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 FA Premiership (10); Goodison Park, Liverpool; Saturday 19 October 2002; 3:00pm
  Radzinski (21')
Rooney (90')  
 
Attendance: 39,038
Halftime: 1-1

Facts
Reports
Ljungberg (7')


Referee: Uriah Rennie
 

Rooney picks the perfect moment

On the day when Francis Jeffers played at Goodison Park for the first time since his acrimonious departure two years ago, the real future of Everton stepped emphatically into the limelight and delivered the hammer blow to Arsenal's unbeaten run with a last-minute wonder goal. With the clock at 89 minutes, a high Thomas Gravesen pass found 16 year-old Wayne Rooney in space deep in the Arsenal half. He turned, cut inside and unleashed a curling, teasing shot that canoned into the net off the crossbar past the despairing lunge of David Seaman to send the home crowd into delirium.

It was a moment carved out of football folklore itself, a fairytale waiting for a stage, and what better arena than Goodison, that graveyard of unbeaten records? All the talk had been of Wayne Clarke's winner against Liverpool that put the mockers on their attempts to break the top flight record for games unbeaten and, once again, the Blues rose to the occasion to overcome Arsenal for only the second time in the last 9 meetings.

Seven minutes into this much-feared encounter, it had all looked so ominously familiar. Appalling defending by a catalogue of Everton players saw the ball eventually end up loose in the six yard box and Freddie Ljungberg was the quickest to react, poking it past former teammate Richard Wright to make it 1-0 after just 7 minutes.

However, David Moyes's side weren't overawed at Manchester United in their last outing and they certainly paid the high-flying Gunners little respect today. Gradually, the Blues began to assert themselves and after 22 minutes, an enterprising move was rewarded when Gravesen laid a perfect ball on for Lee Carsley who fired against the post but the rebound fell kindly to Thomas Radzinski who beat two defenders on the edge of the area before whipping the ball past Seaman from 18 yards to level the scores.

The remainder of the first half, with it's flowing end-to-end football threatened to repeat the end-of-season encounter at Highbury when a ding-dong goal feast ended in a 4-3 victory for Arsenal. On 28 minutes, Thierry Henry shimmied and jinked himself into space on the edge of the area but his curling shot was parried for a corner by Wright. Seven minutes later, Gravesen beat two defenders on the wing before cutting inside and despatching a rocket that Seaman did well to turn over the bar.

Ljungberg was then narrowly denied by the body of Wright who did just enough to divert the ball to safety before Carsley headed tamely wide from a Radzinski cross at the other end. More bad defending nearly led to Everton's downfall as half time approached but on three occasions they were relieved to see Arsenal moves break down in dangerous situations. Up front, Radzinski, who had tormented the Arsenal defence with his electric pace, burst through but had his ankles clipped on the edge of the area on his way to goal. Referee Uriah Rennie waved away Radzinski's protests and booked Mark Pembridge for his. Half time: 1-1.

In many ways, the second half continued where the first had left off. Everton continued to exhibit some scintillating football while still looking vulnerable when faced with the visitors' pacey forward line and riding their luck on occasions. The half was just three minutes old when Kanu and Ljungberg found themselves clear on the edge of the area but the former's shot was blocked by the impressive Joseph Yobo for a corner that was subsequently wasted.

Then, after Tobias Linderoth had replaced Li Tie � who had by and large had a mixed afternoon � the excellent Tony Hibbert found room for a long range effort that went well over and Gravesen profited from great work by Radzinski againt Sol Campbell by setting himself and firing a left-footed effort that Seaman palmed behind.

Arsenal, as expected, remained an ever-present danger. Henry scuffed a gilt-edged opportunity wide from 8 yards in the 58th minute and Wiltord, in acres of space, smacked an effort off the post in almost the same fashion as Carsley in the first half, but Everton were able to clear the danger and accept the let-off. Then Ljungberg came within inches of his second, beating Wright to a high bounce but his touch took the ball the wrong side of the upright from his perspective.

With 10 minutes left and the valiant Blues matching their all-conquering opponents punch for punch, the anticipated switch of Rooney for Radzinski was made by Moyes. By this stage, Jeffers had been on the pitch for 20 minutes and had been roundly booed at every touch by the home faithful. A situation made for the ex-Everton starlet to upset his boyhood club an extend Arsenal's unbeaten run was instead written for young Rooney to become the youngest ever Everton player to score a league goal.

And what a moment to score that elusive goal, with the game winding down to a creditable draw? Rooney pulled Gravesen's lob out of the air with his instep, turned and with two strides steadied himself for his date with destiny before despatching the shot that would bring the Gunners' 30-match unbeaten run to an end. The placement was perfect, putting the spinning ball out of Seaman's reach and bouncing off the crossbar and over the line.

