Theo Walcott is a doubt to face his former club with the knee injury he sustained against Crystal Palace
With the staggered winter break out the way, Everton are back in Premier League action with a trip to Arsenal.
Carlo Ancelotti has already experienced a couple of “Everton, that” moments in his short time as the Toffees' boss — the embarrassing FA Cup defeat to Liverpool's kids and the injury-time collapse against Newcastle were succinct examples of the mentality the Italian needs to change — but he has also knocked some things on the head, most notably the team's failure under his predecessor to come from behind to win in the Premier League.
He will get the chance to get one of the biggest monkeys off Evertonian backs next month in the Goodison derby but another is the Blues' pathetic record away at the grounds of the so-called “big six”. That, of course, includes Arsenal whom an Everton side hasn't beaten on their turf since the days of Highbury in 1996.
Ancelotti was made aware of his new club's litany of failure at the homes of that formerly elite six, where they haven't won since Bryan Oviedo's late winner at Old Trafford in December 2013 and said: “Not one victory? Wow! I'm going to cry! It's time to win, then.” Is it ever.
This weekend's trip to North London is the first of four successive games against those clubs, two of which are away, a run which can either be regarded as daunting or pregnant with possibility.
Ancelotti acknowledged the size of the challenge during his pre-match press conference he pointed out just how key it could be to Everton's European aspirations. Once they're out the way, the picture vis-a-vis the top six or seven will be that much clearer.
“Of course, we have to be focused on Arsenal but if we want to think about Europe, there are very important games after Arsenal,” he said. “We have to play against United, Chelsea and Liverpool so after these four games, we can see what's going on for Europe.
“We need to have confidence to our best, to try to win. I know that Arsenal have improved a lot, they have more confidence and they are playing better. It will be difficult but the spirit of [our] team is good and we have confidence.”
Theo Walcott looks likely to miss out on a return to his former stomping ground at The Emirates because of the knee injury he sustained against Crystal Palace a fortnight ago.
The winger had to be withdrawn after just 24 minutes of the 3-1 victory at Goodison Park, shortly after serving up the opening goal for Bernard, and while he has just resumed training, he is doubtful for Sunday's game against Arsenal.
Bernard has shaken off a minor complaint, however, and is fit to play while a decision on whether André Gomes starts his first game in almost four months will be made before the match.
The Portuguese played an hour-long practice match at Finch Farm over the winter break and has been passed fit to play but this weekend's fixture in the Capital will be his first taste of action since he suffered an awful ankle fracture dislocation in early November.
“André is available to play,” manager Carlo Ancelotti said in his pre-match press conference. “He trained well, properly, with confidence and without problems. My opinion is that he is ready to play.
“Before the game we are going to talk together and we are going to decide if he can start the game or if he goes on the bench.
“Bernard is okay. Theo had a problem 0- he started to train individually today. We will see tomorrow but I am not sure if he will play against Arsenal.”
The game sees two teams chasing European qualification go head-to-head just a few weeks after they played out a goalless draw at Goodison Park with their respective new bosses watching on from the stands.
Mikel Arteta appears to be slowly turning things around at Arsenal and they come into the game on the back of successive wins over Newcastle in the Premier League and Olympiakos in the Europa League.
Indeed, like Ancelotti, the Spaniard has lost just one League game since taking the helm but the Gunners are still not the force they were and defensively they can be suspect which will no doubt be an area that Ancelotti will look to exploit.
Sokratis Papastathopoulos is likely to be ruled out, joining Calum Chambers and new signing Cedric Soares on the sidelines and Skodran Mustafi twisted a knee at the end of Thursday's game in Greece but could be passed fit to play. Mezut Ozil is expected to return after missing the Europa League tie for personal reasons.
With Everton having put their recent run form together with a depleted and often under-performing central midfield, the potential return of Gomes is a tantalising prospect but it does remain to be seen whether he feels able to be thrown back into the starting XI.
If it is decided that he starts on the bench, then Ancelotti will have to choose between Fabian Delph, available again following suspension but in unreliable form since his arrival at the club from Manchester City, and Gylfi Sigurdsson who has acquitted himself well in central midfield alongside Morgan Schneiderlin. The boss could also decide to drop the Frenchman — that would be harsh given his impressive display against Crystal Palace — and restore the Delph/Sigurdsson axis in the middle.
