Arsenal v Everton Preview/ Line-up: Young Dog Arteta Faces Up to Wiley Fox Ancelotti

Arsenal v Everton – February 23, 2020

This is part of an article by David Hughes published by the Liverpool Echo.

There’s been a lot to like about Everton since the arrival of Carlo Ancelotti in late December. Since the Italian joined the club, the Blues have picked up the second-highest number of Premier League points and have closed the gap on the top five to just four points. This is significant given Manchester City’s two-year ban from all UEFA competitions for breaching FFP regulations, as this season’s fifth-placed team will likely secure a spot in next season’s Champions League.

Whilst there have been only slight adjustments at this stage by Ancelotti, they have still had a significant impact on various areas of Everton’s game – most notably perhaps their improvement in attack. There has been a stark increase in attacking threat in the seven weeks since Ancelotti’s arrival when compared to the same period before he joined the club. Under the Italian, the Toffees are scoring notably more goals on average per game. They are also attempting a higher number of shots per match too. These attempts are clearly of a much higher quality than before, which is highlighted by the boost in both.

These things are not always easy to quantify in numbers and can quite often be down to a multitude of factors such as tactical changes, improving confidence and form of players.

However, one facet does stand out when considering comments made by Ancelotti early on into his tenure as the Everton boss.

“At this moment we are not playing vertical, we are playing a lot of balls back, instead of playing forward – that is how we can improve. We can play more vertically” said the Italian after Everton’s 1-1 draw with West Ham in early January.

“We want to build up but when you have the possibility to play forward you must play forward quickly. If you are slow at the back you have less possibility to find space in the opponent’s half and that is something we have to improve.”

In light of the above, it’s worth noting Everton have increased their vertical passing from an average of 88.11 passes per game to a much higher 144.13 passes per game. This indicates we are seeing Everton move the ball from back to front much quicker, therein exploiting more spaces in the opposition set up and creating more high-quality goal-scoring chances. The beneficiaries of this improvement have been Everton’s two key forwards, Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin who have scored nine goals between them across Ancelotti’s eight league games in charge.

Now, thanks to these subtle adjustments made by Ancelotti, Everton look to be firing on all cylinders and are lining up a grandstand finish in the race for Champions League football next season.

Frankly that sounds just like the problem Arsenal had under Unai Emery.

Emery Rain

Arsenal has owned Everton in our Premier League home games, they have only beaten us once in twenty-seven games and that was back on January 20th, 1996. We have won the last five consecutive games and have outscored them fourteen to three.

This will be an interesting game from the managers point of view as both were hired just prior to the way game against Everton on December 19th, 2019 which ended in a 0-0 stalemate. Ancelotti has a record of W5, D3, L2, and Arteta’s record is W4, D6, L1 – so both managers appear to have stabilized their respective ships.

Arsenal v Everton – EPL Home Results
# Date W D L GF GA GD
1 24-Oct-92 1     2 0 2
2 28-Aug-93 1     2 0 2
3 14-Jan-95   1   1 1 0
4 20-Jan-96     1 1 2 -1
5 19-Jan-97 1     3 1 2
6 03-May-98 1     4 0 4
7 08-Nov-98 1     1 0 1
8 16-Oct-99 1     4 1 3
9 21-Apr-01 1     4 1 3
10 11-May-02 1     4 3 1
11 23-Mar-03 1     2 1 1
12 16-Aug-03 1     2 1 1
13 11-May-05 1     7 0 7
14 19-Sep-05 1     2 0 2
15 28-Oct-06   1   1 1 0
16 04-May-08 1     1 0 1
17 18-Oct-08 1     3 1 2
18 09-Jan-10   1   2 2 0
19 01-Feb-11 1     2 1 1
20 10-Dec-11 1     1 0 1
21 16-Apr-13   1   0 0 0
22 08-Dec-13   1   1 1 0
23 01-Mar-15 1     2 0 2
24 24-Oct-15 1     2 1 1
25 21-May-17 1     3 1 2
26 03-Feb-18 1     5 1 4
27 23-Sep-18 1     2 0 2
28 23-Feb-20            
Totals: 21 5 1 64 20 44


Arsenal v Everton – All Home Results
Division 1 44 11 15 132 77 55
Premier 21 5 1 64 20 44
Total 65 16 16 196 97 99

Overall we have dominated Everton in our home games and have outscored them by almost one hundred goals.


