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Venue: Goodison Park
Premier League
Saturday 4 February 2023; 12:30pm
1 0
Tarkowski 60'
Half Time: 0 - 0 
Attendance: 39,314
Fixture 21
Referee: David Coote

Match Reports
2022-23 Reports Index
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  Pickford booked
  Mykolenko booked
  Onana booked
  Calvert-Lewin (Maupay 62' booked)
  Subs not used
  Garner (injured)
  Keane (injured)
  Patterson (injured)
  Townsend (injured)
  Alli (loan)
  Branthwaite (loan)
  Dobbin (loan)
  Gbamin (loan)
  Gomes (loan)
  Kean (loan)
  Nkounkou (loan)

  White (Tomiyasu 85')
  Zinchenko booked
  Partey (Jorginho 59')
  Odergaard (F. Vieira 77')
  Martinelli (Trossard 59')
  Subs not used

Match Stats

Shots on target

Premier League Scores
Chelsea 0-0 Fulham
Aston Villa 2-4 Leicester
Brighton 1-0 Bournemouth
Brentford 3-0 Southampton
Everton 1-0 Newcaste
Man United 2-1 C Palace
Newcastle 1-1 West Ham
Wolves 3-0 Liverpool
Nott'm Forest 1-0 Leeds
Tottenham 1-0 Man City

1 Arsenal 50
2 Manchester City 45
3 Manchester United 42
4 Newcastle United 40
5 Tottenham Hotspur 39
6 Brighton & Hove Albion 34
7 Brentford 33
8 Fulham 32
9 Chelsea 30
10 Liverpool 29
11 Aston Villa 28
12 Crystal Palace 24
13 Nottingham Forest 24
14 Leicester City 21
15 Wolverhampton Wanderers 20
16 West Ham United 19
17 Leeds United 18
18 Everton 18
19 Bournemouth 17
20 Southampton 15

Match Report

The winds of change blew through Goodison Park again — not in the Boardroom, of course; on that score, protest was in the air but so once more was defiance and a refusal on the part of almost 40,000 Evertonians to let this club sink without a fight. Sean Dyche took his place in Everton’s dugout (or, more accurately, the touchline where, in contrast to his more passive predecessor, he was a constantly animated and vocal presence) for the first time and oversaw one of those electrifying home wins over a superior foe amid an atmosphere that cows visiting teams regardless of their talent and standing.

Likely needing at least seven more wins to stay up, this was one of the most difficult of Everton’s remaining assignments this season. Arsenal, unbeaten in the Premier League since September under Mikel Arteta, are an excellent side yet there were precious few moments during the 90 minutes where they were allowed to exhibit their quality. In all, they had just three shots on target and only one of them, a powerful drive from substitute Leandro Trossard 12 minutes from time, really tested Jordan Pickford.

Another effort from Bukayo Saka in the first half, might well have gone in a week ago but this time, the positioning of Conor Coady, rejuvenated and inspired along with the rest of the Blues’ team in a highly-organised 4-5-1 formation, was exemplary and he cleared his England squad-mate’s volley off the line.

Eddie Nketiah and Martin Ødegaard wasted the other couple of decent chances that fell Arsenal’s way but, in truth, the best opportunities came at the other end and had Everton won by two or three goals, Arteta probably couldn't have had many complaints. They might have done had Abdoulaye Doucouré and Dominic Calvert-Lewin not spurned excellent headed chances in the later stages of the first half but James Tarkowski’s first goal for the Toffees, fittingly enough scored under the coach who really made him as a player, was all that was needed.

Since Marco Silva was sacked in 2019 as Everton dropped into the bottom three for the second time in as many years and an air of panic set in, the need for these kinds of backs-against-the-wall occasions at Goodison Park has become disconcertingly common.

Frank Lampard had a few, of course, not least his first Premier League home game against Leeds, where he appeared to have unlocked a more free-flowing Everton, those gritty, narrow wins over Manchester United, Newcastle and Chelsea, and the climax of his short reign, the emotional night against Crystal Palace last May.

