Everton Review: We Got What We Deserved

Everton 2 – 1 Arsenal

Arsenal stared the top of the Premier League in the face and looked away in horror, declaring it too vulgar for them. It’s so coarse to be ambitious or put pressure on your title rivals; let them show their mettle or let them hand the title on a platter to us but we shall not win it.

Instead of putting pressure on Chelsea, we handed the initiative to them. By kick-off at the Etihad on Sunday, we could be trailing them by NINE points. Oh stop being so dramatic, you say; they’ve got Sunderland and Palace, say I.

Losing to Everton was a hugely disappointing result but not for those reasons. The opening forty minutes were Arsenal’s; one-up, a lead which could – and perhaps should – have been more but comfortable. The Toffees were so hell-bent on self-destruction that their best centre back tried to maim their best midfielder. Slapstick scenes played out in front of 40,000 people.

Everton were on the floor, waiting to be counted out but with three minutes of the half remaining, Goodison Park breathed hope in and came to life briefly before Clattenburg’s whistle intervened. There was a tangible change in atmosphere though and from the beginning of the second half, we were on the back foot.

I wouldn’t criticise the team selection because of that opening phase. We controlled proceedings with every Everton clearance finding a yellow shirt and the cycle of Arsenal began again. Passing between the players was good, calm under pressure although several good possibilities were foiled by the slightest of underhit balls.

Winds Of Change Blow

The second half saw Everton push forward; they weren’t content to stand off any longer.

Whereas Arsenal passes had been crisp and accurate, they were now being met by a shirt of blue. There was a sense of inevitability when the equaliser came although being Arsenal, the prospect of a false dawn arose. Stekelenberg saved Iwobi’s shot well; the Dutchman had one of those ‘Dickie Guy’ nights. Shots stuck to him, no matter how unorthodox or fortunate the save was.

And then Everton equalised. Of course, it’s all the referee’s fault. I agree it wasn’t a corner but we have to play to those decisions. Complain bitterly but for god’s sake, stop making out it’s the referee’s fault we lost. It wasn’t; it was ours.

Arsenal players are imbued with Papal Infallibility by some. Neither they nor the officials are faultless. They get it wrong but as with Stoke – the foul by Xhaka gets worse with every look; oh and Howard Webb said it was harsh not that it wasn’t a foul – it’s becoming a matter of interpretation with the officials always being wrong.

We’re using replays and hindsight to judge decisions to the nth degree, bemoaning our luck as an excuse not to look at the team’s or individual failings. It doesn’t have to be a witch hunt when you criticise a player or official; simply a look at where the issues are. Interestingly, FIFA is experimenting with a video official at the Club World Cup in Japan. Will they help and raise wider issues of interpretation?

A feeling of impending doom followed Everton’s equaliser. The iwinner came from a predictable source. Ashley Williams maimed a team-mate and was rightfully punished for the stupidity of holding his hands behind his back. As I’ve long said, if you stand like that, you significantly impair your mobility. Alexis’ poorly struck free kick became unstoppable thanks to the deflection off the inside of Williams thigh.

Even Arsène Thought We Beat Ourselves

The winner was rank poor marking on our part; a common fault. Yes, we missed Mustafi but one player isn’t marking a whole team. Too many blue shirts were in enough space to get a shot or header away had the ball fallen to them. It’s something we routinely fail to improve on and there’s always a nagging question that because we’re not particularly good at corners ourselves, how can we practice defending them properly?

Arsenal didn’t try to hide his disappointment afterwards:

“We lost the game because I feel we started well and after that maybe we lost a bit of urgency because we were a bit too comfortable and then Everton made it very physical.

“Overall, I believe that from then on it disturbed our game and we created less flow going forward. In the end, we unfortunately didn’t take our chances or two. We didn’t create too many but we had clear-cut chances in the game that we didn’t take.

“After that you can be caught away from home on a corner like that.”

Everton were there for the taking at that point but we lack the ruthlessness to do so. That’s a recurring theme and one which will cost us the title. There’s a long way to go but as we saw last season, once teams get a long way ahead of us, we never claw it back, unless they are Tottenham.

Sunday has now become a must-win game. The question is whether we have the will to do it.

’til Tomorrow.

43 thoughts on “Everton Review: We Got What We Deserved

  1. Pete the Thirst says:

    Familiar Arsenal failings. We dominated the first 20 minutes, but took our foot off the gas, just like at West Ham a few weeks back. This time we were punished.

