Fabian Delph is getting closer to fitness but it remains to be seen whether or not he will be passed fit for this match
Everton play the second of three successive home games when they face Arsenal in the Saturday lunchtime encounter, a fixture that comes quickly on the heels of an intense cup quarter-final on Wednesday evening.
With the club still waiting to rubber-stamp to widely reported appointment of Carlo Ancelotti, Duncan Ferguson will be in the dugout once more having overseen a win and a draw in the Premier League and a 2-2 tie over 90 minutes with Leicester before the disappointment of defeat on penalties in the Carabao Cup.
The Scot has had a galvanising effect since taking the reins from Marco Silva and he will need to summon more energy from his charges despite the quick turnaround. Everton's players exhibited some signs of fatigue against the Foxes, particularly in a poor first-half, but rallied in the second to claw back a 2-0 deficit.
That kind of resolve and determination will be needed again this weekend as the Gunners travel looking for their second consecutive away win, with their own imminent managerial appointment in the form of Mikel Arteta perhaps providing a fillip for a team that has also been struggling for form this season. If he is chosen as Unai Emery's successor, Arteta won't be in the visitors' dugout but he could be watching on from the stands.
Ferguson's pre-match press conference will no doubt shed light on which players he might have available for this one after he was forced to deploy Mason Holgate as an emergency central midfielder in the last two matches. Fabian Delph is getting closer to recovering from a hamstring strain but might
not be risked but Gylfi Sigurdsson could be available after missing the Manchester United and Leicester games through illness. There is also a question mark over Bernard who
Djibril Sidibé appears to have been afflicted by the same bug but he might also return but Lucas Digne is likely to be ruled out again with a groin strain. Thankfully, Leighton Baines has been turning back the clock by doing an impressive job as his replacement.
For Arsenal, caretaker boss Freddie Ljungberg will have Hector Bellerin (hamstring), Sead Kolasinac (ankle), and Granit Xhaka (concussion) assessed before making his team selection. The Swede has seen his team draw at Norwich and Standard Liege but lose at home to Brighton and Manchester City since he took temporary charge but did record a 3-1 win at West Ham two weeks ago.
The feeling watching Everton blitz Chelsea was that the teetering Gunners would find it difficult to live with the Toffees in that kind of mood but much depends on how great a toll the high-energy matches under Ferguson have taken on the players physically.
Regardless, if the home team can retain the spirit that has been such a welcome feature of Ferguson's interim tenure while nullifying the Gunners' undoubtedly talented attack, there is every chance they can grind out another three points to usher in the new regime on a high.
Kick-off: 12:30pm Saturday, 21 December 2019
Referee: Kevin Friend
Last Time: Everton 1 - 0 Arsenal
Predicted Line-up: Pickford, Coleman, Holgate, Mina, Baines, Davies, Sigurdsson, Iwobi, Bernard, Richarlison, Calvert-Lewin
Reader Comments (83)
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1 Posted 20/12/2019 at 07:00:46
2 Posted 20/12/2019 at 07:07:55
The start of a new era hopefully, and in the matches thus far that Duncan has been involved in he has restored pride amongst the players and fans alike.
Knowing in all probability, that this will be his last match in charge as Interim Manager, he will want to retain his unbeaten record and although he has little to choose from squad-wise, I believe and hope he will again deliver.
The good thing will be, that after tomorrow he will still have a direct influence on the playing staff, and as injuries and illnesses subside, he will, alongside Carlo have more options. A hitherto unexpected run of games may just yield a few more much needed points than previously feared.
I just hope and pray that the first half display against Leicester has been banished to Room 101, never to be seen again.
3 Posted 20/12/2019 at 07:14:45
The centre back pairing of Sokratis and Luiz is laughable. Sokratis is suspended for tomorrow, not sure if that's a positive. They are in greater mess than we are and Arteta will have his hands full sorting them out.
Hopefully we have a few players back. More of the second half performance from wednesday and I think we win this.
4 Posted 20/12/2019 at 07:18:31
They are a shambles and I expect us to win tomorrow.
Goodison will be rocking.