Today was more reminiscent of the first game Duncan Ferguson oversaw in December 2019 against Chelsea — a high-octane, determined and feisty display that leveraged the power and tenacity in the squad together with that legendary 12th man in the stands. Fears that the demonstrations against the club’s hierarchy before kick-off, which saw thousands of Blues march from the Royal Oak, up Spellow Lane and around the Grand Old Lady, would detract from support for the team proved, predictably, unfounded as the fans raised the roof once more to roar home three points.

If Dyche’s arrival represented a clean slate for all, was illustrated clearly in Doucouré and Idrissa Gueye, two players at the heart of a nascent fracture in relations between Lampard and his dressing room. The Mali international had been banished from training with the first team by the former manager, apparently for sticking up for Gueye whose rapidly declining form was one of the most glaring symptoms of a failing team.

Not only did Doucouré start a Premier League game for the first time since August, he put in a terrific performance along with Gueye who, so wasteful in possession as recently as the last game at West Ham a fortnight ago, finished the match with a 100% pass-completion rate. And though Amadou Onana had no need to convince anyone of his worth to the side, the Belgian was a colossus in central midfield.

Dwight McNeil, meanwhile, heavily criticised for his work rate in recent matches, got the nod ahead of Demarai Gray, who wasn’t risked due to a slight groin strain, and he not only weighed in with the dead-ball assist for the game’s only goal, he combined with Alex Iwobi to provide the kind of cover and assistance to full-backs Vitalii Mykolenko and the age-defying Seamus Coleman that was also so lacking in the final days of the previous managerial regime.

McNeil had the first shot in anger in the ninth minute of the game, a deflected effort that spun towards Calvert-Lewin who was offside even though Aaron Ramsdale beat him to the ball.

Thomas Partey tested Pickford with a low drive that the England keeper gathered at the second attempt in the 12th minute before Calvert-Lewin forced a save from Ramsdale with a drive from the angle following an Iwobi flick-on and Onana tried to capitalise on a mistake by the keeper but couldn’t chip him from 25 yards out.

Everton had largely kept Arsenal at arm’s length for the first half hour but when Bukayo Saka rolled the otherwise impressive Vitalii Mykolenko, it set Eddie Nketiah up for a clear effort on goal but he lashed it wide.

And six minutes before the interval, Saka’s side-foot volley was searching out the bottom corner with Pickford beaten but Conor Coady had positioned himself superbly to hack it off the line by the far post.

Either side of that chance, Everton had carved out some of their best opportunities of the game, first when the irrepressible Onana drove down the left flank and slid a ball across the face of goal that was just too far ahead of Calvert-Lewin’s lunge.

A minute later, McNeil picked up a Calvert-Lewin flick and picked out Doucouré with a cross but the midfielder failed to make proper contact and headed well wide while Calvert-Lewin had a similar chance in first-half stoppage time but also glanced Iwobi’s cross wide with the goal gaping.

Everton started the second half the same way they had begun the first, with a deflected shot from the vastly-improved Idrissa Gueye prompting a reaction save from Ramsdale but Arsenal began to assert themselves in the manner in which Dyche must have been expecting they would given their quality and patience under Mikel Arteta.

Nketiah got free of Coleman near the byline and cut it back for Ødegaard but, thankfully, he skied his effort from the edge of the box and two minutes later it was 1-0 after Everton won a corner on the right.

McNeil swung it in and Tarkowski muscled his way past Ødergaard to meet it and guided a header back across goal past Ramsdale before wheeling away in celebration of his first goal for the Toffees.

Dyche had been readying Neal Maupay and he threw the Frenchman on in place of Calvert-Lewin who had played despite a slight hamstring issue and the Blues dug in for the final half hour.

A check by Video Assistant Referee John Brooks confirmed referee David Coote’s assessment that Maupay had not fouled Gabriel in the box amid howls for a penalty from the visitors in the 65th minute.

Then Trossard stung Pickford’s palms with that strong shot that was beaten away and cleared before the Belgian missed the target with a curling attempt a few minutes later.

Arsenal were increasingly desperate by the end and were finding their hosts hard to break down and they would have just one more chance to salvage a point in stoppage time but Zinchenko blasted it over the bar. And then, mercifully, it was over after six minutes of injury time, the referee’s whistle triggering relief and celebration in the stands.