    Both Everton goals were down to poor defending. Tracking players in the area, cutting out crosses, jumping for headers..all things we failed to do.

    I felt the Ox, Walcott & Ozil didn’t turn up last night. Surely the Ox should be on the right of midfield?

    Not the end of our challenge, but as you say YW puts a lot of pressure on Sunday’s game.

  2. Damon says:

    So Koeman has shown everyone that the high press and intense style is the way to go against us. We don’t have the mettle to match it.

    so Man City away becomes a must win game for us. Interesting that Pep isn’t really renowned for drilling his team in a high press style and hasn’t been very successful in implementing it at some of the best team’s in Europe for the best part of a decade now.

    Come to think of it, in our other league defeat this season to date, Klopp didn’t go that way either

    Oh, hang on…….

    Bugger

  3. Ras says:

    Good afternoon YW. I would beg to differ and say it was a mere 20 mins or so that we were in control.

    TW and The OX were both poor last night. Ozil was ball watching as the ball came in for the 2nd goal. I agree totally that Everton were there for the taking. We did not turn up simple as.
    It was one of them grim nights up north.

  4. Bufallo says:

    At least we’ve been spared one of their ludicrous selfies congratulating themselves on winning precisely zilch. So fed up watching the same outcome year after year after year. If we aren’t trying or able under this manager to win the league we may as well get relegated as far as I’m concerned. Finishing anywhere but 1st is a failed season.

  5. Jonny says:

    Yes I agree first twenty only – I agree about our all too familiar failings but I thought Everton deserved some credit for the intensity with which they played.

    Also Sunday, a must win? Maybe.

    I fancy a draw would see us still in reasonable touch but yeah Chelsea will take some catching – for sure.

  6. Buckagh says:

    Bufallo,

    Come on Lighten up a bit.
    We’ve got away with several poor performances either nicking a draw or scraping a win last night’s result has been on the horizon for sometime. As YW says we are not going to win the title this season, I’ll wager or any other season

  7. CorpFinG says:

    Last night’s defeat is certainly not welcome, especially given how poor everton is. But I’d like to stay optimistic, for now.
    Its all about how we respond to this defeat. Arsene needs to lay into the players. And we need to get an unbeaten run ASAP. Anything less means another crumbled title challenge on our hands this season.

  8. C says:

    I think Lukuka’s elbow on Kos was ‘t a foul and neithef was Xhaka’s.

  9. C says:

    Top summary Yogi.

    While I am frustrated because of how poor Everton has been, I’m going to try and stay positive. I thought we actually handled their pressing well and it wasn’t nessecarily their pressing that got us because we played around it, it was our passing that let us down. As if we were a step slow of the pass a bit heavy.

    We lost to Everton and Palace are more than capable of beating Chavs.

  10. C says:

    The other thing I have gotten a bit of laugh about this season is just how much people well and truly dislike Theo. Is he going to have bad performances, absolutely, who doesn’t but could you imagine where we would be this season without hia goals?

  11. Ras says:

    Jonny,

    It is a must win situation Jonny there is no other way I see it. In hind sight I had this horrible gnawing feeling yesterday that we were not going to get the result we wanted. I nearly posted and then decided against as I could come across as ‘ Doomer’ before a ball had been kicked in earnest.

    In an earlier post someone stated the Manager needs to give a bollocking ( words to that effect ) to the players. Matthew Upson recently on BBC Radio 5 Live stated AW is not known for the ” Hairdryer ” stance. Its not his way.

    A performance comme hier soir should not come as a surprise to anybody.

  12. knobby says:

    Thanks for the post yw. (difficult day)
    I’m trying to look on the bright side, we would have been lucky to escape with a draw last night.. so we only dropped a point.

  13. consolsbob says:

    Well, I applaud the optimism of those who possess it. This result was coming, any game where we can go top usually means a failure of will on our part.

    I have never thought we would win the title this year. I have stopped posting regularly because there is little more to say about this Arsenal under this manager. I watch and enjoy the football this season, played by all teams, quite refreshing.

  14. HenryB says:

    So, Yogi — The Big Job — Sid James??

