Arsenal 1 - 0 Everton
Half-time: 1 - 0
FA Carling Premiership 1998-99 Game 12
Sunday 8 November 1998
|« Manchester United (h)||Ref: Gary Willard||Sunderland (h) »|
|1998-99 Fixtures & Results||League Position: 15th||Premiership Results & Table|
|Arsenal:||Anelka (6)||Sub: Jamie Milligan|
|LINEUPS||Subs Not Used|
|Arsenal:||Seaman, Dixon, Grimandi, Keown, Winterburn, Ljungberg, Vieira, Petit, Overmars, Parlour, Anelka.||Bergkamp, Wreh, Manninger, Hughes, Upson.|
Myhre, Cleland (77 Hutchison), Dunne, Watson (46 Cadamarteri),
Materazzi (84 Milligan), Unsworth, Ball, Dacourt, Collins, Bakayoko,
Unavailable: Barmby, Ward, Williamson, Phelan, Parkinson (injured); Bilic (recovering); Spencer, Branch, O'Kane (on loan).
|Yellow Cards||Red Cards|
|Arsenal:||Grimandi, Keown, Petit.|||
|EVERTON:||Dunne, Materazzi, Collins, Ferguson, Cadamarteri.|||
|REPORTS BY EVERTON FANS|
|Peter Preston||On Reflection...|
|Richard Marland||Two Leagues Below|
Arsenal lifted by Anelka strike
by Steve Tongue
Anelka papers over the cracks
by Martin Thorpe
Anelka's rocket is enough for Arsenal
by Matt Dickinson
Arsenal stutter through with little in the tank
by David Miller
|OTHER INTERNET REPORTS|
|THE EVERTONIAN||Link to the latest Match Report||
|SOCCERNET||Link to SoccerNet Match Report|
|CARLINGNET||Link to CarlingNet Match Report|
I am a great admirer of Walter Smith. I think that he has done wonders for
Everton, not only in terms of bringing in some quality players but, even
more importantly, in terms of dignity, discipline and, above all, fitness
levels. He has also had to curtail buying before he has finished thanks to
the Chairman's misplaced parsimony. But, but ... there are clearly problems
in the interlinked area of tactics and team selection, within which I include
the whole issue of players being played out of position.
At Arsenal, we lined up with four centre -backs and two full-backs. This meant that we had a two-man midfield of Collins and Dacourt and two strikers, one of whom was pretty ineffective. What was lacking became obvious when Cadamarteri was put on to replace one of the centre-backs (Watson). The difference that it made in terms of width, pace and options was immense (I do not say astonishing because I and everyone around me had been crying out for this since the teams were announced before the kick-off).
When one of the full-backs (Cleland) was removed and Hutchison brought on, our shape improved even more. Unfortunately, by then, it was too late although we did give Arsenal a difficult last ten minutes.
So, the question has to be, why didn't we give them a more difficult 90 minutes? The final line-up would surely have been better than the opening one. I understand the caution behind it but it does pose a number of ancillary problems. If you have four men at the back all of whom are schooled in not going forward, then it leaves very few options.
I am disappointed with John Collins but it should be recognized that when he is going round in circles, there is no one moving for him to pass to. Only the arrival of Cadamarteri opened up some possibilities. It is interesting to note that when both Manchester United and Arsenal get the ball in midfield, there are always men free running wide. Virtually without looking, the midfielders can push a pass square or diagonally forward of square in the confident knowledge that someone will be running onto it.
Not Everton. There is far too much bunching at the back and in the centre. The consequence is that some players end up getting unfairly criticised. Unsworth has been berated on this list, very unfairly in my view. He has been excellent defensively but when he gets the ball going forward, there is usually little other option than the speculative punt diagonally forward towards the centre.
The fact that Unsworth is being played out of position is painfully obvious. He is not a left back but, since Michael Ball was AWOL most of the time, Unsworth was the only one to cover against the Arsenal right-wing. However, he was usually sticking to the centre as is the natural instinct of a centre-back, which is what Unsworth is.
