Everton v Arsenal Preview/ Line-up. Time to Put TLX in Midfield!

Arsenal v Everton – December 21st, 2019

See the source image

Everton was founded in 1878 by the St Domingo Methodist New Connexion Chapel in Breckfield Road North; it was named St Domingo FC and was created so that members of the congregation could play football as well as cricket. The club was renamed Everton in November 1879 to allow people outside of the congregation to participate.

On April 17, 1888 Everton became a founding member of the Football League.

Representatives of the Blues along with Aston Villa, Blackburn Rovers, Bolton Wanderers, Burnley, Derby County, Notts County, Preston North End, Stoke, West Bromwich Albion and Wolverhampton Wanderers met at the Royal Hotel in Manchester.

The move followed concerns that too many friendly games were being cancelled thereby depriving the clubs of gate money, and playing a set number of matches home and away should offset any losses derived from losing friendly matches.

Membership was set at £2, 2s a year.

Everton’s nickname “The Toffees” or “The Toffeemen”, came about after Everton moved to Goodison. One of the possible reasons for the nickname was that there was a business in Everton village, named Mother Noblett’s, it was a toffee shop that sold sweets including the Everton Mint. It was also located opposite the lock up which Everton’s club crest is based on. The Toffee Lady tradition in which a girl walks around the perimeter of the pitch before the start of a game tossing free Everton Mints into the crowd symbolises the connection. Another possible reason is that there was a house named Ye Anciente Everton Toffee House in nearby Village Street, Everton, run by Ma Bushell. The toffee house was located near the Queen’s Head hotel in which early club meetings took place.

(Joe Mercer was born in Ellesmere Port in 1914. He joined Everton as a youngster and forced himself into the first team on a regular basis in 1935. Developing quickly, he became England’s left-half. The Second World War came and went and Sergeant Major Mercer, captain of his country, returned to Goodison Park having won 26 wartime caps. When he returned Everton had both a captain and a manager and Mercer, no longer a figure of responsibility became disconsolate. Arsenal heard about his disenchantment and signed him in late 1946 for £7,000. )

In 1925 they signed Dixie Dean from Tranmere Rovers.

Prior to the final game of the 1927-28 season Dean had been injured but was declared fit to play just before the kick off; the game was at home to Herbert Chapman’s legendary Arsenal side, he needed to get a hat-trick for the league scoring record. The Gunners had the famous Charles Buchan playing his final match before retirement in their defence and he was eager to ensure Everton’s young upstart didn’t steal his show. It was, however, undeniably Dean’s day. He scored the third goal of his hat trick and the record 60th of the season in the 85th minute. His record stands to this day.

A reporter wrote – “You talk about explosions, and loud applause; we have heard many explosions, and much applause in our long pilgrimage, but, believe us, we have never heard such a prolonged roar of thundering, congratulatory applause before as to that which ascended to heaven when Dixie broke the record.”

He scored 37 hat tricks for Everton – First: 17/10/1925, Last: 7/11/1936.

Dixie Dean – Scoring Record at Everton
  League FA Cup Club Total
Season Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals GPG
1937 1938 5 1 0 0 5 1 0.20
1936 1937 36 24 4 3 40 27 0.68
1935 1936 29 17 0 0 29 17 0.59
1934 1935 38 26 5 1 43 27 0.63
1933 1934 12 9 0 0 12 9 0.75
1932 1933 39 24 6 5 45 29 0.64
1931 1932 38 45 1 1 39 46 1.18
1930 1931 37 39 5 9 42 48 1.14
1929 1930 25 23 2 2 27 25 0.93
1928 1929 29 26 1 0 30 26 0.87
1927 1928 39 60 2 3 41 63 1.54
1926 1927 27 21 4 3 31 24 0.77
1925 1926 38 32 2 1 40 33 0.83
1924 1925 7 2 0 0 7 2 0.29
Total 399 349 32 28 431 377 0.87

 (Tommy Lawton one of the greatest goal scorers of his or any age began his career with Burnley and moved to Everton for £6,500, as an eventual replacement for Dixie Dean, in March 1937. He helped the club win the League title in 1939. In November 1953, Lawton was traded to First Division champions Arsenal for £7,500.)