    The English language is full of banana peels for the unwary to slip up on – so, if the above is correct the key word is ‘job’ — defined as……..work? – project? – heist? – or another word for ‘poo’ – not the bear, but something more scabrous, maybe? 😀

  15. Bill says:

    Yogi

    Great review. I don’t think anything has changed after yesterday. We are still a lock for a top 4 spot

    We struggled on the attacking end but off days in front of goal are inevitable. Anyone who thinks that this season is going to be different and we have finally found a tactical solution to our past inconstistency has probably not been watching the same team I have . We have had great runs of form in every season for the last 12 and this is basically the same group of players who have struggled to score for 1/2 of every season for the last 3 years. That said we scored a goal so we can’t really blame the attacking side of our game to much. We should have been able to get something out of yesterdays game. The real let down was conceding twice. We have easily the best defenisve personnel of the Emirates Era and defense should not be subject to the same inconsistencies of the attack. Any team would lose a lot of games when they concede 2 goals. If the defense struggles we will fall out of the title race very quickly.

  16. C says:

    We were undone by two crosses.

    One to the back post where Nacho was ournumbered 2-1 and picked up Lukuka and Coleman scored. The 2nd, a corner that Kos and Giroud both missed and Williams got a free header.

  17. Bill says:

    The next game would not be a must win if we had not dropped 5 points in the first 2 games. Every team is going to have down games during the course of a 38 game season and drop unexpected points but those points would not be as damaging if we had not started so slowly again this season. The complacency that Arsene and this squad feels about the way we prepare for the start of every season is a part of our team culture that has made it difficult for our team to compete for titles.

  18. HenryB says:

    Hi C,

    There is an old joke about a mother watching her son parading with his army colleagues, and when they walked past the watching crowd she said, “look at that, the only one walking in a straight line, is my Tony!”

    Your comment at 1:40 regarding Theo is a bit like that — you are very knowledgeable about players, far more than many other bloggers — but you do have a ‘thing’ about Theo, who was not marking Baines properly but standing in space marking ……. nobody, and then when he closed him down, he was easily tricked and allowed the cross from which Everton scored. Seven goals scored, you say – but how many has Theo failed to stop opponents scoring because he cannot defend?

    Frankly, I don’t know and I don’t care. No one individual was responsible for last night’s fiasco — but please …. can you put Theo to bed for a few months — metaphorically speaking at least, it is becoming a little repetitive, especially when we are all pissed off anyway? Thank you. 😀

  19. Pete the Thirst says:

    I feel that Mustafi’s absence made a difference last night. Don’t get me wrong I thought Gabriel played well.

    Mustafi is the solid defender that Kos needs beside him. Lukaku targeted Kos & Gabriel in the 2nd half last night. I think Mustafi would have relished that challenge. Kos has shown against big forwards that he struggles. Drogba had his number for years.

    There seems to be an understanding between Mustafi & Kos that isn’t there with Gabriel. Kos and Gabriel appear to be marking the same place a lot of the time.

  20. C says:

    HenryB,

    I think the comment was more from things that I have read.

    I think I can though, well unless he scores.

  21. Wavey says:

    Afternoon,

    both of our wingers were missing last night and you can’t expect much from your front line when two of its players are AWOL. I mentioned during the game that Monreal was more of an attacking threat down the left than the Ox and that demonstrates how little involvement he had in the game. Walcott was as culpable down the right with Bellerin offering more down that side.
    We didn’t defend well for the goals, but it really did feel like the winner was coming for 5 minutes or so before it actually went in. Everton were willing to get in our faces and we were happy to oblige.
    I just don’t see that Wenger knows how to lift his team during a match and the stories that he is quiet in the dressing room at half time are easily believable. I would have hoped that the management team would be talking to the players at half time about the set back of an equaliser, but that Everton were still there for the taking. I guess Koeman’s players believed that much more than ours did.

  22. knobby says:

    I am not the greatest fan of Theo, but I do feel that when we play with Sanchez up front and he drops deep Theo has to take the centre forwards position. This leaves him badly exposed to do his defensive duties

  23. HenryB says:

    Me too, C.

    I like Gabriel, and I think Holding will do well.

    Much tho’ I really rate Kozzer and think he is the mainspring of both the defence and the team, I worry that at his current age he may start to slip down the effectiveness scale. Well, we all get old – and that might be a bit premature – but it is good to have back-up within the squad as the decline for professional players in the EPL environment can be savage , and with the above two and also Mustafi we should be OK if anything happens to our main man.

