Everton Review: Five Go Mad On Merseyside

Everton 2 – 5 Arsenal

That was as welcome as it was unexpected. Away form rediscovered in the Premier League and but for two goals sloppily conceded, a top four place to boot. Level with Chelsea will suffice; there’s no trophy for fourth at the end of the season nor one in October.

In an attacking sense, there were few issues with the performance. In fact, I can’t think of any; the passing was crisp and quick, occasionally too firm and fast but accuracy of 83% at the final whistle underlines how quickly it clicked into gear. Everton’s lead was a rude awakening and undeserved. We rocked and reeled a for ten minutes or so; Nacho Monreal’s equaliser cleared the cobwebs.

Pick of the bunch – and rightly Man of the Match – was Mesut Özil. The German was excellent, the kind of performance a £42.5m player turns in. Arsène said afterwards, “When you see Mesut on the football pitch like he is today, enjoying his game like he is today, it’s difficult to believe these kind of things.”

Mostly, the comment is that we wish we saw it more often so we would remember Özil in the same breath as Bergkamp and Brady rather than Marinello or Nicholas. Not that the latter is bad company to keep, just a notch below where he should be.

His was the first pass of the afternoon which signalled the outcome, Ramsey’s shot the first of many saved by Pickford. But for the goalkeeper, this could well have been the club’s biggest win in the Premier League. Not of Loughborough scale but close to double figures. Was it a £30m goalkeeping performance? Behind this Everton defence, keeping any score below ten seems worthy of that claim.

Barefoot and on the Run

Alexis – “on fire” and “worked very hard” – was another who the manager praised; no argument from me on that one either. His chip into Özil’s path was matched only by the exquisite headed finish from the German. Sanchez got his deserved goal as time added-on drew to a close. With five beleaguered Everton defenders left too scared to tackle, he led them a merry dance before firing home.

In between times, we did things the hard way. Rooney gave commentators the chance to reminisce about football in the ‘good old days’ with a well-taken strike. If Özil enjoyed the afternoon, Granit Xhaka endured the moment. Robbed in possession by Gueye whose pass fed Rooney. There was no foul as he and others claimed, with even the partisan club website putting it down to a “defensive error”.

Redemption came in the form of Nacho Monreal, seizing on Pickford’s parry, to level the scores. It was no less than we deserved and a cue for the afternoon’s normal service to resume. That included Monreal and Cech’s comedy defending which let Niasse grab Everton’s second of the afternoon. Pontification about the damage that could do in another match seems pointless. It wasn’t another match, it was Everton.

Post-match, Arsène enthused about the performance and you can’t blame him. For the first time, he selected Lacazette, Özil and Sanchez, a front three which fired on all cylinders but so did the rest of the team. Xhaka recovered from his faux pas while Ramsey gamboled into attack at every opportunity, providing purposeful support to the front three. A well-deserved goal at the death brought the Welshman due reward for his afternoon’s efforts.

Last Seen Having Lots of Fun

We created a staggering number of chances for an away game, emphasized by the shots on target. Converting five is a rarity, even in home matches and brought a smile to Arsène’s face. Even the football gods decided not to ruin his birthday.

It’s a natural part of being a supporter that we get carried away in the euphoria of victory but it will take more than one good performance to change perceptions of where we are this season. This is the same squad which lost at Watford and not much different to the one which was so lifeless at Stoke.

The same issues exist but the world seems a much brighter place this morning despite the gloomy weather.

Therein is the issue. We saw a glimpse of how the future could be but most likely won’t. A front three which will most likely be broken up over the next six months, maybe sooner. If this is their performance level, the departures of Sanchez and Özil will be a criminal moment in the club’s modern history.

The test of that is in a fortnight’s time at the Etihad. Producing the goods against woeful opposition is one thing; against the team at the top of the Premier League? Quite another.

That’s a thought for another day.

’til Tomorrow.

33 thoughts on “Everton Review: Five Go Mad On Merseyside

  1. Orson Kaert says:

    Good morning folks, thanks Yogi, even the weather isn’t that bad.