I am a great admirer of Ball but he was told where to play and stick to it and, preferably, that should be at left back. A similar argument to that about Unsworth could be made about Richard Dunne. I am delighted to see him rising up the pecking order and to get into contention for the squad. He has oodles of talent and he didn't play badly, but he is not a right back and expecting him to match Overmars for speed was just silly.
|Two Leagues Below|
At the end we could have nicked it, but in reality we are still two leagues
below the Champs'.
True, we displayed our now, thankfully regular, 'we shall not be moved attitude', especially in the second half, but Seaman was never forced to make a real save, though Ferguson bounced one off the bar and missed another towering corner. Arsenal could have been 3 or 4 up after half an hour and they were ripping us apart at will, especially Unsworth and Ball.
Unsworth was honest slow yes, but never gave less than 100% today, and with Parlour, Ljundgren and Dixon running at him, he was outnumbered. Its fine for Michael Ball to point at where Unsworth should be, but where the hell was he? Wingback? Centre midfield? It wasn't clear.
We went expecting a defeat, don't know why I'm disappointed? I'd have settled for 1-0 after 20 minutes. Still problems to overcome, but I think Collins may be the fallguy...
Ref Willard - another pathetic performance which saw him give fouls where none existed, not give them when they did, and so on with yellow cards. 4?
Linesman who missed the elbow on Cadamarteri in the box? Blind.
|Arsenal lifted by Anelka strike|
|by Steve Tongue, The Independent|
GRANTED an extra day's recuperation from their gruelling trip to Kiev in
midweek, Arsenal yesterday sprang into second place in the Premiership with
victory over an Everton side they could have beaten immediately on landing
at Luton Airport at 3.30am on Thursday.
It was ridiculous, on the balance of play and scoring chances, that the Highbury crowd should be reduced to calling for the final whistle as their team defended a free-kick in stoppage time, but no surprise that Everton messed it up; they had, after all, failed to demand a save from David Seaman in the previous 90 minutes.
Arsenal are currently like a touring team brushing the local opposition aside while struggling in the Test matches. The difference is that their manager, Arsene Wenger, insists the domestic stuff is his priority. After being given the run-around, twice, by Dynamo in the Champions' League, his players must certainly have enjoyed meeting this strange Everton side, full of central defenders and full-backs.
Additionally, although Dennis Bergkamp got no further than the substitutes' seats, Nicolas Anelka was fit again, scoring one goal and coming close to several more. Fredrik Ljungberg, not yet available for European games, made a worthy contribution in a floating role and Gilles Grimandi was untroubled in defence. Everton's captain, Duncan Ferguson, must be tempted to give the club sponsors a call and request a one-to-one with a winger who could supply the service he desperately needs. He received no support whatever from the £4.5m signing Ibrahima Bakayoko alongside him, and for Grimandi and Martin Keown, it was not exactly like facing Andriy Shevchenko and Serhiy Rebrov.
Last week Everton had finally managed a goal at home, when Michael Ball landed a free-kick on Ferguson's head. Two more set-pieces from Ball, both in the first half, offered the only possibilities yesterday of retrieving Anelka's goal: with neither Tony Adams or Steve Bould available to jump with him, and Seaman, on the second occasion getting nowhere near the ball, Ferguson headed once against the top edge of the bar and once wide.
At the other end, Anelka's pace took him past labouring defenders time after time, normally into the inside-left channel for a shot. That was how the goal came about in the sixth minute as Anelka, receiving from Ray Parlour, easily tricked the unhappy Richard Dunne. Marc Overmars, arriving on the left, was not required as the Frenchman dispatched a fizzing shot across Thomas Myhre.
In an identical situation shortly afterwards, the goalkeeper made two good blocks. He was beaten as Anelka latched on to Ljungberg's pass and put his next effort a foot wide of the far post.
Ljungberg, sticking to his instructions to keep on the move, twice headed dangerously at goal from corners, and switched regularly with Overmars, who cut inside just before half-time for a good attempt of his own, that Myhre held.
At the interval the visitors withdrew Dave Watson, one of their umpteen defenders, and put Danny Cadamarteri out on the right, where he saw little of the ball. Few Everton players did, except as it pinged past them.