Carlo announced later today, Duncans last game in charge, it will be emotional and noisy and these arsenal players are even softer and more spineless than any thing Marco served up.
I won't even worry if they score first, we will bounce back.
At least a 3-1 win tomorrow, if not more.
5 Posted 20/12/2019 at 07:42:52
David I wish I'd been watching your Everton lately.
I'll worry if we're 2-0 up with ten minutes to go.
6 Posted 20/12/2019 at 08:01:22
Fabian Delph is getting closer to recovering from a hamstring strain
Is this fella related to Gibson?
7 Posted 20/12/2019 at 08:54:48
We haven't kept a clean sheet for ages and against Arsenal's pretty potent forwards (the only thing that keeps them together) it's hard to see a clean sheet tomorrow.
We need to go out with a win for Dunc, then the hard work starts for Ancelotti.
Don Carlo is faced with Manchester City and Liverpool away in two of his first four games, not to mention another tricky away game against Newcastle fast on the tails of Burnley at home Boxing Day.
I'm looking at the likes Iwobi and Bernard and thinking these types of players need to start producing better quality in the final third.
You know Davies and Holgate will battle but creatively going forward we need something with a sprinkling of class.
The time out might have done Sigurdsson some good and hopefully he can start getting on some kind of scoring run akin to last season, with Ancelotti coming in you would imagine Sigurdsson's time here could be up for debate unless he pulls his finger out soon.
8 Posted 20/12/2019 at 09:22:35
9 Posted 20/12/2019 at 09:23:30
We need fresh legs in the team but as long as we show the same commitment as the Chelsea game we can't complain
10 Posted 20/12/2019 at 09:33:43
I feel more content and assured now though that Ancelotti will be here for three years, make his mark and then Duncan will take over after that.
Three more years for Dunc learning under Ancelotti, I think it's almost set in stone now that Duncan takes over in 2022. (Maybe sooner).
We have seen first hand now that tactically and motivational wise, Dunc has got what it takes.
11 Posted 20/12/2019 at 10:43:02
They have strikers I'd love us to have. The rest of that team is an incoherent, unhappy shell.
I'm looking forward to a raucous send off for Duncan, a rousing welcome for Carlo and an in your face victory.
And how about at half time they cheer us up by playing a recording of Teary Bill's phone call to his beloved son Davey?
12 Posted 20/12/2019 at 11:03:27
13 Posted 20/12/2019 at 11:11:33
14 Posted 20/12/2019 at 11:28:22
15 Posted 20/12/2019 at 11:47:51
16 Posted 20/12/2019 at 11:56:09
I've watched a fair bit of Arsenal lately, and while at times they lack quality, and drive, they still have the ability to score plenty of goals at will.
Their front line is still potent, and I've seen milk turn quicker than our centre halves. Pacey front players are a problem for us, so I'm still very wary. We're also running on empty with the bare bones out so expect a struggle. Again.
17 Posted 20/12/2019 at 12:26:42
18 Posted 20/12/2019 at 12:45:55
He's either had several trips to Lourdes since that statement, found the elixir of life, (probably snake oil!) or signed a similar pact with the Horny Fellow like those across the park at Mordor.
Either way he seems very reluctant to go, but his departure which has been long overdue, will not be mourned by many!
Wonder what will happen with DBB when he goes?
19 Posted 20/12/2019 at 12:54:02
Let's hope if Michelangelo (there's a song there) becomes Everton coach, he's not going to be like a kid in a sweetshop, like Koeman.
20 Posted 20/12/2019 at 13:20:45
21 Posted 20/12/2019 at 14:09:08
23 Posted 20/12/2019 at 14:35:43
I've emailed you Derek!
24 Posted 20/12/2019 at 14:40:39
25 Posted 20/12/2019 at 14:42:55
26 Posted 20/12/2019 at 14:43:38
27 Posted 20/12/2019 at 14:50:41
Arsenal are in disarray in the dressing room but have real quality on the pitch except in defence.
We are running on empty with injuries and the amount of effort in recent games and lack their attacking ability.