This wasn't quintessential Dyche-ball as his reputation perhaps unfairly painted him at Burnley. Yes, the Blues went direct when they needed and the deciding goal came off a set-piece but the new boss had clearly set out to put legs in midfield and marry the technical ability and speed over the ground that exists in the team with its physicality and aerial ability.

When combined with a disciplined shape and an effective mid-block without the ball, it's a formula that should stand him in very good stead. 

Dyche was right, however, when he stressed in his post-match comments that today is just a start. Wolves’s win over Liverpool and West Ham’s strong performance at Newcastle illustrate how difficult the fight is going to be at the bottom over the remainder of the season.

It is going to take eight more performances of high effort and concentration at Goodison and some vastly improved results away from home if survival is to be achieved but this win over the worthy League leaders definitely points the way.

The manager indicated that his players will be back at Finch Farm on Monday to continue the work needed to build up their fitness and sharpness as they prepare for a Merseyside derby that looks a little more tasty than it might have done a week ago. Dyche will, no doubt, be relishing it.

Lyndon Lloyd

Matchday Updates

A massive day for Everton and new manager Sean Dyche as Goodison Park witnesses a tremendous win over Premier League leaders Arsenal under former star, Mikel Arteta.  

But for the Blues, it's very much the same old players who had become so bereft of everything that was needed to even come close to winning games in the Premier League, with no fresh blood for the new manager to use as a catalyst. 

Michael Keane and Nathan Patterson have been ruled out through injury while both James Garner and Andros Townsend are still some way from making full recoveries from their longer-term issues.

Dyche goes with just one striker in Dominic Calvert-Lewin, while Demarai Gray and Neal Maupay are left on the bench, and Abdoulaye Doucouré returns to the side after being disciplined following a fall-out with Lampard that saw him excluded for the defeat at West Ham Utd last time out. 

Sean Dyche received a massive reception from the packed Goodison crowd after the teams had walked out and before Arsenal got the game underway. 

Mykoleko got stuck in on Odegaard for the first foul. Everton took possession and were immediately looking to play forward balls to Calvert-Lewin, while Coleman kept great pace to marshall Martinelli.

Arsenal looked for slow and steady buildup play to break down the Blues but Mykolenko and Coleman had other ideas and Calvert-Lewin tried to advance with the ball, but Onana took a head knock. 

Everton put in a good break and McNeil had a chance to shoot with Calvert-Lewin following in but he was flagged offside the ball wouldn't run to him and Arsenal were quickly on the counter, but that roused the crowd and the Blues quickly reformed the defence with really good shape, Partey could only shoot at Pickford from distance. 

No farting about at the back when Pickford cleared the ball, he tried to find Calvert-Lewin straightaway. Doucouré tried to cross in for Calvert-Lewin but it was blocked. Gueye handed off Saka with a poke in the eye that needed attention. 

From a Blues throw-in , some really good break-out play and Iwobi swung in a decent cross that won the first corner, superb from McNeil to the far post, Onana denied but a second corner, Iwobi from the left, Tarkowski again at the far post forcing a third. And again an excellent far-post delivery, Three of the best Everton corner seen all season! 

McNeil forced a fourth corner, switched to the near post and met well enough by Calvert-Lewin but absolutely no finesse or direction off his top-knot, well over the bar.  Everton repelled another attack and Calvert-Lewin had his first shot from a narrow angle that was gathered by Ramsdale.

Everton had their best spell of pressure but there was still not enough guile in the final ball. Some excellent work by Calvert-Lewin on the breakout, winning the ball, holding the ball, and getting the throw-in. The defensive discipline and work ethic had been excellent in the first half-hour but Saka finally beat Mykolenko in a right old tussle and Nketiah snuck in but whacked it well wide. 

Doucoure did well to win the ball in midfield but was slow to make use of it until he was fouled. McNeil swung the ball in well but Ramsdale tracked it all the way.

A superb interception by Onana created a fantastic opening for Calvert-Lewin who didn't get anywhere enough and could not turn it in from 1 yard!!! Then McNeil played a beautiful cross onto Doucoure's head unmarked but, with the goal gaping, his contact was all wrong – and he knew it.