TA’s Predicted Line-Up:


42 thoughts on “Arsenal v Everton Preview/ Line-up: Young Dog Arteta Faces Up to Wiley Fox Ancelotti

  • Our medical team have given us an update on the status of our squad ahead of Sunday’s game against Everton.

    Here’s the latest news:

    Hector Bellerin
    Back in full training and being assessed ahead of Everton (h) further to missing Olympiacos (a) as a precaution to tight left groin.

    Calum Chambers
    Left knee. Ruptured anterior cruciate ligament of his left knee during Chelsea (h) on 29 December. Successful surgery completed. Rehabilitation process expected to take between six to nine months.

    Mesut Ozil
    Available for selection.

    Cedric Soares
    Left knee. Progressing well with gym work. Aiming to be in full training by the end of February.

    Sokratis Papastathopoulos
    Right knee. Sustained during Olympiacos (a). Being assessed ahead of Everton (h).

    Lucas Torreira
    Available for selection.

    Kieran Tierney
    Right shoulder. Dislocated right shoulder during West Ham Utd (a) on 9 December. Good progress being made in rehabilitation process and has commenced participation in group training sessions. Aiming to be in back in full training by the end of February.

  • N5 … that’s a good insight into Ancelotti’s Everton. A stupendous increase in their forward passing.

    Ancelotti is a very experienced coach. That means he has emotional patience. He might see a hundred things wrong but he is able to identify the most basic flaw and start with it only.

    Arteta did same, his being impoving our energy without the ball. Such instructions are kept alive by repetitions until response to them are transferred to muscle memory. If there are too many instructions, as Mustafi said, some basic vital ones could be forgotten. I guess that was the bane of Emery.

    Both managers watched from the stands as their teams played a dull 0-0 about 2 months ago. Tomorrow’s encounter would have the taste of a verdict on their progress.

  • Fine preview, as always, GN5. Playing Everton now (with a manager like Ancelotti) will present its own challenge, no doubt and with Theo a bit more involved, we can expect a test for our defence. I expect us to pass it, mind. It plays right into our hands for Everton to come here thinking to play “vertically” because we have the players to hurt them using the gaps they will obviously leave behind.
    It is in the physical battles we have to improve to win this one. Everton, to a man, play very aggressively and love the physical side of the game; CBs must be wary of Calvert-Lewin’s brash style and try to dominate him early. Richarlison must, as well, be given no room or he can hurt us.

    Now, enough of the opposition. With Torreira, Ozil and Pepe well rested, they will hold the ace as we bid for the 3 points. Torreira will help to keep dangerous passes from reaching the Everton forward men while Ozil and Pepe will help press the away team back, along with Auba and Laca. Ancelotti bemoaned Everton’s poor record against the “top 6”, vowing to change the trend at the Emirates. News flash, Mr. Ancelotti. Arsenal are not in the top 6 at the moment and only hope to work their way back with wins, including against Everton. So, meh.

  • TA, like the predicted line up. Only thing is how only Torreira and Ceballos names came without an appellation. It looks like the kind of team Arteta will start against Everton so, expect an 11/11 call.

    I hope Theo and Iwobi both get a good welcome….. but only at the start and finish of the games.

  • I should add that I thought TA’s player ratings from the Olympiakos game was on the money. Mustafi was imperious and looked a changed man; the one we’ve always argued was in there somewhere. Saka keeps surprising me. He is one whom I want so much to see do well that I get a bit critical of his output. When he was introduced to the first team as full back, I thought he was a soft touch and needed a couple of years. On Thursday night and in recent games, however, he’s stunned me with how well he is playing. Keeping a fit Kolasinac out of this team is no mean feat.

    Long may it continue.

  • One (or two) more thing(s) about the Olympiakos game. I thought David Luis did well too and was very involved in all the good things at the back. Something which went under the radar was Arteta starting Bendt Leno in goal, quite against recent tradition at the club where a different keeper played the cup games and Europa league, while the No. 1 plays in the EPL. For me, it is a pointer as to the importance the manager attaches to the Europa KO stages. Arteta is a man who isn’t afraid to go against the grain and that does bode well for discipline at the club.