The referee found an inexplicable two extra minutes to add to the three minutes of injury time signalled by the fourth official but Arsenal didn't get near the goal. Instead, it was left to Rooney to have one last cheeky effort; an audacious chip from the edge of the area that just cleared the bar and bounced off the top of the net.

The final whistle was met with the Goodison roar after a highly-deserved victory over the reigning Champions. Rooney, who was absolutely mobbed by his teammates after his priceless goal and appeared moved to tears at the accomplishment, may have still been a relatively unknown quantity to the outside world before this game, but everyone will know about this uncut diamond now. The challenges facing the Everton management in shielding him from the media glare may have multiplied but this huge step towards maturity can only be a good thing for the Blues on the pitch.

His teammates meanwhile can take enormous credit for a job well done and a performance rich in attacking football. As a team they played phenomenally well, creating some wonderful passing moves and looking a far cry from the shoddy outfit that was struggling at the wrong end of the Premiership last season. Defensively, Yobo was solid and composed, Weir, for the most part, also, while Hibbert was a constant attacking threat and Unsworth a tenacious thorn in Arsenal's side. His distribution � along with Weir's � was a little lacking at times but neither were made to pay for it.

In midfield, Linderoth was impressive after coming on and Gravesen had one if his better outings, as did Pembridge. Carsley was good enough although his is a position that looks to be the weakest link and, given some money, one Moyes would probably love to address. And up front, Radzinski and Campbell were magnificent until Rooney took centre stage and delivered the coup de grace to bring Arsenal's victory bandwagon to a screeching halt. A day to savour!

Lyndon Lloyd




Wayne Rooney: His first league goal for Everton was the stuff dreams are made of

Everton v Arsenal:
Prior League Games
 Overall  
 Everton 35
 Arsenal 24
 Draws 22
 Premiership  
 Everton 1
 Arsenal 5
 Draws 4
 Last Season:

Everton 0-1 Arsenal


BBC Match Preview
Electronic Telegraph

Premiership Scores
Saturday 19 Oct
Leeds 0-1 Liverpool
Blackburn 5-2 Newcastle
Everton 2-1 Arsenal
Fulham 1-1 Man Utd
Man City 0-3 Chelsea
Sunderland 0-1 West Ham
West Brom 1-1 Birm'ham
Sunday 20 Oct
Charlton 1-0 Middlesbro
Tottenham 3-1 Bolton
Monday 21 Oct
Aston Villa 0-1 Southampton
Wednesday 23 Oct
Fulham 0-1 West Ham
 

Match Facts
 Everton   (4-4-2)
 Blue shirts, white shirts, blue socks
 Arsenal  (4-4-2)
Red & white shirts, white shorts, red socks
  Wright
Hibbert
Unsworth
Weir {c}
Yobo
Carsley (Stubbs 90')
Gravesen
Li Tie (Linderoth 55')
Pembridge
Radzinski (Rooney 80')
Campbell

Subs not used:  
Gerrard, Alexandersson

Yellow Cards: Weir (?'), Pembridge (45'), Linderoth (88')

Red Cards: �

Unavailable:

(Injured:) Ferguson, Rodrigo
Seaman
Gilberto
Cygan
Cole
Campbell
Vieira
Ljungberg (Edu 85')
Toure (Wiltord 64')
Silva
 Kanu (Jeffers 71')
Henry

Subs not used: 
Luzhny, Shaaban

Yellow Cards: Edu

Red Cards: �
 
Match Reports

Everton Web Sites
ToffeeWeb Match Summary
EvertonFC.com Match Report
When Skies Are Grey Match Report
Blue Kipper Match Report
Everton Fans' Reports
Steve Bickerton What a Win...
Links to Other Media Reports
Electronic Telegraph Match Report
BBC Sport Match Report
FA Premier Match Report
Sky Sports Match Report
Sporting Life Match Report
SoccerNet Match Report
The Observer Match Report
The Guardian Match Report
The Independent Match Report
Liverpool Echo Match Report
Daily Post Match Report
Premiership Table
Pos Team Pts
1 Liverpool 24
2 Arsenal 23
3 Tottenham 19
4 Man Utd 18
5 Middlesbrough 17
6 Chelsea 16
7 Blackburn 15
8 Fulham 15
9 Everton 14
10 Leeds 13
11 Newcastle 13
12 Southampton 13
13 Birmingham 12
14 West Ham 11
15 Aston Villa 10
16 Charlton 10
17 West Brom 10
18 Man City 8
19 Sunderland 8
20 Bolton 7

After 13 Oct 2003



Match Preview

Well after the small matter of a trip to Old Trafford Moyes's Men return from the international break to find the small matter of Arsenal coming to visit
them!