The Blue shirts were chasing every ball now, doing a great intimidation job on the Gunners who were increasingly tentative in trying to protect their possession of the ball. But a deep cross found Saka free and his shot, deflecting off Mykolenko's shin, was bound for the left corner but for Coady getting back to clear brilliantly off the line. 

Gueye tackled Martinelli aggressively and foolishly grappled his face again, giving up a needless free-kick that Xhaka headed over. Calvert-Lewin again did very well to hold up the ball and win a throw-in. Arsenal pressed again for a first-half goal as 3 minutes were added on. 

A horrible ball back to Pickford gave Nketiah a half chance to block his clearance. At the other end,  a brilliant McNeil cross picked out Calvert-Lewin and his header should really have found the net but it went agonizingly wide. 

An excellent first half of football under Sean Dyche who had, as expected, completely transformed these players: xG Score should be Everton 3 - 1 Arsenal. 

More good work by Calvert-Lewin after the break set up Gueye for a deflected shot that Ramsdale did well to react to, but the offside flag was up. McNeil was lucky, playing backwards in defence under pressure, and playing it out – should have been a corner to Arsenal – not given!

Onana fed Gueye well but he should not have been the player breaking through, and Everton had to defend again, Onana getting fouled. 

Calvert-Lewin did very well again with his hold-up play but pushed the ball out too far for Iwobi whose cross was poor. At the other end, more good defending from Mykolenko but an Arsenal corner,and two shots well blocked. Arsenal were playing with a lot more intent but Everton eventually got the goal-kick. 

Everton tried to build again but Mykolenko's attempted volley from distance was terrible. Tarkowski cleared straight to Zinchenko but Onana was in well to intercept. However, Arsenal continued to press Nkeiah setting up Odegaard who screamed one yards over. 

Everton worked it forward and Iwobi won a corner, swung over superbly by McNeil to the far post and power-headed in by James Tarkowski!!! Great goal — Made in Burnley!!! 

A poor pass was intercepted and it forced Mykolenko to trip Saka, the ensuing attack winning an Arsenal corner taht was taken by Trossard, but he could not beat the first Everton defender.

Arsenal looked to get free in the Everton area but were swarmed upon by Blue shirts, Maupay baulking Gabriel into Gana. Odegaard got a run in on goal, superbly tackled by Coady. 

It was now more competitive than ever in the midfield, the jeopardy of one mistake, Onana going in with his very long legs all around Ben White for a yellow card.  Maupay and Xhaka got into a bit of a spat over something. 

Arsenal won a corner that Onana was very happy to head clear, as the Gunners looked to crank the screw on the so-far solid Everton defence. But out-balls to Maupay were nowhere near as effective as they had been with Calvert-Lewin in that role – why not Simms?

Arsenal got bolder and went for a far post cross but Pickford snapped it out of the air. Still, it was nerve-wracking every time they came forward. Maupay was fouled (not given) but McNeil won a corner and almost got a good ding-dong melee going inside the Arsenal goal area but the ball was cleared. 

Arsenal attacked, Trossard shooting at Pickford, deflected off Iwobi and well stopped by the Sunderland man. But Arsenal created another chance when the ball fell to Saka, McNeil in quickly to mess up his shot.

Into the final 10 minutes and Trossard fired high and wide after Saka had fouled McNeil (not given).  McNeil won another Everton corner after a fine Tarkowski steal; the Blues lost out on the ensuing scrap after being called for a foul. 

Into the last 5 minutes and a very nervy Goodison Park absolutely desperate to hold on for what would be a famous win – but not through Pickford's silly time-wasting. 

Another Arsenal attack, another fantastic Gana interception to steal the ball in the Everton penalty area. Arsenal probed again, but Gueye was across to block it out for another corner, smashed clear by Coleman. Zinchenko trying to shoot from a long way out, and missing, as 6 minutes of added time were signalled. 

A tremendous run by Onana down the wing set the tone for those final minutes. But another Arsenal corner was given away, a set-up for Zinchenko wellied nice and high over Pickford's goal. 

