Everton vs Arsenal
Everton and Arsenal went head-to-head in Saturday’s early Premier League kick-off.
The tie was a bit of a strange affair as both clubs had appointed new bosses shortly before the game.
However, neither of the aforementioned managers were in the dugouts at Goodison Park with Freddie Ljungberg and Duncan Ferguson taking charge of their final games as interim managers.
Everton had certainly enjoyed the better form of the two sides heading into this clash.
In the three games Ferguson had managed before Arsenal the Toffees had drawn with Manchester United, beaten Chelsea and only lost to Leicester in the League Cup on penalties.
As for Arsenal, they had won just one of their last 12 matches across all competitions before kicking off at Goodison Park.
In what was Ljungberg’s final game as interim boss, he chose to start a fairly young eleven vs Everton.
Five changes from #ARSMCI…
Sokratis, Kolasinac, Guendouzi, Pepe, Ozil
David Luiz, Saka, Xhaka, Nelson, Smith Rowe#EVEARS
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) December 21, 2019
As for Everton, they made four changes from their last outing.
— Everton (@Everton) December 21, 2019
Everton & Arsenal uninspiring
Rather unsurprisingly, given the two sides contrasting form, Everton started the tie the brighter of the two sides.
However, the Merseyside powerhouse were dealt a big blow early in the tie as Alex Iwobi was forced off inside 11 minutes, being replaced by Cenk Tosun.
11′ We’re forced into an early change as @alexiwobi limps off.
Come on, Cenk! #EVEARS
— Everton (@Everton) December 21, 2019
The Gunners then looked as though they may be dealt an injury of their own as promising young talent Gabriel Martinelli went down and looked in a fair bit of pain.
However, the Brazilian was able to continue after receiving treatment.
Gylfi Sigurdsson then had the first half-chance of the game as he curled a free-kick wide 18 minutes in.
But with almost half an hour played at Goodison Park, neither side had registered a shot on target.
Perhaps more worrying for Arsenal though was the fact Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, their main man, had yet to complete a single pass with around 27 minutes on the clock.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is the only player on the pitch at Goodison Park yet to complete a pass.
Not in the game at all.
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) December 21, 2019
Martinelli then had Arsenal’s first decent chance of the game just before the interval but the youngster smashed his shot wide.
The first half drew to a close with neither side managing a single shot on target with both clubs’ new bosses likely not too pleased with what they had witnessed.
Ancelotti & Arteta have their work cut out
Everton would begin the second half on the front foot with Richarlison firing a shot across goal with 47 minutes on the clock.
But it would be Arsenal who managed the first effort on target as Jordan Pickford reacted well to deny Aubameyang from close range. The Arsenal forward then put another effort towards Pickford but there was little power behind it.
The North London outfit continued to grow into the tie as the game progressed with Everton dropping off a bit.
However, after their brief spell of positive football, Arsenal reverted back to the side we have grown accustomed to seeing in recent weeks.
And the tie eventually drew to a close at 0-0 with neither side covering themselves in glory.
Everton’s performance, in particular, was a bit of a surprise as in recent weeks under Ferguson they have looked a much-improved outfit.
But both teams were pretty awful on Saturday with a plethora of missed placed passes, a lack of energy, a lack of desire and neither side really showing the quality of a Premier League club.
It is also pretty clear that both Ancelotti and Arteta have huge tasks ahead of them if they wish to transform their respective clubs.