  • TA … yours look the likely starters. However I strongly feel that 18 year old Saka whose role entails a lot of sprinting might be rested with Kola as the replacement.

    Torreira is fit and I expect him to start against the Everton who are a lot more attacking than Ncastle. But he lacks the forward passing range of Ceballos, who in turn lacks the defensive skills of Tor. What I would like to see is Xhaka, Tor and Ceb start together at the expense of Laca. We still don’t create enough chances.

    I’d prefer Auba is played more centrally. Team’s average position of players:


  • Eris … Everton’s physicality …. surely not to a man if Walcott and Iwobi start. That I can swear.😂

  • Lol, PE. Maybe, you’ve not seen Walcott lately; and Iwobi is a strong lad who is difficult to nudge off a ball. Regardless, I’m sure you get the drift. 😎😀

  • Thanks again GN5– and also to Kev for those injury updates.
    Interestingly– two clubs that floundered this season until each bringing in their ‘A’-list managers– instilling consistency in their games and routines. Everton has gone unbeaten since a loss to Pool on 1/5.

    Read (someplace I can’t readily recall)– that Arsenal are one of two teams in Europe who have not lost in 2020 (along with Pool).

    Proud my confidence in the hiring of Arteta– seems to be on the road to fruition. Shame all of the unpleasantness– in between then and now– could not have been avoided. Focusing on the present is the reality– and it’s been great. Seeing Arsenal’s culture rescued, as it teetered on the precipice of oversized egos– is fulfilling. Now a comfort for me. Imagining what might have been accomplished in the intercededing months of Unai Ennui? Progress unrealized. Where might we be sitting now? Instead of– a probable extra season attempting to gain entry to top-tier European competitions.

    Fire at will– fast-forward from here!


  • Hi fellas… Thanks for another fine preview… I feel very “out of it” at the moment and I’m pushing my slow internet connection trying to diagnose my espresso grinders (which–both–refuse to grind fine enough for my machine). As such, I really don’t want to look too far into why Everton are on the up since Carlo took over…

    So, I’ll buy that it’s all about pushing the ball up (more) quickly through the lines, which at least tends to make for exciting football–high reward, but also high risk. From the comments, it also sounds like the new manager is featuring the former Gunners (Walcott and Iwobi) a bit more as well…

    In my view, Emery was overly focused on the risk element (or vertical, and, especially, center of the pitch, football) which made us a timid, backward looking sort of team. But, supposedly, this was married to egos getting too big as well?… This I don’t quite understand. I still think he (Emery) was well liked by upper management (Raul–and thus his hiring was approved by ownership) because he described a way of playing that would get results AND clear the books of our creative guys (notably Ramsey and Ozil, sooner than later and maybe some other Wenger signings on salaries that felt too large). Play around the back, lure the opponent into pressing too far forward than either lump it (forward and wide) or just let them have it and hope to spring on the break. If you want a mid-table wage-bill you should play like a mid-table club, right?…

    Under such a system–asking the players to play in a cowardly fashion–how do egos grow so quickly? Is the idea that if you tell a kid from Ligue Deux that he’s got better hair AND that he’s as important as Rambo or Ozil, it will go to his head…and then others will believe it too… (Maybe sort of a “trickle up” in unwarranted self-belief?…) Watch the video, practice the system, and, as individuals at least, we can just have a lark at practice?… Hmmmm…

    I’m more supportive of the idea that being told that it’s good to want the ball and then do things with it just is a more inspiring approach. (And, of course, that fitness and focus are also worth pursuing…) Yes, a team should believe that it’s dangerous EVEN without the ball, but they should also believe that it’s not such a bad thing to have it at their feet also…

    Anyhow, I’m giving a ride to the airport tomorrow during the match which simply MUST be a better display than that reverse fixture (nil-nil, both coaches named but only watching as the interims mopped up) which I did see (after another airport run). Still, I think it might be rather cagey–defending as a first priority, playing on the break and the patience that we can outlast teams and win late on (as we did in Greece or even vs Newcastle). Lineup wise, I’m feeling like little Lucas is not on Arteta’s warm side (while Ceballos has gotten all the kudos and thus might start again…) and that he also might go with Eddy up top (as he did vs Toonies). With a lead coming home for the 2nd leg vs Olympiakos there’s more latitude for deeper rotation in that one, I think…

    But, of course, what (TF) do I know…

    Go on then…

  • If you want an explanation about the egos comment HT– just ask. Nobody likes their views Emeried. Expressed in the least deciperable version conjurable. A trait best deployed in smaller, less frequent doses.