Everton Domestic Honours: 

* 1st Division Champions (9): 1890–91, 1914–15, 1927–28, 1931–32, 1938–39, 1962–63, 1969–70, 1984–85, 1986–87

* 2nd Division: Winners (1): 1930–31

* FA Cup: Winners (5): 1905–06, 1932–33, 1965–66, 1983–84, 1994–95

* FA Charity Shield: Winners (9): 1928, 1932, 1963, 1970, 1984, 1985, 1986 (shared), 1987, 1995

European Honours:

* European Cup Winners Cup: Winners: (1): 1984–85

Now we get to our away games against the Toffee’s, we never played them in the old 2nd Division so our first game against them was on April 5th 1905 in the old 1st Division and it ended in a 1-0 victory for Everton.

The Premier League results have been in our favour with a record of –

W12, D8, L7, GF43, GA27, GD16.

Arsenal v Everton – EPL Away Results
# Date W D L GF GA GD
1 01-May-93   1   0 0 0
2 19-Feb-94   1   1 1 0
3 29-Oct-94   1   1 1 0
4 23-Aug-95 1     2 0 2
5 01-Mar-97 1     2 0 2
6 27-Sep-97   1   2 2 0
7 13-Mar-99 1     2 0 2
8 29-Apr-00 1     1 0 1
9 18-Nov-00     1 0 2 -2
10 10-Feb-02 1     1 0 1
11 19-Oct-02     1 1 2 -1
12 07-Jan-04   1   1 1 0
13 15-Aug-04 1     4 1 3
14 21-Jan-06     1 0 1 -1
15 18-Mar-07     1 0 1 -1
16 29-Dec-07 1     4 1 3
17 28-Jan-09   1   1 1 0
18 15-Aug-09 1     6 1 5
19 14-Nov-10 1     2 1 1
20 21-Mar-12 1     1 0 1
21 28-Nov-12   1   1 1 0
22 06-Apr-14     1 0 3 -3
23 23-Aug-14   1   2 2 0
24 19-Mar-16 1     2 0 2
25 13-Dec-16     1 1 2 -1
26 22-Oct-17 1     5 2 3
27 07-Apr-19     1 0 1 -1
Totals: 12 8 7 43 27 16

Overall Everton have the better record with Arsenal only winning 20 out of 71 games at Goodison Park, but our fortunes have reversed and we have a winning record in the Premier League era.

Arsenal v Everton – All Away Results
Division 1 20 18 33 112 88 -24
Premier 12 8 7 43 27 16
Total 32 26 40 155 115 -8

At the time of writing this Arsenal had still not made a decision on a permanent replacement for Unai Emery, although it appears that Mikel Arteta is one of the names being discussed. My earnest hope is that a decision is made in time for the new manager to have a positive input into possible new signings in the January transfer window.


Preferred Line-up v the Toffees:

The back remains weak so we will need to put up a strong midfield to protect them. Time for TLX. I prefer the work rate and linking up ability of Laca, especially with this midfield, and the running ability, with and without the ball, of Martinelli and Pepe (the two players who benefited most from Freddie’s first management spell) should also add bite to our attack.



84 thoughts on “Everton v Arsenal Preview/ Line-up. Time to Put TLX in Midfield!

  • Enjoyed reading that, GN5. Everton is a club with history that makes interesting reading; some latter day EPL fans are taken aback to learn that Everton has won more English League titles than Chelsea, but the records show so. Again, I had thought Goodison probably had a big Toffee market, complete with factories, from where they may have derived their nickname; little did one know it was maybe owing to the toffee shop or the traditional Everton mint tossing. Thanks, for clearing that up.

    One way to guarantee a result for us in that game is if the choice of a manager has been made and the party named, by match-day. Our lads need a boost (manager’s bump) from somewhere and anything to get them believing again. If we remain in an uncertain state, it won’t augur well for us. Iwobi and Theo will be looking to have a blinder, while Ancelotti may want us to see what we might have had in him. Overall, we have to play with some battlers (in midfield) and guile to overcome the pressure they will put us under, seeing how they’ve been relatively successful under big Dunc. So, I kind of like your predicted team (TA ?) but would rather have Auba than Laca; unless of course, they are played together.

    Good luck to the boys!

  • Very interesting stuff GN5!
    Now know just what expletive to spit at the tube–
    if-or-when a Toffee makes it necessary: “Mothernobletts!” 😠

    Hard for me to feel much animosity toward Everton. Who don’t like toffee? With results largely in our favor since I’d began watching. There’s also some Arsenal flavor on that roster with Alex Iwobi and Theo Walcott.