Out wide, Djibril Sidibé is the likely replacement for Walcott while Alex Iwobi could be preferred to Bernard on the left. At the back, Mason Holgate is expected to come back in for Michael Keane after sitting out until the later stages against Palace.
Kick-off: 4:30pm, Sunday 23 February, 2020
Referee: Stuart Attwell
VAR: Craig Pawson
Last Time: Arsenal 2 - 0 Everton
Predicted Line-up: Pickford, Coleman, Mina, Holgate, Digne, Schneiderlin, Gomes, Sidibé , Iwobi, Richarlison, Calvert-Lewin
Reader Comments (119)
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1 Posted 21/02/2020 at 23:05:25
Can't even hope to compete without ol' Theo.
2 Posted 22/02/2020 at 00:28:43
3 Posted 22/02/2020 at 01:05:53
I'd hope for an unchanged team apart from Holgate returning. Gomes should start on the bench in my opinion. Then again, have to trust our manager.
4 Posted 22/02/2020 at 01:31:51
5 Posted 22/02/2020 at 03:06:36
6 Posted 22/02/2020 at 05:45:21
My guess/expectation for the starting XI is:
Coleman Mina Holgate Digne
Sigurdsson Gomes Schneiderlin Bernard
Subs: Stekelenburg, Keane, Sidibe, Delph, Davies, Kean, Iwobi
Sigurdsson, though slower, is harder working than Sidibe, and his quality of crossing is better and more consistent than Sidibe, IMO. Expect Digne, Bernard and Sigurdsson to be putting things in the penalty box for Richarlison and Calvert-Lewin to head. Kean to come on with about 20 mins to play and create mayhem with Mustafi and Luiz.
7 Posted 22/02/2020 at 05:54:38
Midfield will be the deciding factor and how organised Arsenal are defensively. Naturally, Ancelotti has been thinking ahead, hopeful that he has alternatives in midfield and he needs them after the last performance from Sigurdsson. Walcott, who normally plays and avoids injury, played very well on his last performance and got Injured.
Arsena! are not above setting up shop and channelling Everton's attacking play and will have an effective counter-attack. It's a game after the dreaded break, thankfully it wasn't a warm-weather one, and Ancelotti has prevented Finch Farm from going into holiday mode. How Holgate and Bernard, who hopefully has recovered, play will determine the outcome, as will Gomes and how he has reacted to Ancelotti's coaching.
Another very interesting game for Everton.
8 Posted 22/02/2020 at 06:43:36
Ancelotti is right, of course. The next four games against the bigger clubs are going to be crucial. If we win the first of them, we can approach the others with a totally different mindset.
I think by half-four tomorrow, we'll probably know whether these players are challenging for Thursday Cup qualification or if they have loftier ambitions.
Massive game. I'm already both nervous and excited about it.
9 Posted 22/02/2020 at 06:58:20
Yes, we have improved, rode our luck and got back in contention for a European place. However, it's all down to the confidence of this bunch of players and their hunger, desire to want to get into the top 6.
We need to win simple as that. My heart hopes my heads in doubt, just another Everton fan praying the players don't bottle it.
10 Posted 22/02/2020 at 07:07:25
I wasn't very impressed by Arsenal at all, to be honest, and it looked like being a 0-0 until Lacazette found his scoring boots again; let's hope he has lost them for Sunday.
Team selection will be interesting, but it looks like Carlo likes to spring a few surprises, so the opposition don't know what to expect. I like that approach, and all of our players seem to be up for it.
I have been one of Schneiderlin's biggest critics, but I must admit Carlo has brought something out of him which I didn't think he possessed. While not being outstanding, he has been a big improvement on what he has shown in the past.
11 Posted 22/02/2020 at 07:26:23
I agree regarding Schneiderlin. A performance like his last would be the ticket, though I thought he had to carry Sigurdsson in that game.