    The egos-at-play were Raul’s and Unai’s. Raul by pulling a coup when AW was ousted. Then power-grabbing after ousting Sven. Then deeming Emery the right choice to terraform a club whose culture was settled– instead of focusing on the imbalanced roster. The other massive ego-schism was all Emery. Overtly taking on and punishing the best players (because Neymar&Co stamped on his ego at PSG). Causing unnecessary schisms in the team. Almost every of his (de)motivational and tactical attempts caused results to backslide.

    “Seeing Arsenal’s culture rescued, as it teetered on the precipice of oversized egos– is fulfilling.”

    But, of course, what (TF) do I know… 🙄


  • JW, we might be out on our own this decade since Liverpool lost at Atletico…?

    Fantastic to see young Daniel Ballard training with the seniors, that lad a drive about him, he just keeps fighting for his career, it would be marvellous to see him make it at Arsenal.

    Eris/PE, how long do you think it’ll be before the Nigerian FA will be knocking on Master Saka’s front door, with maybe Alex Iwobi being instructed by his national coach, to have a word in Bukayos ear? 🙂

  • True Kev– and I watched that game DVRd till I fell asleep earlier this week. 🤷‍♀️


  • Kev … you bet they’re already knocking. But my gut feeling is that the family (culturally at this his age family are still so much part of one’s life) would want his career path (club football) on firmer ground first.

    The English FA are less likely to act pre-emptively so they can afford to wait until a bit later while his career develops. Remember, just my gut feeling.

  • PE, Saka should focus on his club football first. Once the war of the clubs for his signature is done we will be able to see him more relaxed and playing better football.

    For now, i would want him to focus on playing for us, game by game.

  • 84, that’s exactly what i think he’s doing. He seems a level headed boy. Arteta looks a very perceptive fellow, and he has said as much that he has a gem in his hands.

    Clearly (to me at least) Saka can play anywhere in the front 3. He is very quick in decisions and seems to always choose the best option. I dont think he’d want to rush out of Arsenal so esrly in his journey unless we bungle it.

  • Saka’s physical proportion gives a wrong impression of his height at1.78m (5ft 10ins). I was suprised to see that he is taller than AMN, Nelson and Nketiah.

  • I hope so PE, but you couldn’t blame him for opting for the Super Eagles, tbh I’m very concerned about Arsenal tying him to a new contract because potentially he’s the most talented youngster to come out of our Academy since Jack Wilshere, David Rocastle and maybe even Liam Brady…

    I see that Dino Mavropanos went off injured after 13 minutes yesterday, a major worry with that lads injury record…

  • allezkev, I’m sure that you mean you are worried that we will not be able to sign him to a new contract. I’ve yet to see the lad play a bad game in any position, he is the very rare type of player that a team can be built around.
    Arteta needs to become a father figure and spend a lot of time nurturing him and convincing him that Arsenal is the place to stay and polish his skills – and that he is loved by the club and fans alike.

  • You are correct GN5, that’s exactly what I meant, well done for spotting my deliberate error.

  • Leno, Kola!, Luiz, Mustafi, Bels, Xhaka, Ceballos, Ozil, Auba, Pepe and…… Eddie!

    And a good bench. Nelson, Torreira, Laca, Guendo, Martinez, Saka, Big Sok

  • Bearing in mind GN5 that he has the same agent as Jaydon Sancho and that he’ll be well aware that in 18 months that Saka can walk for peanuts, how far do you think that the club should go from a salary perspective, I’ve read that he’s currently on £3,000 per week, which is about average for an 18 year old footballer at his stage of development at Arsenal and that the club are talking in terms of an increase to £30,000 per week, but that his agent is stalling.

  • allezkez,

    We can all see that Saka is a super star in the making (if not already) and any “business” must always protect it’s major assets, they should be thinking in terms of the high five figures to the low six. In some way they have to be able to secure his future for the next 5 years.

    30k a week is totally inadequate and it would be ridiculous to cheap skate such a wonderful talent.

  • I’m really looking forward today’s game, in the meantime on the TV I’m watching England v Ireland rugby (17-0) at the half – and I’m watching shoot out snooker on the computer – both on DAZN.

