Tag Archives: Everton

Arsenal 4-0 Everton: Vote for Player Ratings & MOTM!

Now that’s more like it. After weeks of wobble and unconvincing performances, we needed some catharsis to purge ourselves of the ennui that had settled in. Enter Everton, the near-perfect foil. Despite their keeping eight or nine outfield players inside the 18, we carved them open, first as Zinchenko sprung Saka free to leather it past Pickford from a tight angle. Then, in the stoppage time that Pickford himself had created (seriously – he took 20-25 seconds any time he had the ball), Saka played Martinelli through on goal. He was at first flagged offside, but VAR overruled it and we went in to halftime up 2-0. The second half was more of the same as Everton actually tried to get up the pitch to find a goal, and it started to feel we had an extra man. If anything, the scoreline flattered our visitors and we could have won by six or seven. No need to get greedy, though. We battered badly enough as it is. Well, anyway, here’s the link for the ratings & MOTM poll. Live results are here, and that nifty graphic will be available tomorrow.

Click the post’s title to expand and see the comments-section if you’re interested.

Hey, Marmite Manager. Welcome to the Emirates.

Well, well, well. Look at what we have here—a chance to avenge a loss just three weeks later. Seanie, you self-proclaimed Marmite manager, your “new manager bounce” has lasted all of about 90 minutes before fading away. I have to admit, Mr. Dyche, that I’m full of mixed emotinos here. On one hand, it’s you I can’t stand. Let’s add in Maupay. Can’t stand ya. On the other hand, I like Everton. Well, “like” is too strong a word. Let’s say instead that I dislike you less than I dislike Liverpool. That makes us friends of a sort, I suppose. Having said all that, though, we have a score to settle with you, literally as well as figuratively.

We don’t take kindly to losing, and we know that it took an enormous effort on the part of your players, fueled by raucous fans at Goodison Park and allowed by our own meek display, to escape with all three points. We’re angry, Sean. We’re after something very large here, a chance at our first Prem title in 19 years. While I understand that you’re something similarly large at the other end of the table, avoiding Everton’s first relegation since 1951, I have no sympathy. We can’t afford to do anyone any favours, not when we have Man City breathing down our necks. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but they have a player in Erling Haaland who’s scored ten more goals on his own than your entire squad combined. 

Scoring has been a season-long dilemma that predates your arrival, and it’s pernicious enough to make one wonder why Moshiri didn’t sanction a move for a goal-scoring forward after selling that Brazilian pigeon and knowing (as I hope he knows) that Calvert-Lewin is as about as durable as a wet Kleenex in a heavy rain. Perhaps anticipating your hire, he did bring in former Clarets such as Dwight McNeil and James Tarkowski, who combined neatly to score that one goal a few weeks back. Why though did he sign Neal effin’ Maupay? The guy’s scored 27 goals in 119 appearances, Sean. You had no input there, and you joined too late in January to demand any specific signings, but, as the old saying goes, you made your bed and now you must lie in it. 

And now, at a risk of stretching that old saying, it’s time to put you and your squad to bed. It’s nothing personal…except that it is, Sean. I’m a petty, spiteful man, Sean, and that’s me on a good day. I can’t stand your constant whingeing and whining, the constant put-upon persona that you project. Worse, I see Maupay and I fall for his sh*thousery. I hate myself for it, Sean, but I can’t resist either. He embodies a lot of what’s wrong at Everton right now, mate. He’s just not good enough and he mistakes motion for action. Simply getting under an opponent’s skin isn’t enough; one has to also deliver and produce and perform. He’s all friction and no function.

Having said all this, I have to cnnclude by conceding that we won’t be conceding anything on Wednesday. We have a chance to go five points clear with this game in hand, and we don’t plan on stumbling again. In fact, if anything, the fact that you lot bested us while Maupay also triggered us has likely snapped us out of a bit of an overconfident torpor in which we began to envision ourselves hoisting a trophy before we’ve earned it. In a way, we owe you a bit of gratitude. You’ll have to pardon me if I don’t say the following with much enthusiasm, though. Thanks for beating us. We’ll be sure to return the favor in short order.

To the rest of you, you Gooners, I’d like to invite to participate the “March Merch” raffle–top commenters will have their names entered in a raffle to win a £25 gift certificate to Arsenal Direct. Log in to Disqus using a Twitter, Facebook, or Google account and let the comments fly!

Everton 1-0 Arsenal: Player Rating & MOTM Poll Results

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53.7% of 614 voters gave our MOTM award to No One, who I believe is an Academy product making his first appearance in the top flight. In all seriousness, it’s no surprise that so many of us felt this way after the goose egg we laid at Goodison. It’s not just the result it but the nature of it; we never really seemed to find any traction and were outplayed for most of the match. The mood emanating from the squad afterward is a mixture of disappointment and defiance, and the mood emanating from fans seems to swing from despair to hope hourly. No one, except Arteta, escaped our wrath, with the highest-player rating of 5.74 going to Ramsdale. Arteta’s 5.98 feels very generous considering how poorly prepared we seemed and how little our tactics changed over the course of the match. Ah, well. Let’s put this behind us and move on.