  2. consolsbob says:

    Monsieur Hulot’s Holiday.

    I claim my £5.

  3. consolsbob says:

    For those interested:

    ‘Results of AST membership survey into Ownership and Governance issues
    Thank you to all of our member who completed our recent survey into ownership and governance issues. The results are set out below and will inform the AST’s positions on key issues going forward. We will also be writing to Stan Kroenke to request he speaks at the next AGM further to question 4 below.

    1. Stan Kroenke has now been majority owner of Arsenal Football Club for more than six years. Are you satisfied with Stan Kroenke’s ownership?
    Dissatisfied: 90%
    Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied: 7%
    Satisfied: 3%
    2. Following campaigning by the AST and challenge by shareholders at the AGM, Arsenal ceased paying an annual consultancy fee of £3m to Kroenke Sports Enterprises (KSE). Do you agree with this decision not to pay a consultancy fee
    Yes: 92%
    No: 4%
    Unsure: 4%
    3. Do you support the payment of dividends or management fees by Arsenal Football Club?
    Yes: 13%
    No: 74%
    Don’t Know 13.5%
    4. Should Stan Kroenke speak at the next AGM and set out his vision for the club to supporters and shareholders?
    Yes: 96%
    No: 3%
    Don’t know: 1%
    5. Do you think that Alisher Usmanov, who holds a 30% equity stake in Arsenal through Red and White Holdings, should be offered a place on the Arsenal Board?
    Yes: 92%

    Don’t Know 3%
    6. Should appointments be made to the Arsenal Board to strengthen its composition and governance arrangements by adding personnel with more independence and a greater diversity?
    Yes: 97%
    No: 1%
    Don’t Know: 2%
    7. Do you think that Arsenal should appoint a Director of Football?
    Yes: 68%
    No: 14%
    Don’t Know: 17%
    8. The Club are very confident that season by season they make improvements to strengthen the club’s competitive position. Do you agree that this is happening?
    Yes: 4%
    No: 94%
    Don’t Know: 2%

    9. In light of the recent football performance, commercial activities and other factors, do you think the Board should award Chief Executive Ivan Gazidis a considerable bonus similar to previous seasons?
    Yes: 6%
    No: 86%
    Don’t Know: 8%

    10. Do you think the way that the Arsenal Board handled the reappointment of Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger this year represented best practice?
    Yes: 5%
    No: 92%
    Don’t know: 3%

    11. With reference to what happened in the first half of 2017, do you think the Arsenal Board should make a firm decision about the future of Arsene Wenger, and announce that decision, well before the end of his contract in May 2019?
    Yes: 90%
    No: 5%
    Don’t Know: 5%
    12. Looking at Arsenal’s ownership structure, the ‘self-sustaining’ business model, its football management and financial resources, and comparing it to other Premier League clubs, how optimistic are you about Arsenal’s prospects during the next five years?
    Extremely optimistic: 2%
    Somewhat optimistic: 10%
    Neither optimistic or pessimistic: 15%
    Somewhat pessimistic: 45%
    Extremely pessimistic: 28%’

  4. Pete the Thirst says:

    5 goals away from home is a great return, even against Everton in their current mess.

    Praise where it’s due for Ozil, who had a great game. A few more of those please!

    Xhaka & Cech need to pull their socks up. Concentrate and move the ball quicker. On another day we would have been punished for those mistakes.

    Apart from his role in Everton’s 2nd I thought Monreal had a fantastic game. Showed leadership that we rarely see at Arsenal these days.

  5. Jonnygunner says:

    Morning all-nice write up YW

  6. chukwudi says:

    Good game we had yesterday and Jack Wilshere playing is another plus to us,just wishing he can stay injury free all through the season and after.Hope we maintain the momentum especially against city.

  7. Orson Kaert says:

    consolsbob,

    Here’s a question for all Yogi’s followers: Will Stan Kroenke take the slightest notice of the AST poll?

  8. Wailesy says:

    Thanks Yogi,
    A great win and confidence building performance by the team. Good to see 5 goals and 5 goal scorers. Monreal is a class act, we’re lucky to have him.