Some fine battling saw the ball won and lost until Everton won a free-kick that Pickford again took plenty of time over. Then there were two balls on the pitch as Zinchenko and Maupay sparked an excellent session of handbags all round. Zinchenko should really have been given a red for his reaction, jumping on Maupay and shoving him down. 

Everton continued to play out the final seconds and celebrate an excellent first win for new manager Sean Dyche with the Premier League leaders soundly beaten.  

Everton: Pickford [Y:86'], Coleman, Coady, Tarkowski, Mykolenko [Y:63'], McNeil, Doucoure, Gana, Onana [Y:69'], Iwobi, Calvert-Lewin (61' Maupay [Y:90+5']).

Subs not Used: Begovic, Holgate, Gray, Mina, Godfrey, Davies, Vinagre, Simms.

Arsenal: Ramsdale, White (85' Tomiyasu), Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko [Y:90+5'], Martinelli (59' Jorginho), Partey (59' Trossard), Xhaka, Saka, Odegaard (77' Vieira), Nketiah.

Subs not Used: Turner, Tierney, Holding, Kiwior, Cozier-Duberry.

Michael Kenrick

It's not rocket science

I was excited and feeling strangely optimistic ahead of this one. I felt a rush of positivity somehow when I was out for my morning jog in my Everton hoodie when another fellow Evertonian jogged past me with his dog and said “Good morning. Up the Toffees!”.

Once home, I couldn’t get out of the house quick enough. I narrowly missed the bus and was frustrated to find it would be 20 minutes until the next one… so frustrated in fact that I walked on just shy of a mile and a half into another village. 

As I finally got on the next bus, I saw a mate who was going to the game who lives just around the corner from me. “Have you moved house?” was the first thing he asked. That I’d stomped on all that way in frustration took some explaining!

And running into my mate, Chris, on the bus actually altered my planning. I’d originally planned to go into the city centre to grab breakfast somewhere, though Chris and his Dad, and his brother James, top Evertonians who attend every game home and away, were heading the Ship & Mitre for a few beers as it was open from 10am. So I tagged along for a pint or two before making my way onto our usual pre-match boozer. A big breakfast ended up becoming a pre-made cheese & onion sandwich from a Go Local.

I met Ste and a few other fellas in the pub. It emptied our pretty quick and so we followed the crowd out of there and into Goodison Park, taking our seats in the Lower Gwladys.

We were a bit befuddled by the team news. I was a bit surprised to see Conor Coady retain his place at centre-back, and was even more confused as to how they would line up. Would Alex Iwobi be playing up in and around Dominic Calvert-Lewin with Abdoulaye Doucoure as some sort of makeshift right winger? As it turned out Alex was winger and Abdoulaye was deployed to arrive late into the penalty area.

And another change in the dug-out of course, with Sean Dyche our latest new manager receiving a hardy reception, and Mikel Arteta in the opposing dug-out visiting with his team sitting top of the Premier League.

Arsenal began the game on the attack though Everton were equal to it and a few good early tackles, one of which was from Seamus Coleman, really got the crowd going. As our players settled, we believed in ourselves more and began to create opportunities. And thinking about it, we could well have been ahead come half time.

Amadou Onana made an incredible surging run which Arsenal couldn’t live with. Our wonderful Belgian squared the ball across the 6-yard box and Dominic probably couldn’t have come closer to reaching the ball than he did. Awfully unlucky not to be ahead.

At the other end, Conor Coady did well to drop back and clear off the goal line from Bukayo Saka’s volley. That was as close as Arsenal came all game.

Dominic had two further chances in the second half too… both of which were quite similar headers. Not easy chances, but both a bit better than half-chances. Maybe if Dominic can get back to his very best, he’s burying these. Though I feel Dominic could really do with a goal to get him going again. In our next fixture would do!

While chatting to some of the guys around us at the break, the enthusiasm and increased level of enjoyment at this game was palpable. “Its not rocket science is it” I must have said about 100 times. Stay disciplined, keep your shape, work hard, get the ball out to the wingers, cross it first chance you get, put all your corners into the near post. It’s all the basic and fundamentals which will never essentially go away from football.