Well, liquidate us and hand Man City the title. It's over.

1-0 to the Everton. Hm. Doesn’t sound quite right on numerous levels. Still, they kicked us off the park and earned those three points. They were the better side—so much better, in fact, that they’ve exposed us once and for all as the frauds and pretenders that we’ve been since matchday one. It’s now clear to all us deluded Gooners (is that a redundant term? It seems so…) just as it’s been clear to every level-headed observed from Gary Neville to any Spud. Clearly, we’ve been riding on luck, and that luck has run out. It’s only a matter of time before we tumble down the table to join the likes of Liverpool and Chelsea in midtable mediocrity. [shudder]. That is after all our level and it’s about time we regress to the mean.

Well, okay, so I exaggerate ever so slightly. We are after all still five points clear. However, the loss now puts us within the margin of error, so to speak, with two matches still to play against Man City. That’s six pointsthat would go a long way toward settling the title. The actual Chicken Littles (as opposed to your correspondent, who was simply takign the piss) will suggest that we’ve now lost two in a row, one against none other tham Man City. 

While I draw an opposite conclusion tot that result, I think we all do have to admit that we looked overwhelmed, underprepared, and short of ideas. Dyche’s side did what Dyche’s sides always do—set up a low block while snapping into tackles and running about ceaselessly if not tirelessly. They earned this, and you’ll get no complaints from me on that account. We had to know that Dyche would seize on the situation to create a siege-mentality, an us-against-the-world mindset that would feed on the crowd’s intense anger against Moshiri and the board and fuel the squad’s fervor. They were unrecognisable to the side that had taken just two points from their last ten outings.

As for us, we succumbed to some unfamiliar failings. We couldn’t come up with anything new to unlock Everton’s defense. By the time Tarkowski scored from McNeil’s corner on the hour, we had been served adequate warning but couldn’t respond as we’ve done virtually every other time we’ve gone behind. 

Still, the last time we lost, we rattled off a 13-match unbeaten run, including a double over Tottenham, home wins over Liverpool and Man U, and an away win at Stamford Bridge. We’re still a squad capable of that kind of run, not that I’m predicting it, and this shuold be just the kind of kick in the teeth we need to inspire a furious response. I suspect that Brentford will suffer the brunt of that wrath in one week’s time, but there should certainly be enough left in reserve for the following week. We went into the Etihad with both sides rotating (more of a drop-off in quality for us than them) and came away licking a wound or two but also nursing a sense of what’s possible. 

Dropping these three points isn’t fatal for as much it feels like it. Some gripers will complain that title-winners don’t lose to relegation fodder, and they do have a point—to a degree. That’s more of a slogan than an axiom or a law. The loss narrows our margin for error and does raise the stakes for Man City’s visit in eleven days. Keeping a draw would be helpful. A win could be consequential. We had to know that we’d drop points sooner or later. Let’s hope we’ve gotten it out of our collective system.

That’s actually kind of mealy-mouthed compared to how I’m feeling, and how I assume that lads to be feeling. Think about how ferocious their responses have been to getting scored on. Imagine then how they’re going to respond to losing. Saka, for one, had started to play like a man possessed, taking on the double-teams he faced with ferocity. Players who had an off-day—Martinelli, White, Xhaka, Ødegaar, Zinchenko—will suck the marrow from this experience and come back playing a deeper hunger and fiercer determination. I’m not saying we’ll run the table, not by any means. I am saying that this is not the squad you remember from years and years ago, the squad that went into a tailspin after dropping points like this. There’s a new spirit here, a new drive, and it compels every player in this squad to refuse to accept what I’m sure all of the pundits are saying after this result. Sean Dyche isn’t the only one capble of feeling that us-against-the-world mentality. Let’s put this loss in the past where it belongs and set our sights on the next match.

Everton 1-0 Arsenal: Vote for Player Ratings & MOTM.

Well, in the end, it was another former Burnley man who made the difference as James Tarkowski headed home from a corner to secure a shock win for Everton. Well, maybe not a shock, given that Everton outplayed us for long stretches, showing early signs that Dyche has reinvigorated this squad. They hustled and harried and harassed, and, for the first time in a long time, we really could not respond or rise to the occasion. It’s a dispiriting result, considering the yawning gulf between us and them, but we had to know that we’d be facing a Toffees side different to the one that had won only three matches going into this one. For Dyche, it’s only the second time in 16 tries that he’s found a win against us, meaning he’ll probably experience something akin to joy, or at least less misery than he’s accustomed to. Well, the less said for now, the better. Let’s get to the poll and rate the lads. If you want to see results as they roll in, click here. A nifty little graphic will be available later.