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Everton stun Premier League leaders Arsenal

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Everton beat Arsenal
  • Everton shocked the Premier League leaders 1-0 to extend Arsenal’s curse at Goodison Park
  • It was Sean Dyche’s first game in charge of the Toffees
  • James Tarkowski scored the only goal of the game

In Sean Dyche’s first game in charge of the Toffees, Everton shocked the Premier League leaders 1-0 to extend Arsenal’s curse at Goodison Park.

The Merseyside giants put on a masterclass in physicality and pressing that would have delighted Dyche to no end. On the hour mark, James Tarkowski headed home the game’s lone goal to hand Mikel Arteta’s underwhelming squad just their second league loss of the year.

New manager effect

Sean Dyche

Sean Dyche’s era as Everton’s manager started with a win.|PHOTO: CBS|

In front of their boisterous fans, Everton’s new manager bounce was clearly in action as the Toffees relentlessly pressured Arsenal and gave the table-toppers a run for their money in the first half.

After the half-hour mark, Dyche’s team was given two excellent opportunities when Amadou Onana took advantage of a sloppy pass to race down the left. Still, Dominic Calvert-Lewin mysteriously failed to get a touch on Onana’s low ball across the six-yard box.

Abdoulaye Doucoure was given a free header inside the box three minutes after Gabriel Magalhaes slipped. Still, the midfielder could not properly connect with Dwight McNeil’s cross and misdirected his effort harmlessly wide.

Everton expertly limited the impact of Arsenal’s wide players by pairing up with Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli. Still, the Gunners did have a few golden opportunities of their own in the first half.

Saka played in Eddie Nketiah with 30 minutes remaining, but the in-form striker sliced his attempt wide from a tight angle after holding off Vitaly Mykolenko.

In the 40th minute, Saka had a chance to score with a volley that was heading for the bottom corner, but Conor Coady positioned himself brilliantly on the goal line to block his compatriot’s shot.

Everton came agonizingly close to taking the lead just before halftime, but Calvert-near-post Lewin’s header sailed just wide of Aaron Ramsdale’s far post.

How the second half unfolded

Andre Onana

Andre Onana shields the ball from Partey.|PHOTO: Sky Sports|

Arsenal seemed more composed at the beginning of the second half, but Everton‘s physical strength at set pieces paid off in the 60th minute when Tarkowski easily held Odegaard off and headed in at the back post.

Four minutes after Everton’s first goal of the Dyche era, Neal Maupay was caught in a tangle with Gabriel’s legs, but VAR rejected Arsenal’s appeals, saving the team from a major penalty call.

Leandro Trossard continued to enjoy good protection in the Everton goal, but the English number one was required to stop his effort in the 78th minute. The Belgian then had another opportunity in the 82nd minute, but his curler was high, wide, and not particularly attractive.

Everton survived the six minutes of extra time to earn three well-deserved points, temporarily lifting them out of the relegation zone and into 17th place in the standings ahead of the Merseyside derby with Liverpool on February 13.

Next Saturday’s matchup between Arsenal and Brentford will determine whether Arsenal’s five-point lead over Manchester City at the top remains intact or reduced to two points if the champions beat Tottenham Hotspurs on Sunday.

I am an ardent sports enthusiast interested in writing about football, motorsport and athletics.

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