    + + +

    While ‘The Arteta Announcement’ has not been made official as of yet– The Guardian, BBC, and The Onacle have all confirmed it for Friday (today there, as of this posting). Multiple sources report MA as having made his goodbyes at MCFC.

    The Guardian mentions the unusual coincidence:
    “Arsenal are on the verge of confirming Mikel Arteta’s appointment as their head coach but he will watch Saturday’s match at Everton from the stands.

    In a similar state of affairs Everton hope Carlo Ancelotti will be announced as their manager in time to take a seat at Goodison Park, before overseeing the team for the first time on Boxing Day.”

    + + +

    If Ready Freddie can have the team– ready– to fire on Saturday– and bring home all 3pts? It will have been as much as could have been asked of him– having stepped into the breach.

    A win on Saturday versus those ‘Mothernobletts’– will leave Freddie’s Arsenal overall record standing at 2-2-2.


  • N5 … thanks again for always providing the other side of the picture.

    TA … I like your line up. I was worried at Saka at left back at City but surprisingly Mahrez and B. Silva never had the better of him. He even saved us conceding another goal by reflexly getting his toes to the ball across the face of goal the type that Kola failed to deal with leading to Sterling’s goal. However if Kola is fit, I’d play safe by playing the old hand.

    What baffles me is why it is not obvious to every body that our incredibly porous midfield needs Luiz. Not that he is a Fenandinho but he’d give three times what Emery’s fixture Guendouzi gives there. I remember before he got hurt in the game against Franfurt we had conceded a minimal number of chances. Apart from his defensive presence in the middle of the park he is also a good line braking passer.

    Statistically we ought to know by now that the team is worse without Xhaka. Though with Luiz at MF the worry is that the two (Luiz/Xhaka) fill into the same space just as the failed Xhaka/Guendz combo did. Xhaka stays deep and Luiz should be best staying deep. Playing two deep sitters leaves too much gap to our forward men unless we have to sacrifice one of our three forwards for a fourth midfielder. It’s a crazy dance trying to get the balance right.

    Martinelli is our best energy producer. He is a very direct player that suits the wide areas with its ample spaces. We also know that our undoing is the lack of intensity in our play. Dare we move Martnelli to a more central area of the field? That amounts to trading off a bit of his directness for a bit more energy into the team. If I was the coach I’d say, “why not, the others arrangements have have all failed”.

    The Auba or/and Laca head ache keeps pounding. I have argued severally about not playing them together. However until we are able to contrive a midfield that can give Auba the kind of balls he thrives on, I think it’s best to play them together with Laca at the centre. Laca throws up the dust and Auba steals in to score the goals. Crazy dance!

    My line up:

    Bellerin. Mustafi. Sokratis. Saka.

    Bench: Martinez: Chambers, AMN, Torreira, Willock, Ozil, Lacazette.

    Mustafi is not any worse than our current central defenders. They have all blundered this season. Games are coming thick and fast. It’s all hands on deck.

  • Yes it was good to read about the toffee connection and that it is relatively a tenuous one. Gunners’ one is a lot clearer! And I love JW’s ‘Mothernobletts’! And we score we should shout: Suck On That, Mothernobletts’!

    I like PE’s line up a lot, but I still prefer three in midfield and aim to control the game. Four attackers will also leave Xhaka and Luiz isolated imo, especially away. I want us to be hard to beat and then take one of our chances, with Auba coming on as a sub and benefit from the gaps left by tired defenders late on. Martinelli in the hole looks exciting though!

    Pb, thanks for you tactical comments in the last post. We will no doubt talk about this over the next few weeks.

    Let’s get A Treat – figure out the anagram! – today!

  • It is too quiet guys and yet thousands are visiting the site every week. Let’s be hearing from you.

    ON that note, give us a shout Seventeenho – Tiger of Tahoe!

    Also would like to hear again from Le Prof (did you see the Arse in Liege?), Johnnie from NYC, AB, HeheHenry, Retsub and the youth-loving Taxi-driver, and whomever I forgot! 😀

  • Great stuff GN5.

    Everton are one of my favourite clubs for a few reasons. Firstly, we usually beat them! Perhaps not tomorrow but our recent record is good.

    I have no idea who will play but be assured , if Lacazette doesn’t start then he will be off as soon as his agent can arrange it. How must he have felt to be on the bench watching as Smith Rowe, Saka and Willock got game time ahead of him? Humiliated is my guess.