Emmanuel Petit and Patrick Vieira, tired of sitting comfortably in front of the their unruffled back four, both stepped up for a shy. Petit, losing sight of the ball as he burst into the penalty area, suddenly discovered it at his feet, but was denied by Myhre; his countryman glanced a header wide from Parlour's cross.
Lee Dixon's strong drive was deflected over the bar, Overmars shot into the side-netting and Anelka might have completed a hat-trick. It was unfair, on this day, to criticise his finishing. "He's 19 and will miss chances," Wenger said. "He's a boy who wants to be the best. I wouldn't want to play against him."
Wenger did admit that failing to kill off Everton had raised uncomfortable memories of how Southampton escaped with a point in the previous Highbury game.
|Report © The Independent|
|Anelka papers over the cracks|
|by Martin Thorpe, The Guardian|
Arsenal's continued shyness in front of goal has not prevented the champions
from gate-crashing the Premiership table and yesterday another trademark
1-0 victory lifted them into second place behind Aston Villa.
The goal that beat an unadventurous and relegation-troubled Everton came from the left foot of Nicholas Anelka, the fifth successive league game in which the Frenchman has scored. But, perversely, the feeling remains that Arsenal still need to sign a more consistent goalscorer in order to maintain their promising start.
They were lucky to be meeting an Everton side who came for a draw and never seriously threatened to take advantage of Arsenal's lapses by scoring. Duncan Ferguson plopped one header on top of the bar and flashed another wide but Arsenal, as with so many of their games this season, carved out the bulk of the chances and fluffed all but one.
Shaking off the disappointment of Wednesday's defeat in Kiev, Arsenal began brightly, as Dave Watson headed off the Everton line from Ljungberg's header after only three minutes. Three minutes after that and Arsenal scored what turned out to be the winner. Lee Dixon broke down the right, fed the ball inside to Ray Parlour who cleverly let it run before feeding Anelka.
The 19-year-old left the hapless defender Richard Dunne for dead and headed for the left edge of the area. Ignoring the pleas of Overmars to his left, Anelka struck a rare left-foot shot past Thomas Myhre.
With Everton happy to position eight men behind the ball for much of the time, Arsenal continued to push forward, creating problems from midfield with balls over the top and through the channels.
Myhre blocked twice in succession from Anelka, who then shot wide from deep in the area after being released by Ljungberg's precise through-ball. And shortly Parlour had what looked a valid penalty appeal turned down as Watson grabbed his arm.
Everton reorganised for the second half, introducing Danny Cadamarteri's pace to the right wing. But Arsenal continued to threaten. Emmanuel Petit saw a promising shot blocked, Anelka missed the target again from inside the area and Patrick Vieira glanced a header about an inch wide.
But another Arsenal goal would not come. Still they won, leaving Everton only with victory in the yellow-card count at 5-3.
|Report © The Guardian|
|Anelka's rocket is enough for Arsenal|
|by Matt Dickinson, The Times|
THAT Everton could not have scored if these two teams had played until Christmas
should not disguise the truth for Arsenal. Slack in front of goal once again,
apart from a strike of the highest calibre from Nicolas Anelka, their
wastefulness is in danger of becoming a hard habit to break.
Given that his team leapt above Manchester United into second place in the FA Carling Premiership, Arsène Wenger, the Arsenal manager, will not be unduly worried. Dennis Bergkamp, left on the substitutes' bench as he recovers from his back injury, will add some missing venom and Frederik Ljungberg continues to grow in confidence and stature.
Their lack of attacking vigour has already cost Arsenal dearly in the European Cup Champions' League, though, and Wenger will know that there are domestic teams far more capable than Everton of punishing that flaw.
Arsenal squandered enough chances to win several games, but still cruised to the most comfortable of victories against an Everton side who may have changed plenty of personnel but still appear doomed to another hard struggle against relegation.
Ponderous in defence, anonymous in midfield, they created barely a chance worthy of note, with Ibrahima Bakayoko continuing to fuel the theory that it was a case of mistaken identity when Everton paid £4.5 million for him. He hardly looks a footballer, never mind a top-class striker.
Against such woeful opposition, perhaps it was understandable that the Premiership champions appeared to become as bored as their supporters. Wenger claimed to be on edge, fearing that his side would for the umpteenth time this season concede a late equaliser, but there was more chance of lightning striking the Arsenal defence.