We need to start like an express train, ramp up the Goodison effect and hope a couple of goals will kill off their spirit.
We need alert defenders for this one so injuries permitting Keane sits this one out.
I hope Siggy is back as I don't think Bernard has recovered sufficiently and hope that Walcott is fit again.
I do hope that Tom Davies is OK and not running totally on empty but Mason Holgate has been a stalwart for the team in the last few games.
Coleman(or Sidibe) Holgate Mina Baines
Davies Siggy Delph (Iwobi)
Richy DCL Gordon (Iwobi)
28 Posted 20/12/2019 at 15:00:30
29 Posted 20/12/2019 at 15:02:08
They are a bigger shambles than we are, with a load of underperforming average players.
Easy but hard fought win for me.
30 Posted 20/12/2019 at 15:03:56
The mental energy it's taking and the physical toll on a small number of fit players could be a game too far?
If Sidibe and Sigurdsson are fit, for me they play, moving Holgate back to centre back for the Easter island statue that is Michael Keane.
The impact of Duncan's 4-4-2 is Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison are prominent and benefit from directness, Iwobi and Bernard (ball players) are reduced to doing doggies up and down and look shocking.
That's the nub of ceding possession and being direct.
31 Posted 20/12/2019 at 15:10:27
BK probably had it written into his agreement that he would remain chairman until either his death, or he decided to step down.
Usmanov long made it known that he wanted to be Chairman of Arsenal and have a hand in the running of the club.
I think a deal was in place after he cut his losses at Arsenal that he would buy BK's shares and take over as Chairman of EFC as soon as BK indicated he was ready to sell and step down.
That is all speculation on my part but it is a scenario that fits the current known facts.
I don't doubt, for one minute, that the current rules on FFP can easily be breached / flaunted by a new major sponsorship deal with "unrelated" entities.
32 Posted 20/12/2019 at 15:13:27
33 Posted 20/12/2019 at 15:23:03
I could see Sidibe and Siggy returning to the starting XI, presuming they have both fully recovered from the virus that struck them down last weekend, to do just that.
Sidibe would be a straight swap in for Seamus. Siggy could switch in for Iwobi or Bernard, who in my eyes both have been very poor in the last couple of games. Or possibly even Tom Davies if he risks aggravating the knock he is said to playing through the pain barrier with.
There might even be a place in the squad for Delph, if now (almost!) match fit.
Personally, I would be very surprised if Duncan goes with near enough the same starting XI as in the last two games. The team needs rotating with so many fixtures coming on top of each other at this time of year.
34 Posted 20/12/2019 at 15:31:00
And "Steve Round' is to be part of his team. How is this impostor still getting jobs?
35 Posted 20/12/2019 at 15:40:16
I Expect us to start the game tomorrow with a similar formation than the one we finished with the other night, and if it is to be Duncan's last game in charge, I just hope he can get one more big performance full of fight, because I don't know anyone who isn't enjoying this side of the game at the moment, and the feeling that we are finally getting “our Evertonâ€ back!
36 Posted 20/12/2019 at 15:45:23
I agree with your comments re Arsenal players, playing to impress Arteta.
However, the reverse is also true as our players will be playing in front of Ancelotti observing from the directors box.
37 Posted 20/12/2019 at 15:47:53
"I don't know who the new manager will be, but [Ancelotti] is incredible and he's won everything. That's the type of calibre of manager I'm sure the club are looking for.
"Hopefully we will get a top top guy coming in. We are really ambitious as a club, and we want to attract the best guys, it's a massive club, Everton. Guys who you are talking about have done it all in the game, and we'd love these type of guys at our club.
"Nobody knows the players better than me, I've been here many a year and hopefully the new guy coming in, he uses me."
Happy to step aside and learn from (as well as teach!) the new guy, that reads to me.
38 Posted 20/12/2019 at 15:48:33
39 Posted 20/12/2019 at 15:50:06
I think they are handling this correctly by not committing to anything until a deal is finalised.
40 Posted 20/12/2019 at 15:51:08
41 Posted 20/12/2019 at 15:53:18
Tony I'll be as glad as you mate to be honest. We DO need to move forward, with the times, and become a modern professionally run club.