    We HAVE to find a spot for Laca and I would drop Ozil as he rarely performs well Up North in winter – it is not his habitat.

  • Erik, I agree. Factoring in the sulks is part of the game. A bit of humouring the senior players so they give Arteta that vital early support, that is ….. until he sits pretty.

  • Here’s a team news update ahead of Saturday’s match at Everton:

    Hector Bellerin
    Tight right hamstring. Being assessed ahead of Everton (a).

    Dani Ceballos
    Left hamstring. Sustained during Vitoria SC (a) on November 6. Will miss Everton (a). Aiming to return to full training next week.

    Rob Holding
    Left knee. Bruising to knee. Being assessed ahead of Everton (a).

    Sead Kolasinac
    Right ankle. Ankle ligament injury sustained during Manchester City (h). Aiming to return to full training in January.

    Mesut Ozil
    Right foot. Sustained during Manchester City (h). Being assessed ahead of Everton (a).

    Kieran Tierney
    Right shoulder. Dislocated right shoulder during West Ham United (a). Kieran had successful surgery this week and will now rehabilitate for around three months, aiming to return to full training in March.

    Granit Xhaka
    Available for selection after concussion sustained during West Ham United (a).

    Copyright 2019 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to http://www.arsenal.com as the source.

  • Ok… Now we need to all get behind Arteta and give him time. It is a brave decision to take over Arsenal at this stage of the season with so much to do.

  • TA– a wee recommendation?
    Some of those contributors that we’ve not seen– email ’em.
    It’s been some time since you cranked the site back up– but then, it was offline for awhile. If they aren’t getting the new posts reminder via email? Out of sight, out of mind– and all that.

    Do so. It’s the right time of season to drop a hello on folks. 😃🎁


  • Great article at 14.54 Total, he really sounds like he is the right man at the right time. All of our hopes and aspirations for our club now rest in his hands.

  • Freddie, Per and Bouldie – but they all need the manager to be willing to listen to their individual points of view.

  • He will need a few wins in the next five games, GN5. It is all quite precarious, Imagine him getting only 8 points out of the next ten games then we all will start sweating.

    Per and Bouldie make sense right now.

  • The appointment of Mikel Arteta.
    (Honestly, welled-up typing that.)

    Arsenal didn’t just get a new manager. Arteta– is a leader.
    One characteristic the club need most– at this moment.
    One that can be counted on. To lean upon.

    I’ve captained. And coached. Led, and followed. At times– pushed myself beyond what I thought capable. For a cause, for the prize. For a leader in whose direction I believed.

    That’s the sense I have about Mikel Arteta.
    Arsenal is going to be alright now. Belief is how it starts.


  • Total here are our next 11 games – not a very easy start as a new manager – Everton twice. Chelsea twice, Man U and Man C – so six awkward games out of eleven. I would think that 17/20 points out of 33 would be realistic – more would be a positive bonus.

    Everton A
    Bournemouth H
    Chelsea A
    Man United H
    Crystal Palace A
    Sheffield U H
    Chelsea H
    Burnley A
    Newcastle H
    Everton H
    Man City A

  • Even without seeing the result of his work at Arsenal I feel the winds of change, it’s a good feeling.

  • As soon as Per, out of the blues, said he’d like to work with Arteta again (that was over three weeks ago) I smelt a rat. I have been a strong believer in both of them and I won’t be suprised if they team up. Their man management is superb. There is a great deal of attension and consideration in their firmness. That fits into the Arsenal way.

    Come to think of it now it was a mistake letting Monreal go. Arteta would need a clutch of senior players to give him professional support and Nacho would have been the nucleus of it. Luiz would come in handy. Sokratis has the correct commitment. Time for Bellerin to assume a leadership role. Auba, tough inside, is maybe too much of the nice guy. Xhaka, yes, but is his mind made up? Torreira, yes, he wants to fight. That’s the South American DNA. And from the outside we have to see it all from the point of view of a project that would succeed if we give Arteta our support. We must understand that he needs time.

  • PE, it was a shame we let Nacho go, such a focussed player who could also stand in as left CB.

    Re Xhaka, I will say it again. Arteta will need him and wont let him go. I predict we will see the best of him under Arteta.

  • Nice to see all the positivity on here on the announcement of Mikel Arteta as head Coach at Arsenal (that had a nice ring to it, even as I typed. I feel MA will whip this team into shape and have a gradual clear out of players who won’t fit in.