12 Posted 22/02/2020 at 07:26:42
â€˜It is time for a win there' â€” love it, his management and mindset is transforming the same players that lacked the guile or inclination to win a raffle under Silva to committed professionals we expect to achieve away to Arsenal. They have excellent forwards but are not solid defensively and can be got at.
Whatever the result, this is more like it and what we have been waiting for; when the intellectual Titan that is Rio Ferdinand, the ex-footballer cum professional conveyor of transcendent wisdom, used the medium of talking through his arse to demand of Evertonians “What do they want?â€ when we were somehow less than satisfied with another Allardyce horror show, his outrage that we seem to have ideas far above our station. A manager who can deliver results is what we want and have been waiting too long for, and Ancelotti seems to be that man.
13 Posted 22/02/2020 at 07:35:14
14 Posted 22/02/2020 at 07:35:17
I don't think he'll be here next season and we should be looking to get a fee for him in the summer; if he has a good end to the season, it works for both parties, so let's get behind him, lads. It may work under Carlo if he is paired with Gomes.
15 Posted 22/02/2020 at 07:36:43
16 Posted 22/02/2020 at 07:55:32
Tomorrow our midfield will need to grab the game by the scruff of the neck. With decent service we have enough attacking power to unsettle the Arsenal defence. The question is whether or not our defence can keep a rare clean sheet. Bernard seems to be a man of the match player at home but ineffectual away. For that reason Iwobi may start.
17 Posted 22/02/2020 at 08:02:20
Time they showed it.
18 Posted 22/02/2020 at 08:07:12
It's midnight and I have two E&J brandies in me, and that hit just the spot. I can't stop giggling.
19 Posted 22/02/2020 at 08:18:48
While that would be a natural reaction given our history, I think we should wait until after the next four games before making any judgements.
It's early days in Carlo's tenure here and he's possibly going to need more time to change and instil a better mentality.
Anyway here's hoping for a win tomorrow, though I'll accept a creditable draw.
20 Posted 22/02/2020 at 08:19:16
We have a manger who most of this team would of previously only dreamed of playing for! No excuses now. If Schneiderlin (and a few others) can't raise their game for Carlo, they may as well finish with football at the top level!
Really hope we beat Arsenal. My boss is a smug cockney gooner! Utter delusional. Still thinks they are a top top side! Moaned about Wenger and then moaned when Arteta joined. Would love to wipe the floor with them! Can't stand southern clubs and their entitled fans!
21 Posted 22/02/2020 at 08:22:31
22 Posted 22/02/2020 at 08:31:43
23 Posted 22/02/2020 at 08:33:43
We will undoubtedly get at them defensively, and there is no question our set piece into the box, if it's as good as the last match, will cause chaos in arsenals box. We have to take our chances, as I said, we will get them.
24 Posted 22/02/2020 at 08:37:29
That clown Luiz can be got at make no mistake, so he needs to be clattered and wound up at every opportunity.
As for the other end, we know who their 2 main threats are so lets stand up and be counted. Stop their strikers, frustrate and be strong.
It all sounds so simple doesn't it.
I don't think we'll break our Emirates duck tomorrow unfortunately but here's hoping. I'm going for a score draw.
Full support. Onward Evertonians. ðŸ™
25 Posted 22/02/2020 at 08:44:14
He is clearly a strategist and is not afraid to look beyond the next game.
How often have we heard other managers (and not just ours) say 'we are not interested in Europe (or winning the league, or the cup etc. )- only the next match'?
It is refreshing to have a manager who clearly thinks beyond that and is not afraid to say so.
That, in itself, surely instills more belief and confidence in the players?
26 Posted 22/02/2020 at 08:56:23
I think we will nick it by the odd goal and maybe another Mina moment ?
27 Posted 22/02/2020 at 09:20:49
Until a lot of these players prove they have the same mindset as Ancelotti I will wait and see how we will cope, a draw tomorrow will keep me happy, a win will surprise me but make me happier still.
28 Posted 22/02/2020 at 09:21:06
29 Posted 22/02/2020 at 09:36:05
30 Posted 22/02/2020 at 09:36:55
Which Arsenal players would you swap for ours like for like? One or two? It's going to be a tough match Mikel will have them fired up and they will be feel better after a couple of wins. Still, we have a great chance against this Arsenal team.
