the occasion.

Had Saliba dummied Onana, would the result have been different? Probably not, but that moment felt indicative and it stoked the flames. 

Throughout the 90 minutes we made interesting incursions into their half. We wrung some decent chances from their resurgent defence, notably with a Saka volley and an Nketiah slice in the first half. We could have created quite a few more, with a bit more lucidity. 

There were about half a dozen moves from back to front that will show up on a YouTube compilation showcasing our slick football, but they’ll leave out the miscommunications, overhit passes and iffy control that killed them, and for which Everton’s back ten deserve some praise. 

Looking back, it’s hard to single out a single player who disgraced himself. Maybe Ben White’s passing was a bit loose, and he gave up possession for Everton’s best chance in the first half.

For their goal, we ran out of tall players to mark their many big men, resulting in the mismatch of Odegaard vs Tarkowski. There’s not much you can say about a set piece goal like that. It was a deep cross, and Tarkowski muscled out our captain to get his run at the back post. 

On that subject it’s difficult to assess a performance against a Dyche team. Their goals come from split-second instances rather than passages of play. You can be probing, feel like you’re gaining the upper hand, then concede a set piece and suddenly be losing.  

The final 25 minutes yielded more promising moments, especially as Everton’s two banks looked a little less ordered. 

A sweeping passing sparked panic on the edge of the area, and Maupay’s attempt to shepherd Gabriel off the ball was clumsy. It should have been a penalty, and surely would have been a penalty at the other end. 

That was followed by several more flowing moves over the next 15 minutes, with no response from Everton who were puffing at this point. Trossard struck the ball straight at Pickford, A Saka shot was rushed by more committed defending, Trossard curled over after floating into ample space, and a Vieira cutback was just about dealt with.

Any hope of a final flourish was extinguished by a litany of fouls, two hopeful long-shots by Zinchenko and a scuffle instigated by the ever irritating Maupay.

The uniting theme, true at numerous points throughout the match, was a lack of composure, from Saliba’s rushed clearance to Zinchenko’s fight with Maupay when we had more important things to be doing. Let’s hope we can rediscover it against another boisterous team next week.


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63 comments on “Arsenal Wilt In Everton Cauldron.

  1. Ian describing me as knowledgeable is one of the dumbest things you have written!

    Calling a spade a spade does not require knowledge even the donkeys in Italy know that Juve are so bogus that even the divine ponytail** had no choice but to tell them to “fark orf”* in his best Arry Redknapp impersonation.


  2. I think you’re being a bit hard on yourself but mentioning old Harry when all this corruption is going on is very apt.
    Harry apart being such a cunt he avoided paying taxes that would have paid for his east end council house and the NHS that operated on him when he went through the car window.


  3. Reiss Nelson and Emile Smith-Rowe were in full training today so one or both might be in the subs tomorrow v Brentford

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I do hope they will both feature soon. I feel they both have it within them to be special players, but coming back from injury is never easy

    Liked by 1 person

  5. We all know that merson is on the telly because of his comedic value rather than his football knowledge but when he says this is our most important game of the season you can see roughly where he is coming from.
    A loss here and Mikel is staring down the barrel of yet another hat trick of defeats but win and we go into a massive game at least on the up.
    We obviously need to match them physically but Brentford are a team that is their best quality and so we are going to need to play football to come out with the right result.
    Back to the fun fast flowing football and we will be OK COYG.


  6. Has everyone slit their wrists then?


  7. Not yet. I’ll wait ‘till Jigsol makes an appearance.


  8. Oh dear,
    lucky to go in at half time 0-0, fought hard to go one up and then very slack to concede straight away.
    Although there was a lack of concentration the goal itself suggested two players offside in both phase one and two of the build up.
    Generally we again stood there with the ball at our feet looking and slowly deciding what would be the best ball to play and allowing Brentford to get set in the defensive block they had trained so hard to get right.
    Well as black February continues we now need at least a draw against city to keep the morale of staying at the top of the league.
    On the plus side city won’t play with a ten man defense that we’ve been struggling against recently.


  9. To be honest George, I think everyone is waiting for Birdkamp’s review and it gives a bit of cooling off time so your comments can be more rational than emotional.
    To be honest no matter how much your logic tells you we probably wouldn’t win the league when you’re top results like this really fuck you off so much more than when we were eighth.


  10. halfway through the weekend games that impact the top 4 race, Arsenal have gained one point on City and utd who are yet to play, so that could at worse be two point loss, we have got same as Newcastle, and gained a point on spurs, which means we are

    6pts ahead of Man CIty with both having played 21 games

    8pts ahead of Man Utd with us having a game in hand

    10pts ahead of Newcastle Utd with us having a game in hand

    12pts ahead of spurs with us having 2 games in hand

    16pts ahead of Brighton with same number of games played

    everyone else is 16pts or more behind with more games played (liverpool are 22pts behind but have one game in hand)

    you know we are still in a great position, even if it could have been oh so much better. If results go our way tomorrow it would end up being a great weekend. Even if City and then beat us midweek, we still win the title if we win 14 and draw 1 of what would be 16 remaining games, regardless of what anyone else does. Every time rivals drop points we can afford to drop more too. If we beat City midweek it would give us even more breathing space, a draw would not be too bad either. Only worry would be if we lose that it would be a real slump in results in recent weeks, and as Wenger used to say, confidence goes quickly but takes a lot more time to build up again.


  11. FAO George, can you find a post I just sent but has not gone up


  12. Chris Foy who was in the VAR booth today claims that VAR’s Lee Mason, forgot to put the lines down for checking if there was an offside in the Brentford goal today, and that there clearly was, so “human error” cost Arsenal 2pts today. Fucking odd how often the Lee Mason’s of the world make these human errors against Arsenal. PGMOL will during the week say it was a mistake, so that will make it alright.


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