    Yeah, liked his responses to questions at his first presser. He will do well and we all must support him and be patient.

  • Well PE?
    Arteta could accomplish a ‘two birds/one stone’ feat.


    In January– Cazorla could return from Villareal where he’s enjoying a very good season (5G/4A 14GP) to date. Shore up the midfield need ‘for another Cazorla’– with the real thing. Possibly for just the remainder of this season– then join the coaching staff in some capacity (a thing both Santi and Mikel have discussed during their playing days).


    Pair Cazorla with David Luiz– to assimilate the Cazorla-Coquelin tandem. Solidify the MF. Again, if only for the next 6 months. Simple. Not a lot of cash to outlay. Might just solve the most pressing issue for the short term.


  • Well PE?
    Arteta could accomplish a ‘two birds/one stone’ feat.

    In January– Cazorla could return from Villareal where he’s enjoying a very good season (5G/4A 14GP) to date. Shore up the midfield need ‘for another Cazorla’– with the real thing. Possibly for just the remainder of this season– then join the coaching staff in some capacity (a thing both Santi and Mikel have discussed during their playing days).


    Pair Cazorla with David Luiz– to assimilate the Cazorla-Coquelin tandem. Solidify the MF. Again, if only for the next 6 months. Simple. Not a lot of cash to outlay. Might just solve the most pressing issue for the short term.


  • Well PE?
    Arteta could accomplish a ‘two birds/one stone’ feat.
    In January– Cazorla could return from Villareal where he’s enjoying a very good season (5G/4A 14GP) to date. Shore up the midfield need ‘for another Cazorla’– with the real thing. Possibly for just the remainder of this season– then join the coaching staff in some capacity (a thing both Santi and Mikel have discussed during their playing days).


    Pair Cazorla with David Luiz– to assimilate the Cazorla-Coquelin tandem. Solidify the MF. Again, if only for the next 6 months. Simple. Not a lot of cash to outlay. Might just solve the most pressing issue for the short term.


  • Jw1, Raul is the mastermind of our decline. Santi might not be what we want in the long term, but if we need a strongman in midfield, Santi is the one.. Santi/Xhaka/Tor pivot?

  • jw …. Carzola as player/coach! That would be a brilliant move. The dressing room needs to be infiltrated and energized by Santi’s affability and every player’s awe at his field technical excellence. Santi, effortlessly, would bring the samba and the smiles back.

    I have a feeling that behind the scenes the Kroenke’s do make a few calls to Wenger.

  • Our selling policy has been awful in recent times. Not just Monreal and Cazorla but others who have flourished away from the Emirates – Gnabry, Szczesny, Gabriel Paulista, Coquelin, Gervinho, and of course the man we really are missing, Aaron Ramsey.

  • Aught to be “sell right, buy right” but it’s been “sell wrong buy largely wrong”. More than anything its what brought us to our knees.

  • Hello, people!

    Another great introduction of our opponents.

    I can’t say I have special feelings for Everton. They seem to be one of those boring mid-table clubs that are too good to go down and too bad to mount a title challenge.

    Maybe all our troubles started at Goodison Park in December 2016. We scored the first goal of the game but the hosts turned things around and won 2-1 with a late Ashley Williams header after a wrongly given corner. It was the end of our 20-game run in all competitions without a defeat (which coincided with Mustafi’s injury). Up to that moment, we were title challengers. Our next game was at Etihad where we spilled another 1-0 lead and lost 2-1 – we never truly recovered from that.

    Arteta will need all support and a lot of luck.

  • I wish for Freddie to win his last game in charge. That should mean not having these four players together in the team more so as this is an away match … Ozil, Auba, Pepe and Goundouzi. They are good players who are unable to contribute enough when we don’t have the ball. Maximum of
    two of them at a time is what we can afford. Rule of the thumb.

    Am searching for energy points: Martinelli,, ESR, Torreira. Confused whether to include Laca or not. I can’t quite define it but he seems to derive his force from ‘negative energy’ like he is at war with the world. Well, if it does it for him it’s fine by me. Socratis has it, but needs to be better channelled. He is however suspende for this match.

    I think Freddie should focus on getting an energetic midfield.

    Bels. Mustafi. Chambers. Saka.

  • The kids take over! Confirmed.

    AMN. Chamb. Luiz. Saka.
    Nelson –ESR —Martinelli

  • Leno
    AMN Chambo Luiz Saka
    ——- XHAKA – Torr ——–
    ——— E S R ————–
    Marti —- Auba —– Nelson


    No surprise for me to see Xhaka return and good to see ESR (probably) in the hole position. MAN up-front. Nice to see Nelson given a chance (PB will agree).