49 consecutive unbeaten games and 40 odd consecutive games where they have found the back of the net kind of suggests that this is not a bad team!

Whilst we are all too quick to tag words such as "awesome", "greatest" and "best ever" to teams there can be little doubt that this is one of the best teams to have graced the Premiership.

Small question marks may be raised by the defence where only Sol Campbell stands out as a truly excellent defender. Cole is better going forward, Keown ageing, Lauren is actually a midfielder and Seaman is past his best and susceptible to misdirected crosses!

However, from then on the team is comparable with anything I have seen. Viera and Silva are both world cup winners, Ljungberg a quality goal scoring midfielder, Wiltord lightening who this year has learnt where the goal is, and Pires, when fit, one of the most devasting and simply beautiful footballers ever to grace these shores.

Upfront it keeps getting better where Henry imparts a sense of majestic style, Bergkamp the grace of Cantona with far more self control, Kanu simple magic and Jeffers - well he warms the bench (though 5 goals in 2 u21 games does deserve some recognition).

How we even begin to shackle them baffles me but we do simply have to look at our last match - or at least the first 86 (!) minutes - to again confirm that this Everton side will not be simply brushed aside.

Yobo has massively improved the backline, his pace strength and composure has shone since his debut and after coming out best against Van Nistlerooy he now finds himself up to be compared against Henry. He shone against Owen in the World Cup and if he shines this w/end then our first glimmer of hope
arises.

Our midfield will have another hard shift to put in but Li Tie and Gravesen matched United step for step and will certainly not be faulted for effort against the centre of Arsenals team.

Inevitably it is out wide that we will struggle. We simply have no quality to use any of the ball that we may win. Pembridge and Carsley work hard but have no cutting edge which negates the use we can make of a flying Radzinski and rejuvenated Campbell.

Once again eyes will be on Rooney. Given our failings out wide Moyes may elect to go back to the 4-3-3 home formation and unleash both Rads and Rooney at the Arsenal backfour. Until we bring through some wide players this is a ploy that we may be forced into.

Arsenal have won most of their games over the last year or so in the first 20 minutes so we cannot afford to dawdle at the start. If we are still in it at the start of the 2nd half then we may have a chance as so many of Arsenals players have been involved in a draining international week - Don't hold your breath but do imagine what may have happened if Rooney's run
had ended with his shot evading Barthez ....

2-1 to Arsenal I'm afraid but another performance to justify the faith we have in Moyes ..

BlueForEver




What a win, what a day, what a Rooney

Probably the biggest test of David Moyes's short career at Everton faced him
today, with the arrival at Goodison of the Champions, Arsenal. True he had
faced them last season at Highbury, where the Gunners ran out winners in an
entertaining 4-3 affair, but that was a carnival game, the Championship
already clinched and nothing from their perspective riding on it.

Today it counted. Arsenal arrived unbeaten this season and undefeated away
from home for more than a year, while we were still trying to turn
performances into results. Our defeat at Manchester United was a case in
point, with the performance over 86 minutes undone by a frantic last 7. In
truth the capitulation then wasn't as traumatic as the one that had cost
Walter Smith his job at Middlesbrough last year, but it still showed that
despite the "feel good" factor that is sweeping around the club, we have a
long way to go.

So, what might we have expected? We expected Richard Wright to want to show
the travelling Gooners why the club should have put its faith in him, rather
than the rather more fallible David Seaman; though conversely we expected a
performance of some quality from the England keeper after the mistake in
midweek, for which he's been roundly condemned in many quarters.

We might also have expected former Arsenal striker Kevin Campbell to want to
turn it on against his old club, continuing his recent scoring streak. But
much the same could be said of former Toffees favourite Francis Jeffers,
whose five goals in two England U-21 games in the last week showed that he
has started to rediscover his finishing touch and another goal against his
boyhood heroes today would have seen him having scored in both appearances
against us - this of course assumed that he mad the bench or, more unlikely,
the starting line-up.

Arsenal's biggest strength has been their ability to break at pace. In
recent times this has been our undoing, but with Joseph Yobo settling in and
showing that he respects no reputation and has the pace to cope with most,
we had cause to hope that the threat of Wiltord and Henry (in particular)
could be dulled somewhat. That might have been simple wishful thinking, but
stranger things have happened. So what happened?