    I would really like a taller CB in the future, [reduce defensive heading problems] but Wenger’s liking for smaller players has now spread to the defense, and as Per is likely to move on following recovery from his extended injury layoff this would be a good time to do so.

  24. Ras says:

    Wavey,

    The 2 Wingers as you cite Wavey went missing last night. In the 1st half there was very little if any attacking presence down the right hand side of the pitch. Ozil was VERY quiet last night. He did not convert the chance that was proffered to him.

    When the Arsenal are firing on ALL cylinders he’s a joy to behold. In a game comme hier soir when you need players to out in a shift in defense he’s ( Ozil) not there. He’s a midfield player without any major defensive duties.

    This in turn impacts obviously on the other midfield players having to lick up the slack.

    You add TW and Ox whose slightly but only just better and you see how we were over run and out fought in midfield.

  25. C says:

    HenryB,

    I think we actually have a good set of CB’s when you consider Mustafi, Kos, Gabriel, Holding and the ever improving Chambers out on loan.

    I do tend to agree that not just the effectiveness scale but the niggles and knocks that Kos has always battled may become more and more a problem. The best thing though, is that outside of Kos; Gabriel is our oldest CB and he is only 27. The other thing that I like is that Mustafi, Gabriel and even Holding have that bit of “old school” no nonsense defending that we have missed.

    I think Mert is off to Germany, too many clubs have already spoken openly about wanting his services in a league where he could probably play another 3-4 years as a regular starter because of the less demanding and more tactical approach that is taken.

    See, light in the dark!

  26. Orson Kaert says:

    I believe it’s a bit early to write the obituary of our title challenge, just as one swallow does not a summer make so one fart does not a pile of shite make.

    Perhaps it’s the togetherness of the team that is to blame, it never seems to be just one player having a ‘mare, all seem to be equally affected when the nerves or the fatigue bite.

    At least the players will not have too long to dwell on last night’s disappointment, a chance to redeem themselves presents itself on Sunday. Win away to Man City and we will be back on track…….but only for a top four finish I fear.

  27. HenryB says:

    Agreed, C, and it is worth remembering that it is always darkest before the dawn! 😀

  28. HenryB says:

    Orsey,

    You have a way with you of summing things up in a unique way in the same comment.

    – (1) I believe it’s a bit early to write the obituary of our title challenge

    – (2) we will be back on track…….but only for a top four finish I fear.

    Pretty much got that covered – prediction bragging rights on whichever way it goes are comfortably covered. 🙂

  29. adam singh says:

    I thought it was a terrible performance. Out muscled in midfield, which is a worry given we had Le Coq and Xhaka playing there. Apart from the chance ozil put over the bar I can’t remember one other decent chance. In the last 15 mins only one team looked liked there were going to win it, and they did.

    Worse still I was watching the game in a pub in London with one extremely annoying Everton fan who was acting like his team had just one the PL when the final whistle blew. What a w@nker.

  30. HenryB says:

    In the last couple minutes of the game we had three shots to draw, any one of which could have scored, instead, somehow, they hit defenders by luck or because we are boss-eyed – that’s footies for you.

  31. C says:

    Ras,

    I disagree with you on Ozil not putting in a shift defensively; maybe when he first arrived, but not now. You see him tracking back and actually he quite a few times a match will track back, win possession and then go driving up the line and draw a foul.

    Now, you will NEVER hear me say that he is some defensive stopper or whatever; but he isn’t paid to always track back or do the defensive work. He is an ACM; I mean we have had Cesc, Bergkamp, Santi(prior to Ozil’s arrival) all fill that spot and not knocking any of them, but you would rarely say that they would track back and do the defending.

  32. Orson Kaert says:

    Has Xhaka been got at? When Elneny joined he was ever willing to take long range shots from outside the box, but soon all but stopped doing so after a few games.

    Just like Elneny, Xhaka was also eager to get some shots in but not anymore it seems. Has Wenger banned the practice?

    If he has I can only wonder why, why would he ban a ready source of goals. If he hasn’t why do both Elneny and Xhaka no longer take the shots?

  33. C says:

    HenryB,

    Exactly!

    I was speaking with a mate of mine and we were both saying the same thing, “We haven’t really played well at all yet we kept on winning. Eventually we are going to go on an actual run of good form and Chealsea will go through a rough patch. 6 points really isn’t wide of a gap.”

    Think positively mate!