  • don’t know what kind of crime laca may be guilty of, to be treated that way; freddie’s man-management has puzzled me as much as unai’s, to tell the truth
    anyway, this is the dawning of a new era – which i welcome heartily
    but if that nonsense should last under mikel, laca has to go in january, and i wish he could get the great club he deserves
    come on (young) lads – i feel very happy for “our” kids bukayo/ainsley/emil/reiss, make us proud, and beware:
    Big Mikel Is Watching You

  • It will be interesting to watch both Ancelotti and Arteta to see which one has the biggest impact on their teams.

    I notice that Ozil has not been selected, I don’t think he’s injured or sick/suspended so perhaps it’s yet another slap on his wrist?

  • Interesting lineup posted:
    AMN Chambers Luiz Saka
    Torriera Xhaka
    Nelson ESR Martinelli

    So much speed on the flanks.
    ESR will need to be everywhere.


  • If I’ve heard correctly?
    Youngest team Arsenal have ever fielded in the PL.

    ESR’s first PL start– and looks like it. Wish he’d use his instincts when the ball comes to him. He needs to turn and run into space. It’s been there a few times where he’s just tapped it back to the passer. Maybe time for Willock or Guendouzi.


  • the bottomless pit of mediodrity, falling down, down
    both teams sure need a change
    ainsley, lucas, bukayo, gabe, look very hungry, but i actually don’t think it makes much sense rating players in such a context
    auba has no hold-up play whatsoever, he’s the king of poachers but he needs alex by his side, doing the dirty job, holding up, tracking back defenders, biting their calves … and laca’s stats (goals/assists per minutes played – if you take penalties out) are actually better than auba’s
    as things stand today, the team looks like a soulless rock, and mikel like sisyphus at the foot of his moutain; he’ll need all our support, our love – he’ll go through hard times, let’s get ready to stand by him
    our hale end goldmine might be his siver lining (with eddie back home, maybe), who knows??
    anyway, back to the game; of course i could do with one-scrappy-out-of-nowhere-goal-nil victory …
    i love goodison park under the sun; just as highbury was, it’s the perfect football stadium to me; what a shame it has to be torn down

  • Clean sheet away. Never anything to argue about that.
    No shots on frame by the opposition– I’ll admit to being happily surprised.
    Might be the best of it. Other than so many youngsters getting PL experience.

    A point at Goodison under these circumstances– feels good actually. 👌🏻


  • PE. Are you? Did you see anything that indicated where improvement will come from? It was one of the worst games I have sat through against another very poor side.

  • Erik .. that shows that my self esteem is one of the many things Arteta has to work on. Am scared to death that a 0-0 is now one huge relief for me.

  • Freddie’s starting 11 and the substitutions, to me, is a sign that all is not well in the dressing room. It looked like he was reacting to something. I hope the fact of a new man (Arteta) sorts it out.

  • Freddie on Mesut Ozil…

    For me, I got asked after the game about Mesut. He walked off the pitch [in the Man City game] and then kicked his gloves. The fans were not happy. I got asked about it and said, ‘At Arsenal, that’s not how we behave and not what we do’. I stand by that. Mesut was injured but I would not have picked him for the squad because I want to make a stance that it’s not what I accept from an Arsenal football player. That’s my decision. I won’t make the decisions again but that’s what I think.

  • Erik–
    Wait. You were under the impression Arteta’s hiring– would bring a better performance? He’s not even had a training session with the team. What we saw were mostly youth players– with a smattering of senior ones– that have never before been on the pitch together in a live match.

    This Arsenal team? Defended against an Everton team of PL veterans– who had just played well in 3 consecutive matches vs. Chelsea (W3-1), United (D1-1), Leicester (League Cup, D2-2- lost on pens).

    This Arsenal team? Did not give up a shot on frame– where Bernd Leno might have been wearing a target on his jersey all season. There was only one situation where my danger meter ‘pinged’ at all.

    If I had told you pregame that Chambers would be MoTM. That Torriera and Luiz would be close seconds– and Granit Xhaka was nearly as stout. That would have been thought nearly impossible– right? Well, all of those things happened.