Everton:

Goalkeeper: Wright;
Defence: Hibbert, Yobo, Weir, Unsworth;
Midfield: Carsley, Li, Gravesen, Pembridge;
Forwards: Radzinski, Campbell;

Substitutes: Simonsen; Stubbs; Linderoth; Alexandersson; Rooney

The day started in familiar fashion. Everton still in the traps as Arsenal
for the first fifteen minutes. Eight minutes was all it took though for
Everton to fall behind. A spate of missed clearances and unfortunate
rebounds saw Ljungberg prod a loose ball beyond Richard Wright. There went
the clean sheet. 0-1

It now looked as though it would be a case of stemming the red tide. For a
few more minutes Arsenal passed the ball fluently and Everton looked as
though in defence and midfield they were chasing shadows. Eventually though
they began to get to grips with the pace and direction of Arsenal's game as
Hibbert in particular started to break up the Arsenal game and together with
Radzinski began to cause problems for the Arsenal defence. Gravesen looked
fired up once more and it was his tenacity in the middle of the Arsenal half
that gained Everton a free kick. Quickly taken the ball was sprayed wide
right where Carsley unleashed a ferocious drive against the post. Unlike on
previous occasions the ball fell to an Everton man on the edge of the box.
Radzinski cut inside his defender and drove the ball past two more players
and the flailing Seaman into the net. 1-1

After that there were chances at both ends, with Radzinski in particular
causing all sorts of problems. Right at the end of a half another break by
the little Canadian saw him breeze past Ashley Cole and into the box, but a
swing of the leg by the England international was enough to take him down.
The referee waved play on and then booked Pembridge for dissent. Half-time
came with the scores level.

The second half again saw Arsenal going forward, but this time we were able
to match them. True there was a fluency about their play that we couldn't
match but both Unsworth and Hibbert maintained calm on the wings and Yobo
was the perfect foil to Weir in the centre. But still Arsenal were on top.
To counter this Moyes brought on Tobias Linderoth for the tiring Li.
Suddenly there was extra bite and urgency in the midfield and Vieira started
to lose his midfield dominance as Linderoth tracked him like a pack hound.
But Linderoth wasn't just a destructive force in the middle. HE was still
able to deliver telling balls for Carsley to run onto, deliver back to
Hibbert and for the youngster, denied his first England U-21 cap by injury
during the week, to cross the ball into the middle. Again we were treated
to an end to end game and despite the introduction of Wiltord to bolster the
efforts of the largely ineffective Henry, Arsenal couldn't find the final
telling ball. One spell of pressure saw several shots from the visitors
frantically dealt with by the Everton defence, Yobo in particular and a
spectacular goal-line clearance by Hibbert.

But Everton stood firm, with the loudest noise of the half up to that point
reserved for the introduction of Jeffers. The boos that accompanied his
entrance to the field will be exceeded only by those likely to be endured by
one Nicholas Barmby. Immediately the boos died down the cheers went up for
the rising star at Goodison Park, Wayne Rooney. Nevertheless Arsenal
pressed forward again, but didn't really threaten the Everton goal. Then
ten minutes from time Rooney was introduced, replacing the hero thus far,
Radzinski.

The youngster stayed out wide left for the most part, keeping the ball
hemmed in the Arsenal corner when he got it. When Arsenal did manage to
break clear with it he tracked across the back line and delivered a
crunching tackle on Ashley Cole. Cries of "Rooney, Rooney" echoed around
the ground. The one time golden boy, Jeffers bore no comparison.

Then cam a moment I'll remember forever. Rooney collected the ball 35 yards
out; he moved forward five yards, looked up and saw Seaman on the left of
his goal, Rooney's right. He struck a sweet right footed shot towards
Seaman, but with curl. And curl it did. Right into the right hand top
corner of Seaman's goal. The place erupted! Twenty seconds from the end of
normal time and the youngster became a legend. 2-1; not only a Rooney goal;
not only a strong team performance; not only ending the champions' unbeaten
run; not only picking ourselves up after the defeat against United, but we
had come from behind to take the lead again.

Try as they might in the added time Arsenal couldn't find anything to get
past a stalwart Everton defence and when the final whistle went the roof
came off the place.

What a win, what a day, what a Rooney!

Attendance: 39,038
Referee: U. Rennie

Man of the Match: Tempted to give it Rooney for the sheer brilliance of his
goal, but there were heroes throughout the team. In midfield in the second
half Linderoth was a tiger. Gravesen was in the thick of it throughout.
Both Unsworth and Hibbert were assured in defence, as was Weir. Pembridge
was up and down the line tirelessly and Carsley, too made his contribution.
Both Campbell and Radzinski made the Champions' defence work hard, but in
truth it was Yobo who most took my eye, so I'll give it to him.

 

Steve Bickerton



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