The game was like a fireworks display where the one expensive rocket is lit in the first ten minutes to be followed by an hour of anticlimax. Anelka's goal in the sixth minute was a memorable strike, but it was followed by a damp squib of a game.
Lee Dixon started the decisive move by playing the ball forward to Ray Parlour, who fed it on to Anelka as he sprinted across the Everton back line. The Frenchman cut forward past the cumbersome Richard Dunne, but appeared to be heading down a cul-de-sac with the ball on his weaker left foot.
What followed suggested that it is weaker no more, as he unleashed a powerful drive across Myhre's flailing body and into the far corner of the goal.
The quality of the finish only emphasised how much the teenager had been missed in Kiev in midweek. Anelka has been as culpable as any Arsenal player in failing to show the killer touch, but Wenger sprung to his defence yesterday with a plea for patience.
"It was the best goal he has scored with his left leg," Wenger said, "a great, great goal and that is now five in the last six matches. You have to accept that a 19-year-old striker will miss chances.
"He's a boy who wants to be the best. He has the talent and the ambition, but we have to give him time. I certainly would not want to play against him."
Such was the ease with which Arsenal dominated the rest of the first half that one assumed the goal was the first of many. Guilty of over-elaboration on numerous occasions, they played as if the game was already won and who could blame them?
They should have had a penalty when Watson held Parlour back by the shirt after 36 minutes and Anelka pulled one shot across goal, but otherwise Vieira and Petit were happy to play at three-quarter pace, which was still way too quick for an Everton midfield in which John Collins was a particular disappointment.
That the visitors managed to pick up five bookings of the eight that were handed out was a minor miracle. They barely made five tackles all afternoon.
The second half was a fractious affair, however, and Duncan Ferguson and Vieira to no one's surprise were involved in some niggly tussles. Ferguson, the target all afternoon for a barrage of predictable clearances, had enjoyed his club's only real chances, heading against the top of the crossbar and then narrowly wide in the first half, but there was little conviction to Everton's late rally.
"I don't think we could argue with the result," Walter Smith, the Everton manager,said. "Arsenal were in command most of the time and all we caused them was a little bit of aggravation in the last 20 minutes."
"You never had the feeling we were under threat, but I was always scared because we could not finish it," Wenger said. "It doesn't look like we were nervous, but we lack a little aggression in the box to finish games. It is slowly becoming a worry." And so it should.
|Report © Times Newspapers Ltd|
|Arsenal stutter through with little in the tank|
|David Miller, Electronic Telegraph|
THIS proved a one-goal drubbing for Everton. For Arsenal to be defending
anxiously over the last 10 minutes, while Everton pumped the ball forward
in desperate search of Duncan Ferguson's head, was a strange distortion of
what had gone before.
It would have been no exaggeration had Arsenal won by a margin of three or more, yet yesterday's situation at Highbury was a continuing reflection of their present problem: lack of strength in depth.
Following their painful reverse in midweek in the Champions' League against Dynamo Kiev, they were perhaps fortunate to face such lightweight opposition at home and be able to move into second place in the Premiership. It was ironic for Arséne Wenger to say at the finish: "It was a relief when the game was over."
Everton are something of an illusion: an ordinary saloon expensively decorated with wire wheels, fog lamps and fluorescent body-trim but still, on the road, a plodding family saloon. Walter Smith, their coach, can polish the chrome all he likes but the former school of science, remaining seriously short of horsepower, could do little to stop moderate Arsenal's progress.
The bare statistics show that Nicolas Anelka had three spectacular cross-shots, and Ferguson two towering headers from corner kicks high above an Arsenal defence lacking both Tony Adams and Steve Bould. All five were worth a goal, but only Anelka's first effort, in the sixth minute, was stunningly on target. This was his most accomplished goal so far, technically brilliant, but in the absence of Dennis Bergkamp, there is seemingly no one else to be relied upon to capitalise on Arsenal's defensive and midfield authority. This has seen them concede only one victory in 12 matches, yet they have scored a meagre 14 goals.