    Where the plan didn’t go as Freddie hoped– was his starting both ESR and Auba. Smith Rowe looked like he was playing his first PL match. Had he not been so awed by the event– and just been what he can be– he might have run straight onto a pass sent middle at the top of the 18 and hammered the shot past Pickford. Instead, deferring instead to Aubameyang who was unable to get it untangled, then shooting weakly.

    Auba, himself? All game, looked like he wasn’t a part of either team. Like a deer that had wandered out of the tunnel onto the pitch dressed in yellow.

    The team that was on the pitch might have been better– had Freddie started both Lacazette and Willock. That lineup, given 70 or 90 minutes might have found the goal.

    So. Am I going to be happy with a 0-0 away result against a team that has been playing well– from a bunch of kids and a deer (in the headlights)? Yeah. Think I am.

    Does Mikel Arteta have a huge task in front of him?
    Boy. Does he now.


  • The game was dull as weeks’ old dishwater, Erik. It was hard to watch but Arsenal really need to learn to be hard to beat first before we can play better attacking football, and hard to beat we were for the first time (as per JW’s astute observations). Going forward we were rusty when it came to first touches and accurate passing, but I liked the way the team was structured and with better technical ability/confidence/player-familiarity we could have won that game.

    Nelson and Martinelli struggled on the wings and so did ESR playing centrally. But they worked their socks off and helped with playing as a team. I was most disappointed with Auba’s positioning and running into the box; he remains an enigma to me, such a cool finisher when a chance comes to him but such lack of anticipation at times. I take the zero shots on target by the Toffees, the clean sheet and the point. Well done Freddie for not losing this one and giving Arteta something to build on.

  • It’s pretty obvious that there is dry rot in the dressing room and it’s now Arteta’s job to sort it out.

  • Yes GN5, Arteta will have to handle this tactfully as we need to get good value for those players, and I also hope he will refocus and reenergise some of those.

    Forgot to say how impressed I was with Saka. Bloody love him.

  • Our youth are our number one asset, the more seasoned group are a big problem and they are causing the dry rot. They show immature petulance both on and off of the pitch. I’d turn them into cash that we can use to invest in the type of players that will suit the new Arteta mold.

  • I think TA nailed it with a key word: structure. We haven’t had that since November 2015 but today we looked like a team that can defend as a unit. I didn’t count how many times we had two or three players cutting off their lad with the ball thus preventing creation of chances for Toffees.

    Saka and Martinelli gave their everything down the left side. Saka managed to stay on the pitch despite being on a yellow card before the half time break and he wouldn’t if Martinelli hadn’t supported him.

    On the right side, I thought Chambers and AMN did well defensively while Nelson had a few good attacking runs that should have been finished better.

    Midfield was, as expected, too deep and without someone to crown Xhaka-Torreira partnership. Smith Rowe was too impressed with his first PL start.

    As you all know, I’m not GX’s biggest admirer but I have always been suggesting him as Torreira’s partner. In games where our opponents struggle to press hard in the midfield (Everton have a few important CMs out), we can get the most out of Xhaka’s qualities.

    Luiz and Auba were two weak spots, IMO. Luiz didn’t impress me while Auba’s inability to get into the game in which he is a captain was frustrating. Auba was in a different match with his head. While his team-mates were probing around, he tried to teleport himself behind the Everton defence to get the ball nobody had sent at the first place.

    Arteta’s job won’t be easy. It will be even more difficult than the one he had in 2011 when he joined wounded Arsenal following 8-2 thrashing at Old Trafford, Arsenal with a single point from three opening games and some of our best midfielders either sold (Nasri, Fabregas), seriously injured (Wilshere) or inconsistent (Ramsey). In 2011-12, we won 21 games, drew seven and lost ten. Out of 21 victories, Arteta played in 20 games. Out of our ten defeats, he played in six.

    Judging by his playing days, Arteta should be the guy who’s going to get the most of our midfielders. Both Song and Ramsey played their best seasons alongside Mikel.

  • Good point, Admir. Arteta (and BFG) know what it is like to join/ work with an Arsenal team feeling low.

    GN5, both young and older players are needed to succeed and I am hoping for balance and harmony. If a couple need to go then so be it, but I don’t believe in a massive clear-out.

  • TA, GN5– some subtle, yet good points.
    That ‘dry rot’ didn’t need to become so advanced. Which might not have become so– had Emery been jettisoned earlier in the Fall. Perhaps a month or so. This was the first match where I thought Freddie had come close to putting his imprint on the team’s play (West Ham being fluke, a flurry of goals.) Till now– FL had been trying to mitigate the horrid habits Unai Emery’s tactics etched into our play.