If you’re challenging towards the top of the league, you obviously need more than that, which is where the better teams get expansive. How and why Frank Lampard didn’t revert to this type to try and stem the rot, especially as we have a lot of players that suit this, was pretty baffling.

And the Goodison Park crowd appreciate blood, guts, a scrap, and getting stuck into teams more than most. David Moyes used to draw on the crowd all the time for this reaction. He’d ask his players to get stuck in to the opposition, and play at a high tempo which gets the crowd involved. Roberto, Ronald, Sam, Marco, Rafa and Frank never did that nearly enough.

I’m exempting Carlo because most of his time at Everton was played behind closed doors. I think finally we have a manager again who does realise the role an aggressive Goodison Park crowd can play and how it can help get more out of the team and intimidate opponents. As I say… it’s not rocket science.

Despite the challenge in front of us, I think it's fair to say that Everton scented blood. Sure as hell the crowd did as Goodison Park became the bearpit we know and love. And so it arrived. Another inswinging corner from Dwight McNeil, Arsenal in a muddle and James Tarkowski was on hand to plant his header firmly into the net. His first goal for Everton. That was quite the thrill.

For all their plaudits this season, with 30 minutes… well 36 minutes following David Coote’s overly-generous stoppage time allocation, I expected better from Arsenal. At times they were good, one or two passing moves impressed me when they got through our whole field in just three passes, but there was never an end product to show for it.

They were incredibly wayward with their shooting, completely missing the target with the few good opportunities they carved out, and by the end were resorting to long-range pot-shots pretty much. They couldn’t rise to the challenge.

It’ll be interesting to see how they react from here. Can they use this as a lesson and get back to form, or has that left the door more than ajar for Manchester City to capitalise? That should be a good chase.

Goodison Park was deafening by the end. The crowd were screaming, whistling, imploring David Coote to blow his whistle. Stoppage time had been extended due to quite an altercation between substitute Neal Maupay and Oleksandr Zinchenko, of which I think all players got themselves involved in. But the whistle finally came.

Joy etched on everyone’s faces as we made our way out of Goodison Park. With it being an early kick-off, it was still pretty early in the day, and I was more than envious of those continuing their celebrations in the pubs and back in the city centre. Myself, I had evening plans and so took a lift back home.

So are Everton back? I recall we all thought that after Frank’s team smashed Leeds United about a year ago. We’ve still a heck of a lot of work to do and it's going to be tough, but yesterday was a lot more like Everton’s identity than I have seen for years. Getting stuck into opponents, playing at a tempo and with flair, leaving everything out there and fighting hard. Sean gets that and is the right man for now, for me.

As I say, it’s not rocket science.

Player ratings

Jordan Pickford: He really didn’t have much to do as most shots ended up nowhere near the goal. I thought his yellow card was very unfair. David Coote was chatting to Granit Xhaka and Jordan was waiting until he was ready, and then when he stopped talking to Granit, David Coote decided to book Jordan. 6

Vitaliy Mykolenko: When asked to defend first and foremost, that’s what he will do. A good solid effort from Vitaliy. Took a good yellow card too to stop an attack. 6

James Tarkowski: A great effort defensively and scored the winning goal. You can’t ask for more than that. 8

Conor Coady: I was surprised he started the game and I can’t say I’m his biggest fan, but fair play, he was excellent yesterday and the goal he saved was just as important as the goal James scored. Well done, Conor. 8

Seamus Coleman: A good solid effort from Seamus. No less than what you expect from him. 6

Idrissa Gueye: He did well and made a lot of tackles. Much better than what he has been showing so far this season. 7

Amadou Onana: He’s got all the ability and even more of a personality. It won’t be at Everton, he’s destined for better things sadly, but he’s up for the fight alright, and will move on for a decent profit, I imagine, maybe even this Summer. But for now, let's enjoy him, and he might be the difference maker between survival and relegation. My Man of the Match. 8

Abdoulaye Doucouré: A bit of a surprise inclusion for me, but that’s the benefit of a new manager coming in with a complete clean slate. Frank sure had his favourites and it seems Abdoulaye wasn’t one of them. He had a good game and covered a lot of ground. He missed a great opportunity in the first half which he really should have buried but overall I thought that was a really good effort. 7

Dwight McNeil: From getting booed off the pitch the last time he began a game at Goodison Park, to a performance like that is quite the turnaround. He worked very hard all game and kept on running, and kept on crossing. He helped Vitaliy out defensively, and can claim a vital assist of course, with his corner kick contributing to our winning goal.