I'm looking forward to the next 4 games now, I certainly don't find them daunting. I definitely see them as pregnant with possibility. A win tomorrow will be another marker that this Everton team under Carlo Ancelloti means business.
An aside ; It's a sad state of affairs but I fear VAR and the officials more than I fear Arsenal's threat.
31 Posted 22/02/2020 at 09:43:54
32 Posted 22/02/2020 at 10:06:09
Said it before
What an ambassador
33 Posted 22/02/2020 at 10:13:38
Agree with Darren, that this game is like a semi-final, and also have a feeling that Ancelotti might start introducing Moise Kean a lot more, because he must be more settled and acclimatised now, and he has the pace to come off the bench and get in behind this Arsenal team, I hope.
Bill G, also speaks sense, but hopefully the man-management, leadership and knowledge of Carlo Ancelotti, can give our team a confidence that it hasn't had for years, because belief is everything in this great game, and that's all the players need to show our supporters, because if they do, we will do the rest! COYBB
34 Posted 22/02/2020 at 10:13:50
35 Posted 22/02/2020 at 10:24:19
In assessing them as a mid table team brings in the work under Unai and Freddy which is irrelevant. They have played five home games under Arteta, won three, drawn one and lost one. In all of those games bar Leeds in the cup they were the dominant team.
I think we will need our best performance of the season to get the three points as our best effort to date in beating Chelsea may not be enough. I agree with Carl that stopping their left side will be the key to getting a result.
I would like to see Kean start tomorrow as when Saka bombs forward they defend with Luiz and Xhaka on that left side so there is a real lack of pace with Mustafi also not being lightning to cover. Hopefully Carlo will expose that area.
36 Posted 22/02/2020 at 10:27:22
Seamus Yerry Mason Lucas
Theo Morgan Andre Alex
37 Posted 22/02/2020 at 10:54:50
My feeling is that Arsenal have been slightly better than their results suggest and we have been slightly worse than ours do. Both teams currently possess strikers on form and defenders prone to mishaps so you'd expect a few goals but equally it could be cagey from two well-matched teams.
If Theo is not fit then I hope its not Sidibe who gets the nod. Not that he has not been decent but playing a right back on the wing sends a very defensive message. I'd be tempted to start Kean up front and play Richie on the wing, where he always works very hard, to give us more goal threat though i'm loathe to move the Brazilian further away from goal. Tough one to call.
38 Posted 22/02/2020 at 11:19:38
39 Posted 22/02/2020 at 11:44:27
40 Posted 22/02/2020 at 11:49:02
41 Posted 22/02/2020 at 12:10:56
42 Posted 22/02/2020 at 12:20:01
Arsenal is winnable if we can keep them out but over the next ten games we need to go up a level and stay there. We have already gone up a level or two so it is possible but...
43 Posted 22/02/2020 at 12:28:38
Here's hoping for 3 points and an improved performance on recent outings. It's definitely a winnable game and we should try to take advantage of their weaknesses at the back.
44 Posted 22/02/2020 at 12:38:23
As Arsenal's out-and-out striker as opposed to Richarlison playing wide or as the 2nd striker for most of the season, you would expect the Arsenal man to have more goals - 15-9.
But all the other numbers show what an excellent player we have in the Brazilian.
Richarlison - and the team - is one of the players to most benefit from Carlo's tweaks since he arrived.
Playing closer alongside Dom allows him to get more shots on goal, but of possibly greater benefit is how deadly the set up can now be on the counter attack.
Examples of this is his run and assist for Dom's wining goal away to Newcastle; the run and pass into Moise that enabled Walcott's winner at Watford; his run and excellent goal from Dom's flick on last time out v Palace.
This is no accident. Carlo has repeatedly said since arriving that the best opportunity to score is on the counter attack and has set the team up to do just that.
45 Posted 22/02/2020 at 12:45:11
So after Arsenal [a], Manchester United [h], Chelsea [a], Liverpool [h], we have the trip to Norwich. Then in April it's Leicester City [a], Spurs [h], Southampton [a], Wolves [h].
What a great run of nine matches!