    But the subtle part– as TA mentioned– is about not devaluing those we want to move on in January. Not limiting (or simply benching) those senior players– will take deftness on Arteta’s part.


  • Forgot about Saka!
    Think about– that. First-time starting at LB in the PL. Team keeps a clean sheet.
    Saka and Martinelli were the only semblance of attack on the day.


  • Saka was magnificent for a 18 yr old, little of frame and as I heard playing left back for the 3rd time in his career. I wish the clock is wound 365 days up specifically for him.

    In defence of Aubameyang: his game is poaching and runs of the shoulders of defenders. He did a lot of the latter but none of our players responded (watched a video analysis of his runs by Ian Wright). Vardy’s game is nothing other than such runs? Auba must be frustrated by the fact that the team can’t play to his strength. Only Ozil can but Ozil too needs the Santi kind of players to flower which the team doesn’t have. Our curse is that we have great players who don’t compliment each other.

  • Freddie on Ozil …. am fully behind Freddie here. It’s disgusting seeing our senior players being petulant like kids. Think of Milner substituted or our own Nacho Monreal. Quintessential professionals

  • Agreed with TA, Admir and PE. Saka in defense is good for him, and we need Xhaka to provide the defense splitting pass which he did not do today. Auba looked lost because of this. Luiz is a better player at seeing this type of gaps in the opposition but we really need a creative player that have an eye for this. Let’s wait until Ceballos comes back and I think we will do fine.

  • I can only repeat what many of you have said before: my glass is half full, because of the clean sheet away achieved by the youngest XI for quite some while. However, my glass is half empty though, because it was a boring game (well below Championship quality) where we had minimal threat to score – still more than the opponent. But I’m not entirely sure that Everton played so poor because we defended so maturely. So let’s not start celebrating our new star defense yet…

  • On Saka playing LB: that is not his best position, but he played there many times last season, as the U23 team was full of talented wingers. He often teamed up with the immensely talented Xavier Amaechi (Saka playing LWB behind Xavier playing LW), especially when Dominic Thompson (LB) wasn’t available. They both left Arsenal this summer unfortunately (Amaechi for Ł2.25M, which was a hefty sum for a 17-year-old, Thompson for a symbolic amount, but rumor had it, that it might have been a condition to the Tierney-transfer, as Celtic was eyeing a Brentford-defender to replace Kieran). To make the long story short – which is really not my strong suit – we don’t have promising LBs currently in the U23 team, but the 17-year-old U18 Joel Lopez who we snatched from the Barcelona academy could be the next gem (in 3-5 years). Until then we have Tierney, Kolasinac to cover the left, and Saka for contingency.
    I’m not worried.

  • PE, about Özil. Then what would you say about Granit Xhaka who is most loved here? I’m curious to know what you’d say… Oh, yes, poor Granit got two nasty and stupid comments on his Twitter. As if he is the only one to face stupidity. Oh, yes, sorry, poor Granit. Then he had the right to thow the armband, to throw the jersey and to leave back to the cabin. But Özil is not allowed to show disappointment and anger (surely at himself). The petulance is on FL side.

  • Sorry, i forgot: Özil has already shown this disappointment in front of Wenger, UE, Mou and they ALL understood saying that they like when a player is angry when he is substituted. FL has most to learn.
    And to ponder if It’s “Arsenal” to write F*** Boris as Bellerin did, to like comments against his coach and one of his partners as Auba did… lots of police work to do, Freddie.

  • PE, no doubt that Auba was not found on a number of occasions but there were 3-5 times that he showed no instinct of where the ball would likely be passed giving the run of the attacker and the positioning of the defenders, and time and again he got it wrong. I need to see that Wright’s analysis, though.

  • Pb, no shots on goal in an away game…. I say that again…. NO Shots On Goal. It simply is a big achievement and one that is very welcome if we want to get somewhere.

  • Thanks for the U23 analysis… Yes we are covered for the left side of the field. I am just hoping that Saka does not get injured during this busy period: he is playing a lot of games for his age right now.

  • Hmmmm Alex…. Xhaka also got reprimanded for his behaviour by UE/FL… You are mixing the response of some BKers with the official response by the coaches, my friend.

  • Alex … I said “senior players” and not a senior player. By the way am an Ozil fan but when I think he’s wrong I’d say so.

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