And I guess that’s the crux of it with Evertonians. Show maximum effort and it doesn’t go unnoticed. He reminded me a bit of Kevin Kilbane yesterday. Not blessed with outstanding quality, but 100% effort was always there. That’s the benchmark now for Dwight to kick on. Well done, Dwight. 8

Alex Iwobi: A bit in and out of the game but was a bit of a nuisance to his old club at times as they struggled to retain possession from him. 6

Dominic Calvert-Lewin: A good hour. Barring any further setbacks, he’s getting there, though really needs a goal to get going I feel. 6

Neal Maupay (for Dominic Calvert-Lewin): He was great nuisance value and got well involved in the game. 6

Paul Traill

Match Preview

Sean Dyche’s tenure as Everton manager begins tomorrow with one of the most difficult assignments possible as the Blues welcome League leaders Arsenal to Goodison Park for the lunchtime kick off.

Less than a week into the job, having succeeded Frank Lampard last Monday, Dyche is tasked with lifting a group of players that hasn’t won a match since 22 October, and comes into the weekend joint bottom of the Premier League with just 15 points and three wins.

Dyche will look to leverage all of the experience he gained from battling relegation in the past with Burnley, and will draw on the precedent of having saved the Clarets from a very similar situation four seasons ago.

Burnley had just 12 points from 19 games after Christmas in 2018 but rallied impressively over the second half of the campaign to finish comfortably in 15th Place.

Dyche had the benefit of a tight group and a culture that had been built up over many years at Turf Moor. At Everton, he comes into a dressing room low on morale and short on numbers, although the new boss might use that to his advantage in trying to create a siege mentality over the final 18 matches.

He faces injury concerns from the outset with Ben Godfrey, Michael Keane and Nathan Patterson ruled out through injury and both James Garner and Andros Townsend still some way from making their respective returns as well.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin, however, is fit to line up in a side that is expected to lean heavily on his aerial prowess and physicality at the top end of the pitch.

Dyche’s preference for a 4-4-2 formation could also benefit Neal Maupay who has struggled to make an impact since arriving from Brighton in the summer and who has started just two games since the return after the mid-season break for the World Cup.

At the back, Seamus Coleman and Vitalii Mykolenko are good bets to start in the full-back roles and, should Dyche go 4-4-2, it remains to be seen if he goes with Conor Coady alongside his former charge, James Tarkowski, or opts for Yerry Mina’s height and threat from set-pieces.

Arsenal are still without Gabriel Jesus, Reiss Nelson, Mohamed Elneny and Emile Smith Rowe while Thomas Partey will undergo a late fitness test on a rib complaint but deadline-day signing Jorginho could step straight into the side.

Mikel Arteta’s team are in daunting form and are unbeaten in the League since losing to Manchester United 3-1 way back in September. Since then they have won five of six away from home, with only Southampton denying them all three points in a 1-1 draw on 23 October.

Having no doubt seen how open and defensively vulnerable Everton were under Lampard, Dyche’s first priority will be to make the Blues hard to beat and to use the power of the home crowd to make life difficult for the Gunners who are coming off a 1-0 defeat to Manchester City in the FA Cup last weekend.

Goodison has not been a happy hunting ground for Arsenal in recent seasons. Since heralding the end of Ronald Koeman’s reign as Toffees boss in October 2017, the North Londoners have been beaten three times — including that terrific win in December 2021 — and have been held to a goalless draw; Dyche will be hoping to get off to the perfect start by ensuring that Everton remain a bogey team for Arteta’s men.

Kick-off: 12:30pm, Satuday 4 February 2023
Referee: David Coote
VAR: John Brooks
Last Time: Everton 2 - 1 Arsenal

Predicted Line-up: Pickford, Coleman, Tarkowski, Coady, Mykolenko, Gueye, Onana, Iwobi, Gray, Maupay, Calvert-Lewin

Lyndon Lloyd

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