Everything that you need to know about Everton v. Arsenal and their scoreless draw in the Premier League Saturday morning in quickie form, complete with Bay State Soccer Sentinel analysis and insight:
Arsenal, Everton end scoreless: Not a good advert for football; maybe Arsenal and Everton crammed a little too much pre-match pasta for breakfast? Seriously, it was that sluggish, and three points went by the wayside for two clubs who certainly needed them. There were, however, some signs of life in the second half, especially by Arsenal. In the 51st minute, Everton’s Jordan Pickford came up with a massive save on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who had hardly any influence on the match. And while the Gunners managed to get behind the Toffee defending, they had no way to solve Pickford. Everton had some pressure, but couldn’t find the back of Bernt Leno’s net.
First half luckluster: The two sides had about the same amounts of the football in the first 45 minutes, but the Toffees certainly had the better opportunities, including a Gylfi Sigorsson free kick that just missed the net by about four feet. Everton also had Arsenal pinned back quite a bit, the Gunners unable to get Aubameyang involved in the match. Gabriel Martinelli had the lone Arsenal attempt at the end of the 44th minute, but he fired wide.
Everton hire Ancelotti: An hour before the match kicked off, the Toffees announced that Carlo Ancelotti, who was sacked from the Napoli job 11 days prior, had been appointed manager of the Merseyside club as expected all week. He was at Goodison Park for the match, and interim gaffer Duncan Ferguson was in the Everton technical area; before the match, Ferguson said the team selection — which made four changes from midweek — was completely his choice.
Jordan Pickford: The Everton goalkeeper had nothing to do in the first half, but he certainly earned his paycheck in the first 20 minutes of the second half as the Gunners tried to get things started. His point-blank save of Aubameyang in the 51st minute was lightning quick, and he did his best to corral crosses before they could cause the Toffee back line problems. Full marks.
Arsenal: The Gunners are certainly in crisis, and new manager Mikel Arteta has his work cut out for him. This is definitely not the Arsenal of the past 20 years, the Arsenal of beautiful football. Currently one win in its last 13 in all competitions can be considered in crisis; even if Arsenal won Saturday, they can still be considered in crisis.
Calum Chambers: His 87th minute yellow card was his fifth in the league, and he’ll miss Boxing Day with a suspension.
LET’S TALK ABOUT STATS, BABY
First half: Everton had one shot to nil for Arsenal. Arsenal also had 53 percent of the ball in the first 45 minutes, with nothing to show for it.
Arsenal ended up with 57 percent of the ball, and two shots on-target. Everton had nine total shots. Arsenal with 25 clearances in the match.
WHAT SWEENS REALLY THINKS
Duncan Ferguson deserves a chance at managing a top flight club in English football after the spell he has had with Everton. Freddie Ljundberg? I can’t say the same for him, especially after a wasted opportunity to play Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette together — especially with Arteta in the building, watching what he will inherit on Sunday morning.
THEY SAID IT
“We wanted three points but what a fantastic performance from us. I couldn’t have asked anymore from the players – they’ve been fantastic for me. It was a bit scrappy and we were a bit leggy after Wednesday but we fought it out and we got a point and a clean sheet.” — Everton interim manager Duncan Ferguson
“I was very happy. We had a very young side out there because I wanted energy and I wanted to give them chances. We dominated possession and chances, and you could see Everton getting tired and frustrated. I thought we could have won the game with the chances we had. But I loved the spirit we saw and that’s what you need in the Premier League. I wanted to see people that would run and fight for the team. We can’t rely on our name — we have to fight and do the dirty things.” — Arsenal interim manager Freddie Ljundberg
WHAT’S ON TAP
It’s the Boxing Day fixtures for both sides! Arsenal are at Bournemouth, while Everton hosts Burnley. Both matches are Thursday morning, 10 a.m. ET.