14 min “So, Moshiri leaving?” says Bill Hargreaves. “The tribulations of the unfortunately owned fans. Wasn’t long ago that many Gooners were hoping Usmanov would take over. Now we seem like sheep in clover. The Kroenkes seem to know what they’re doing, and the son at least seems genuinely attached. Was Everton no more than an ill-advised plaything? Man Utf no more than a greed-inspired trinket? Do the pre-match burgers taste better under the right ownership?”
12 min Nketiah leaves a bit on Pickford, who just beat him to Branthwaite’s iffy backpass. There wasn’t much in it, in truth, though it has stirred the home crowd.
11 min “One of the things sometimes given in defence of Moshiri is that he’s spent a lot of money on the team,” writes David Wall. “But ill-directed spending is no help at all, and in fact can work against the manager (see also Manchester United in the past decade, and Chelsea in the past year). All it does is create an unbalanced squad filled with big names, that supporters expect to see play and perhaps managers feel pressure to play, whether they fit the team or not. And on top of that it creates expectations, that having spent all that money the club should be successful. Perhaps we’d be better off when making predictions and forming expectations looking at the quality of the player signed and how they fit into a squad rather than just looking at the overall outlay.”
There’s more chance of me hitting my head on the ceiling of St Peter’s Basilica.
9 min One corner begets another when Branthwaite’s attempted clearance hits a teammate and ricochets behind. Arsenal work the corner short, back to Zinchenko. He guides the ball into Vieira, who wafts over from 17 yards. Half a chance.
8 min Odegaard’s sliderule pass towards Saka is put behind for a corner by Branthwaite. I forgot to say that McNeil is on the left, Danjuma on the right for the time being.
7 min Nothing much to report. Arsenal are dominating, though Beto has held the ball up well on a couple of occasions.
5 min “I sort of feel like Arteta’s ‘power’ comes from a Napoleon complex,” writes Eagle Brosi. “He feels he was a better player than anyone gave him credit for. This is why he slips up against Everton. He was their captain, he was loved; he doesn’t have that motivation to stay up till 2am studying their weaknesses. It’s also why every time Arteta’s been awarded manager of the month – he loses the next match. At least that’s my theory.”
As somebody who is a long way short of 6ft, I got nuthin to say.
3 min Some nice, rhythmic passing from Arsenal, who win the first corner on the right. Saka takes, Tarkowski heads away.
2 min Onana, not Idrissa Gueye, has started as the deepest Everton midfielder. That’s interesting. In fact, Gueye is basically following Zinchenko when Arsenal have the ball. Has a left-back ever been man-marked before? I think Phil Neville was brought on to mark Inter’s Javier Zanetti in 1998-99, though that was when Zanetti was at right-back.
1 min Peep peep! Bukayo Saka gets the game under way, with Arsenal kicking from left to right as we watch.
Match report: Bournemouth 0-0 Chelsea
“Good morning from Pittsburgh!” says Eric Peterson. “I would urge those considering Arsenal’s title chances to nip all such thoughts in the bud until they show they can actually play like it. Arsenal have, in order: stumbled to underwhelming one-goal wins over Forest and Palace, dropped points by yielding an equaliser to 10-man Fulham, and waited until stoppage time to finally get the winning goal against Manchester United (which may be the most shameful performance of all, come to think of it). The Arsenal I see so far this year is a clear level below the one that looked like the class of the division for three-fourths of last season.”
Yeah, I think only Liverpool might challenge City, though I said the same this time last year.
“So!” says Charles Antaki. “Here we go then with the Raya/Ramsdale face/off. With luck, Arteta will defuse it all with a judicious announcement of a temporary injury of some sort to Ramsdale, otherwise the whispers will begin in earnest. A 5-0 win over Everton will be the happier distraction, but recalling what happened last time, that’s not a given.”
Rotation is hard enough for young managers to master without adding an unnecessary layer. I suspect he’s trying to replace Ramsdale in stages, but that has risks of its own.
Bournemouth 0-0 Chelsea was the score in the early game.
Dwight McNeil starts an Everton game for the first time this season, replacing James Garner on the right wing. Vitaliy Mykolenko comes in for Nathan Patterson, which means Ashley Young will move to right-back. Beto makes his home debut and Dominic Calvert-Lewin is among the substitutes.
David Raya makes his debut in goal for Arsenal, while Fabio Vieira is preferred to Kai Havertz in midfield. Eddie Nketiah keeps his place up front for now.
Everton (4-1-4-1) Pickford; Young, Tarkowski, Branthwaite, Mykolenko; Gueye; McNeil, Doucoure, Onana, Danjuma; Beto.
Substitutes: Virginia, Patterson, Keane, Godfrey, Garner, Onyango, Dobbin, Chermiti, Calvert-Lewin.
Arsenal (4-1-2-3) Raya; White, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko; Rice; Odegaard, Vieira; Saka, Nketiah, Martinelli.
Substitutes: Ramsdale, Tomiyasu, Kiwior, Jorginho, Havertz, Trossard, Smith Rowe, Nelson, Jesus.
Referee Simon Hooper.
Arsenal have a love/hate relationship with the north of England. They’ve won titles at Anfield and Old Trafford; they’ve also lost them at the Reebok Stadium, the Etihad and Old Trafford. No team has been called “southern softies” more often; no southern team has had as many euphoric moments the wrong side of Watford Gap.
If Arsenal are going to win the league under Mikel Arteta, they will have to do better in the north. Last season they dropped 11 points in Manchester and Merseyside alone, including a costly defeat at Goodison Park in Sean Dyche’s first game as Everton manager.
Arsenal’s recent record at Everton is woeful, with just one point in the last five visits. Given the overall performances of the teams in those five seasons – Arsenal 340 points, Everton 237 – that’s far from ideal.
Everton’s home form is even further from ideal, with five defeats in the last six games, and their planned takeover isn’t going to plan either. They are in desperate need of a defiant Goodison victory; trouble is, Arsenal need three points every bit as much, for very different reasons.
Kick off 4.30pm.