I'll not be sorry to see him go at all I just don't think he's all bad, rather like me in fact. :-)
42 Posted 20/12/2019 at 15:59:23
43 Posted 20/12/2019 at 16:04:16
Absolutely no criticism of the club from me and the way they are handling the appointment of the new manager with their near total news blackout on the subject.
In recent years it has been the club's (very good, IMO) modus operandi.
Never been one to berate the club for not giving us every-5-minutes updates on such sensitive matters.
44 Posted 20/12/2019 at 16:15:32
They will be on their toes though because of the appointment of Arteta. They also have two world class forwards in Lacazette and Aubameyang who can produce a goal out of nothing.
The betting is 11/8 Everton 15/8 Arsenal 11/4 draw.
Their expecting a few goals too - 4/7 over 2.5 goals. 6/4 under 2.5 goals.
The way things are at the moment for both teams I haven't a clue what the outcome will be, would love a win obviously.
45 Posted 20/12/2019 at 17:05:59
46 Posted 20/12/2019 at 17:07:43
Steve Round? One quote sums that joker up. He was appointed after we had just finished FIFTH and he said "Next year we are aiming for top SIX." Nice, lower the bar right away you complete joker.
47 Posted 20/12/2019 at 17:13:45
48 Posted 20/12/2019 at 17:25:49
49 Posted 20/12/2019 at 18:12:19
Whatever though, we will still beat these tomorrow.
50 Posted 20/12/2019 at 18:16:18
51 Posted 20/12/2019 at 18:17:40
We are submitting this on December 23rd and although it will run into the new year before a decision is made, plans may be putting into place for Bill to step down if we get the New stadium.
52 Posted 20/12/2019 at 18:19:54
53 Posted 20/12/2019 at 18:22:29
Although it would be encouraging to know even if it was a definite for a post-match announcement, or Sunday/Monday.
The longer it goes on (given Everton's History) one can't help thinking that there is a hitch, cock-up, or whatever! ðŸ˜
54 Posted 20/12/2019 at 19:48:17
If anyone thinks Arteta is a nice guy in the mould of Silva just watch this and you will see the hunger in him. Honestly his interview was exactly what I want to hear from an incoming Everton manager and I had championed him because I felt he would marry the dynamic young coach we have striven for with someone who would uphold the ethos and values which big dunc has rekindled.
Cest la vie
55 Posted 20/12/2019 at 19:57:58
Conor McCourt #54.
It's all blah blah blah.
When we beat Arsenal tomorrow Arteta will have all the ready made excuses to hand. If the Arsenal win then he will be like the second coming and all Gooners will go out, get pissed and start dreaming of top 4.
The following Saturday, it starts again..
56 Posted 20/12/2019 at 19:58:48
With a bit of tweaking he and Richie will make a good dual strike force. ie: to meet crosses into the opponents area one of them should run to the near post while the other takes the back one. I have noticed that currently both attack the same space.
57 Posted 20/12/2019 at 21:39:48
58 Posted 20/12/2019 at 22:09:44
Then, Harry Corbett died and the audience grew up and became more knowledgeable and sophisticated.
Many millions still believe in Sooty (and Sweep) and Matthew Corbett did his best to pretend that Sooty was still alive.
However, all we adults know that what we are told on the TV is not always the truth and no matter who is waving the magic wand - it doesn't always work.
I fear that Mr. M Arteta is about to find out that his magic wand is not going to instantly work at Arsenal.
Mr. D Ferguson has already found out that his did at Everton.
Our next question is, - will Mr. C Ancelotti agree to join Everton and, if, so, is his magic wand in good working order?
59 Posted 20/12/2019 at 23:06:42
Hopefully, tomorrow, EFC and Duncan, take the Gunners apart, and show no mercy.
Let's hope the tides of time the next few days, show up for EFC.
60 Posted 20/12/2019 at 23:35:12
I'm quick to take a dislike to people for no apparent reason so Round was a bit of a no-brainer. His pearly white smile and boilerplate haircut. The kind of clean-cuttery sported only by those that you know have something despicable to hide.