  9. C says:

    Top post Yogi on the back of an overall top performance.

    The Ozil/Lacazette/Sanchez trio is as good as any trio on talent in the PL and yesterday they showed it not just in the goals but the way the ran the game. Ozil was clear MOTM and what makes it even more wild is the fact that he should have had 3 or 4 assists if for some better finishing. They need to continue to start together, enough of tossing in others in those positions.

    Xhaka and Ramsey put in another one of those performances, both were effective when they got forward but defensively it was meh. I think the one thing is if those two could focus more on defending and just getting the ball forward quickly not necessarily themselves, we could potentially solidify the midfield. Nacho was superb minus that back pass and Mert and Kos were solid. Cech still needs to wake up because the PL season has started.

  10. lari03 says:

    Consolbob
    A good view of things as they stand

  11. Wavey says:

    Afternoon,

    Another fine write up, YW. Thanks.

    As has been said before, you can only beat what’s in front of you. It may have been a poor Everton team, but we certainly did a number on them. I don’t think they’ve been duffed up quite that badly this season, although United put 4 past them.
    We can only take confidence from such a strong performance. The PL is an unforgiving competition though and we can’t exchange confidence for complacency, or we will be back where we started.

    Haven’t the Club indicated in the past that they will actively engage with the AST?

  12. Bill says:

    Great review Yogi

    Superb game yesterday. Fantastic performance and a pleasure to watch. I agree with assessment of Ozil as MOTM. It was his first really effective performance since a game against West Ham sometime in mid last season. For whatever reason his energy and effort was clearly elevated and it showed in the performance. The fans want to get excited by our players and If Mesut played with that sort of energy more often he would quickly silence all those who have lost faith in him and Martin Keown would not be questioning his commitment and the fans would be begging Arsene to sign him to a new contract.

    Alexis was also very good and I hope Arsene can convince him to sign another contract.

  13. Bill says:

    We had plenty of ball possession yesterday and we more then enough technical skill in the squad to keep possession without having to add specialist ball possession players into the line up. I am sure there were a few but I don’t remember us putting together dozens and dozens of 10 yard 1 touch passes sideways passes. A lot more of the passes seemed to have a purpose and did something other then increase our number and percentage of completed passes.

  14. C says:

    The one thing that was refreshing to see was a front 3 of that quality all on the same page, knowing where the other two were going and when they were going and more often the not the ball being right there. All to often we have seen Ozil and Sanchez make a pass or make a run and then get frustrated when the player they thought should make the run into space doesn’t or when they make a run and the ball isn’t played to them. For the first time since really Cesc and RvP we have 3 high quality attacking players.

    Not taking shots at Giroud, Ramsey, Theo and that lot but they aren’t of the quality and you just see the difference in play between Sanchez/Lacazette/Ozil and the rest.

  15. Dukey says:

    Too early to reach for the pom poms. Although no doubt the fun bus has pulled up by a little chef and they’ve all got kitted out throwing each other up over their shoulders.

    Is that dawn calling… Or not…

    Amazing what we can do when we put a shift in…. Shrug. …. Shame they don’t put the effort in on a regular basis… Another shrug.

  16. C says:

    Reports say that the only first team players that trained were Iwobi, Walcott, Wilshere, Elneny, Holding, Coquelin, Debuchy and Giroud and that there were no signs of Koscielny, Monreal, Mertesacker, Xhaka, Ramsey, Ozil, Kolasinac, Bellerin, Sanchez or Lacazette. With that I would like to see:

    Macey
    Debuchy—-Elneny—-Holding
    Nelson—Le Coq—Jack——Maitland-Niles
    —-Theo—-Giroud—-Iwobi

    Hopefully we can get a really good showing out of this lot too.

  17. C says:

    I would prefer DaSilva or Sheaf to Debuchy but I doubt that happens.

  18. C says:

    Arsene on Lacazette and Giroud:

    “Giroud, Lacazette — it’s a never-ending debate. I think both of them are very good players,” Wenger told SFR Sport.

    “For me there’s no difference, and each time it’s very hard to decide who starts.”