    This morning I watched the full replay of the Fury/Wilder heavyweight fight. It looked like a giant (Wilder 6’9″ and 271lbs) toying with a teenage (Wilder 6’7″ and 231lbs).

  • surprising team selection
    benching a forward who seems to have found his scoring boots again, sidelining lucas once more … actually resting bukayo and picking kola to face in-form sidibé: that i might understand more
    tough afternoon ahead; the italian master has a gift for making his teams play with confidence – precisely what the toffees lacked before he took over – they have talented players all over the pitch

  • Thanks for that GN5, I guess you have to look at Hudson Odoi at Chelsea and the six figure salary he got for agreeing to a new deal, that’s set the bar as Saka’s agent will know.

    Not a great start as our run of clean sheets disappear.

  • HT
    two goals conceded at the worst moments
    too bad … our tiny genius had changed everything, after we started poorly – again
    very happy for eddie: bukayo, eddie, reiss, emil, joe … our future has hale end written all over it
    it was a very good half, the kind of game you feel very frustrated to have to watch on a tv screen, not from the stands
    all the lads have vindicated mikel’s choices – with a caveat for pépé, who should do much more, both defensively and offensively, it’ll come, i like the lad, but right now he’s not in the groove
    i’ve enjoyed the performances of maestro mesut and of hector, on his path to becoming his old self again
    it’s gonna be tough, their early goal made them lose their focus, but their equalizer will have given them a tremendous boost
    come on lads, keep up with the good job

  • David Luis looks like he may have twisted something. Last thing we need now; two defenders off with injuries. Disruptive.

    Luis is made of sterner stuff and is up, albeit limping.

  • The reason Arteta will play Eddie instead of Laca has to do with his better movement in the box; hopefully, Laca takes the cue and improves his running in behind defenders.

    We will need another goal to make this certain, you’d feel.

  • Time to make the changes to re-energies the play. We look like we’ve dropped off a bit. Bernard on for Everton; dangerous customer to be watched. Bellerin must be a bit more watchful of the runs from his flank.

  • Huzzah!
    B2B wins since the two opening matches (NEW, BUR).
    The two goals against were cheap ones. Though Everton, particularly Calvert-Lewis should have bagged that many by his lonesome.

    Did you see the pressing up top by Guendouzi! That was a pleasure to watch. On many counts. That he and the attackers kept the Toffees in a state of rush– was great! But I’m very happy to see Mikel– give Matteo a job– even just the task– of harassing the ball. And Matteo doing it with such fervor.

    Very enjoyable match. Even with the nail-biting moments.
    3-2 to the Good Guys! Go Gunners!


  • well … we did feel the heat, didn’t we?
    a coach’s victory, the kind he knows will bond his squad
    bernd’s a giant, he’s been outneuering neuer for some time now
    bukayo’s tired, obviously, which is probably why he wasn’t picked in the first place – he shouldn’t play in the el thrusday, nor at portsmouth for that matter
    pépé needs a 45-minute warm-up, this is the last time i’ve commented upon his performance at ht – having said that his assist was great but he faded away after that; anyway he has tremendous qualities, no question about that
    i feel laca would have helped us hold the ball better after the 60th minute, but i don’t want to sound grumpy, the lads’ bravery was a thing to warm any fan’s heart
    looking forward to the rest of the season, of course – a big thank to you mikel

  • That’s the kind of win that boosts the confidence for the next three games we have coming. Win all three and no way we aren’t pushing the 5th placed team.

    I perceive there is a “ploy” to “help” United and/or Spurs get to that 5th place, at the worst. I think of the recent poor calls the officials have made in games involving those two and I am not comfortable. Harry Maguire blatantly kicked out a Jorginho(?) in that game vs Chelsea and gets away without a red card, going on to score their first goal afterwards. Giroud denied a crucial goal back, because of a toe being offside. Then, Le Celso let off the hook after a stamp on Azpilicueta (good thing, Chelsea went on to win but he could have been suspended for three games. See?).

    Today, Martial has pushed a Watford defender, went slightly offside before receiving the pass for his goal. There wasn’t even an indication that VAR rechecked that goal, even though we hear they check all goals. I know I sound paranoid but I observe these things and have to say it as it looks to me.

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