61 Posted 20/12/2019 at 23:39:30
62 Posted 20/12/2019 at 23:42:48
63 Posted 21/12/2019 at 00:05:41
How good would it be to see this lad make his premier league debut tomorrow: Link only to fulfil his dream and score the winner.
64 Posted 21/12/2019 at 00:23:36
65 Posted 21/12/2019 at 08:05:20
66 Posted 21/12/2019 at 08:36:56
I think a decisive goal today will come from Mina. He should have scored 5 or 6 already this season. Duncan will be talking to him about ruthlessness in front of goal. I will have a tenner on it that the penny has dropped and back Mina at 12/1 to score today at any time, Arsenal will be all at sea at times and I can see one or two headed goals from us.
Everton 3 Arsenal 1
67 Posted 21/12/2019 at 08:50:23
A hard fought loss for me.
68 Posted 21/12/2019 at 09:10:58
69 Posted 21/12/2019 at 09:13:47
Sincerely hope you are right, I wonder if there will be a special guest in the Stands and an announcement after the Match?
70 Posted 21/12/2019 at 09:26:18
At the business end let's hope we can demolish Arsenal today, as speaking mid week with a few of their fans I know via work, they reckon, we should take them apart, and hammer them.
But we've been here before, so a w8n, and a great celebration thanks to Duncan and an early Chrimbo present for us all.
Let's show the Capo dei Tutti - Don Carlo, what Everton is and start the new era in high spirits, and ready to take up the fight to get the club on the road to success.
I'm genuinely on a high about the club, and some RS at work, have been quieter than normal this week, with their wise cracks..
71 Posted 21/12/2019 at 09:29:41
With a firm handshake - - your friend - - George
72 Posted 21/12/2019 at 09:44:29
73 Posted 21/12/2019 at 10:01:56
74 Posted 21/12/2019 at 10:04:37
75 Posted 21/12/2019 at 10:04:39
I would simply like Keane dropped along with Iwobi.
Keane seems to be unsuited to football, immobile, slow and lacking intelligence. Iwobi is the proverbial headless chicken.
I hope Sigurdsson is fit to slot into midfield alongside Tom Davies, allowing Holgate to join Mina at the back.
I would have Richarlison on the left instead of the unfit, powderpuff that is Bernard and DCL at Centre forward.
Pickford, Baines, Mina, Holgate, Sidibe(or Coleman)
Richarlison, Sigurdsson, Davies, Gordon,
76 Posted 21/12/2019 at 10:04:59
77 Posted 21/12/2019 at 10:12:40
78 Posted 21/12/2019 at 10:19:27
Maybe move Richarlison back to the left hand side and maybe play Kean next to DCL. I would move Holgate back alongside Mina and play Sigurdsson in midfield with Davies.
79 Posted 21/12/2019 at 11:05:23
Definitely Arsenal will try to set up shop and channel Evertons attacking play into bottlenecks. Arteta will want control of the midfield with tic tac play, that was successful for Lecicester in the first half.
80 Posted 21/12/2019 at 11:06:56
By the way, did anyone see Mina's spear tackle on Baines after he scored on Wednesday? Poor Leighton didn't know what happened him.
81 Posted 21/12/2019 at 11:19:28
"I couldn't have conceived two weeks ago that this experience would surpass my expectations.
“But it has, for two reasons. Firstly, because of you. I've never disguised my feelings about Evertonians, I think you're a magic set of fans. But feeling that depth of support as the man on the touchline has opened my eyes even further to the impact you have on this team.
“I felt that electric surge your backing generates as a player. But that sensation is stronger when you're responsible for these guys and can see their confidence and energy levels flying off the charts because you've got their backs.
“And the attitude of those players is the other factor which has contributed to this being one of the best periods of my life.
“I've demanded a lot of them - and it will be no different today - and the way they've responded has made me incredibly proud"
82 Posted 21/12/2019 at 11:24:27
83 Posted 21/12/2019 at 11:27:08
84 Posted 21/12/2019 at 11:29:09
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