  19. Orson Kaert says:

    C,

    I think that shows just how low Arsenal have fallen, when a manager gets the elbow for being beaten at home by us. I know that’s not the whole story but in the past clubs would be happy with saving a point, or only losing by the odd goal.

  20. kenyan gunner says:

    Great match. The sad thing is that our best two players – Sanchez and Ozil – both want out!

  21. thebigM says:

    An enjoyable game with plenty of goals, but you have to take it with a pinch of salt really.
    We managed to hammer a few of the premiership stragglers last year, as a top 6 team should be able to do.
    It’s results against the top 7-8 were we struggle…

  22. Kenny says:

    “The test of that is in a fortnight’s time at the Etihad. Producing the goods against woeful opposition is one thing; against the team at the top of the Premier League? Quite another.”

    Huddersfield has shown us it’s possible, YW.

  23. Bill says:

    I don’t think there could be any real controversy regarding would should our starting CF. Its Lacazette by a country mile. Groud had 4 years to stake his claim. He was an excellent impact sub last year but unless something changes Giroud is never going to our first choice in high leverage games as long as Lacazette is healthy.

  24. YW says:

    Yeah, but for every Huddersfield Kenny, there’s a Stoke, Crystal Palace, Liverpool, Watford or Feyenoord. And we have both types of results within us.

  25. C says:

    YW,

    So true but we have seen more often us losing or drawing matches like this and while our defense and really midfield need to be solidified, I think for the first time in a long time we have the talent and quality in the attacking third with that trio to at least try have a better chance of outscoring clubs. I mean its really strange that for an attacking team, this is the first match that we had our 3 best attacking players on the pitch together.

  26. Orson Kaert says:

    C,

    Both Sanchez and Ozil showed their professionalism on Sunday, they know they are in the shop window and playing well will help gain them a lucrative deal at their next club. While they are in that mood we need to use them at every possible occasion. Lacazette is enough of an instinctive striker to fit well with them and will benefit from their skills.

    We need now to consolidate the defence, and by that I mean trying to keep a regular back three, this will not be easy given the injury situation, but too much rotation will only cause more confusion. We also need to identify Cech’s replacement, whether that’s Macey, Martinez or A N Other serious thought is needed to ensure we have the right ‘keeper at the start of next season.

  27. C says:

    Orson Kaert,

    Agree though I am still not completely sold that one or both won’t sign new deals. The fact that its taking Arsene this long to play those 3 together is madness on a team that wants to be an attacking team. The other thing is that they all seem to fit together and whhat also helps that is the fact that both Lacazette and Sanchez have played as a CF and as a winger so not only will they score goals but they will link well with Ozil and Ozil has players that will get on the end of the chances he will continue to create.

    We do need to identify Cech’s replacement and its a real shame that Szczesny was sold. I do think both Macey and Martinez have a vast amount of potential and while they are big, they are both agile but they are raw. Either way Cech can’t be #1 next season and Ospina needs to be moved on. The defense, will be Kos/Mert/Nacho until Mustafi gets back and then we will see what happens but either way Chambers should be apart of it if he is set to be apart of the future. I think midfield will continue to be hit or miss and if I’m honest, I would rather have Ramsey coming off the bench because his late runs are leaving us exposed in midfield and he isn’t scoring goals and we have Ozil/Lacazette/Sanchez as a front 3 so we need our midfield to focus more on defending and getting the ball quickly up the pitch but not necessarily either midfielder especially with Sead and Bellerin still more than willing to join the attack.

  28. Wavey says:

    C,

    Perhaps this comes back to the nature versus nurture discussion on whether, or not Wenger actually coaches players. Sanchez, Alexis and Lacazette are of the set that can go out onto the pitch and ‘do their stuff’ as they are that good. They instinctively know where the receiving player should be and where they should be if they are the receiving player. You therefore see them playing off each other as if they’ve done it for years. Players like Giroud, Ramsey and Theo are good, but don’t have the level of quality to be able to simply turn up and play, they need coaching. They need to learn how to play together, rather than as a group of individuals. I’m not sure they get enough of that at Arsenal.

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