  34. C says:

    Orson Kaert,

    Remember when Elneny made mention of Arsene not wanting him to shoot from distance when he first arrived.

    For all the talk about Elneny not helping, people forget that he was Player of the Month for a couple months straight.

  35. SV says:

    With the curreng goals conceded average, we are moving towards 40 conceded goals a season. No team wins the league with such defense.

    For Wenger, defence is an annoying byproduct of not having the ball.

  36. Orson Kaert says:

    Hmm, down to third place behind Liverpool, not on goal difference but on goals scored.

    The weekend match against City is looking more like a must win game.

  37. Steve Palmer1 says:

    Evening all, Thanks for the post Yogi.
    Taken me a while to get over last nights effort which i felt was a poor turn out, but not to unexpected.

    Many games will be like that one, as we cannot play consistently enough, and that in itself will probably stop us picking up any silver wear. Arsenal will still finish with profits whether the same as last season is still unsure, but with more iffy performances than good we can only assume the worst.

    Most of us look for the whys, was it The Manager or was it the players maybe Stans fault or even the Ref. We were made to look inferior and we was. No mater how much possession , or shots missed we got beat and deserved to lose. If we continue to play like that, we will lose again and we will deserve that as well. People love stats, and if you use them, then you can normally see good points. last night was no different, but everybody knows have more bad games than good games and you wont win the league.

    Arsenal are predictable, any manager worth his salt can see last nights failures and use them against us, and we have no answers. Wenger has a set way of doing things with players and tactics, like subs on after 60 minutes and not when its needed , We have players who from the start don’t look as if they are up to it, but they stay on the park, we have players who wont tackle, players who give the ball away players who cant shoot or pass, so how the hell do we win the league. Do what many of the other sides do, buy it. Money talks.

  38. buckagh says:

    Steve Palmer1,

    You want it all ways when we win its Arsenes genius when we lose its the players fault, fact is its a combination of both. We got players looking for super star wages but same players go missing when it counts I’m looking at you Ozil big big wage demands, well they demand big performance’s and some balls. IMO Arsene could have the best 24 players available in the world but he wouldn’t win anything with them

  39. Steve Palmer1 says:

    buckagh,

    Morning Buckagh, You have hit the nail on the head mate, As we have blinding players, one of the best Managers around, Owners who are not pressurising. In fact it all sounds wonderful.

    The club earns a good profit and the fans suffer not winning the highest prizes, but to be quite honest, we don’t look like winners. Yes players want high wages, and why shouldn’t they, Arsenal is one of the richest clubs in the world. But they tell us we cannot compete with many of the worlds clubs.

    They are telling us nothing we don’t know already, as every year turns out the same. But really we could stand more chance of winning something if we were to pin point what competitions we could win, if we put our minds to it.

    I believe we could win the League cup, as most clubs field weaker sides, but of course not big prize money. Champions league where we face the rich clubs beats us up every year. but you don’t have to win that to get rich, just qualify to get weighed out.

    Premier league of course has rich clubs, who feel they should be winning as they have spent the most on players, Looking to the past we see clubs who look as if they have brought the league, short pocket owners who want to make their mark on English football. Sadly our owners are a family who like to buy sporting clubs , but they are probably not supporters of any of them , as they have been brought as business investments.

    Many of the worlds Managers are under enormous pressure to win trophies, but not at Arsenal. All that’s expected, is profits at the end of the season.
    Mourinho has been sacked a couple of times because performances have not been up to expectations, his job relies on performance , Guardiola must also feel his job also is on the line, as nearly all previous managers have moved on when the expected trophies have not been won.

    Arsene, is not pressurised from his boss’s, as their criteria is more money related, the pressure he feels is more from the supporter, but that would not usually relate to his position. Money would, but with his record of money earning’s, Arsenals owners would give him several seasons before his job would be in question.

    Of course Arsenal results are not consistent, but the finishing consistency over a season is. Results for the last decade is not very good as far as trophies won, but still better than a lot of other clubs. Our New Stadium has also helped to raise profits, Dubbed the library as some supporters have very little to shout about, but to the advertising sponsors a great place to advertise their wares.

    Top four is the target for Arsenal football club, finish there and a cool £30 million boosts the profits, and the manager has done his seasons work.

    Apparently Leicester winning the Premier last season, boosted their earnings to a hundred million. Arsenal finishing second finishing many points behind earned 90 million. Word had it that our owners were delighted and why shouldn’t they be.

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