Arsenal's deficiencies, as reigning League champions, are too repetitively analysed to need repeating: lacklustre Bergkamp, too few reserves, etc. Yet they were good enough now to dominate Everton in all but finishing power. On this showing, only Ferguson if he can restrain his temperament sufficiently to stay on the pitch stands between Everton and another relegation battle.
The small fortune spent on Marco Materazzi from Perugia looked wasted, for he mistimed countless tackles. Richard Dunne, built in the mould of his former boxing namesake, would in another era have struggled to rise above non-League football. He should have been seriously punished in the first half by Marc Overmars, who was switched for the second half to the right of midfield. Dunne himself moved from right-back to centre-back, where he looked equally ill at ease against Anelka's pace.
In Everton's attack, there seems little point in having acquired the expensive Ibrahima Bakayoko of Ivory Coast from Montpellier if there is not the midfield craft to give him realistic scope.
John Collins is doing his best to instil coherence, to bring his international experience to bear, but Everton have far to go to become a serious team. Loose talk repeatedly claims the Premiership to be the best of domestic leagues, but I suspect most Serie A teams would cause Everton embarrassment.
Anelka's goal was a peach. Arsenal had just forced three successive corners when Lee Dixon found Ray Parlour on the right. Ignoring the obvious pass to Overmars, Parlour deftly slipped it through to Anelka who, rounding the defence on the left, beat Thomas Myhre with a blistering cross-shot that flew a foot inside the far post.
The remainder of the first half belonged almost exclusively to Arsenal, bar Ferguson's two headers. Others besides Anelka shot and missed, including Dixon on the stroke of half-time. He leaned so far back he might have been looking for the moon, the ball soaring into the crowd. And he is an international.
|Report © The Electronic Telegraph|
|FA CARLING PREMIERSHIP|
|RESULTS (Game 12)|
|Saturday 7 November 1998|
Aston Villa 3 Tottenham Hotspur 2 39,241 Dublin 31,35, Collymore 47 Anderton 65:pen, Vega 76 Blackburn Rovers 1 Coventry City 2 23,779 Sherwood 73 Huckerby 53, Whelan 74 Charlton Athletic 0 Leicester City 0 20,021 Liverpool 1 Derby County 2 44,020 Redknapp 84 Harper 6, Wanchope 26 Nottingham Forest 0 Wimbledon 1 21,362 Gayle 23 Southampton 3 Middlesbrough 3 15,202 Monkou 60 Beattie 81 Gascoigne 47, Lundekvam 66:og Ostenstad 85 Festa 90
|Sunday 8 November 1998|
Arsenal 1 Everton 0 38,088 Anelka 6 Leeds United 2 Sheffield Wednesday 1 30,012 Hasselbaink 40, Woodgate 61 Booth 3 Manchester United 0 Newcastle United 0 55,174 West Ham United 1 Chelsea 1 26,023 Ruddock 3 Babayaro 75
|LEAGUE TABLE (after 8 November 1998 )|
Club P W D L GF GA GD Pts Aston Villa 11 7 4 0 14 5 9 25 Arsenal 12 6 5 1 14 5 9 23 Manchester United 11 6 4 1 23 9 14 22 Middlesbrough 12 4 6 2 20 15 5 18 Chelsea 10 4 5 1 14 10 4 17 Leeds United 12 3 8 1 13 9 4 17 Derby County 12 4 5 3 12 10 2 17 Leicester City 12 4 5 3 11 10 1 17 West Ham United 12 4 5 3 13 13 0 17 Wimbledon 12 4 5 3 17 19 -2 17 Liverpool 12 4 4 4 19 14 5 16 Charlton Athletic 12 3 6 3 19 16 3 15 Newcastle United 12 4 3 5 15 16 -1 15 Tottenham Hotspur 12 4 3 5 16 21 -5 15 Everton 12 2 6 4 7 11 -4 12 Sheffield Wednesday 12 3 2 7 9 12 -3 11 Coventry City 12 3 2 7 9 18 -9 11 Blackburn Rovers 12 2 3 7 12 17 -5 9 Nottingham Forest 12 2 3 7 8 18 -10 9 Southampton 12 1 4 7 9 26 -17 7