If we qualify for Europe this season, reckon we'll have had to earn it.
I'm really looking forward to seeing what Ancelotti can get out of this squad through to the season's end. Thank goodness we have him, otherwise I don't think we'd be anywhere near contention for Europe.
46 Posted 22/02/2020 at 12:46:27
47 Posted 22/02/2020 at 12:51:58
48 Posted 22/02/2020 at 12:56:23
49 Posted 22/02/2020 at 12:56:34
So maybe there is still hope to get Cebolinha, but I would imagine there is a long list who have their eye on him, still his friendship with Richarlison may just tempt him to come.
50 Posted 22/02/2020 at 13:12:00
Let's hope Carlo can bring some winner's arrogance to the proceedings because this isn't a great Arsenal side. My prediction is 2-1 to us.
Slightly off-piste, I see Zouma's only on the subs bench yet again.
51 Posted 22/02/2020 at 13:16:46
The Invincibles were at the beginning of Wenger's tenure at Arsenal. The remains of Arsenal's defensive system still existed. Wenger did improve the attacking system, but the defensive system eroded away. Arsenal found it difficult to get results against top four sides. Their Premier League position was determined by points tally against middle- to lower-placed sides, which they were good against.
Wenger survived not being a league winning contender by hiding behind tight funds as the result of a new Stadium, and FA Cup that suited his system. Wenger was never going to win the Premier League again or the Champions League.
Having said that, a lynching should have happened at Everton for what happened there. Arsenal can still show remnants of the defensive at times.
52 Posted 22/02/2020 at 13:19:22
Derek, I am desperate to see the Brands documentary. Not arrived in my neck of the woods yet and my daily searches for it on YouTube and the like returns nothing. Do share with me any link you may find that allows me to watch it. Cheers!
I would hope Brands is developing his South American network. There are great bargains to be found. Porto in Portugal were masters of recruit low, win trophies with them, sell on for mega-bucks.
I'm not talking about the likes of Real Madrid's trio of Brazilian teenagers recently recruited - Vinicius Jnr, Rodrygo and Reinier Jesus who were all bought for £20 million plus. They were on every club's radar, so not difficult to source.
I mean players like tomorrow's opponents Arsenal recruited last summer, Gabriel Martinelli, for just £6 million.
Why was I impressed by that? Because, although he had trials a couple of years back with both United and Barcelona, neither showed interest in him.
I personally had never heard of him or seen him play. He has never played for one of Brazil's top clubs. Indeed, when Arsenal signed him he was playing with Ituano in Serie D - the fourth tier of Brazilian football.
Believe me, that isn't even National League level. It probably equates to the 7th-8th-9th tier of English football.
It also helps that, like many Brazilians if you look into their geneaology, that he could claim dual Italian nationality. Indeed, some reports say he is deciding whether to commit to the Italian or Brazilian national team as only last year after joining Arsenal was he selected for the Brazil U-23 team in friendlies.
I believe in Marcel Brands, and it's early days yet, but I had hoped he would have unearthed some diamonds in the rough by now. Hopefully this summer he will start pulling them out of the hat.
54 Posted 22/02/2020 at 13:47:09
We have to remember there are a few teams interested in those European places, also a few teams wanting away from the bottom.
Just watching Chelsea and they'll be no easy game for us.
Since Duncan and then Ancelotti have come in we have done really well. If we maintain it, we will be very close. Hopefully we do well tomorrow.
Wherever we finish up this season our present management set up bodes well for next season.
55 Posted 22/02/2020 at 14:03:40
56 Posted 22/02/2020 at 14:20:12
Jay @48, Spot on with regards to your assessment of Richarlison and how Carlo is using him on the counter and that his figures are so impressive considering he's often been misused by Silva.
However your comparison and it's conclusion I would take umbrage with. Aubameyang rarely plays as an "out-and-out striker" and is used from the left with Lacazette normally central though Nketiah played there against the Geordies.
This is why I rate Aubameyang so highly because, since he's came to the league, he's top 2 in goals ahead of some big names yet he's up against players whose teams are set up for them to deliver. He, like Richarlison, has had to work for the team mainly to accommodate Lacazette, though it could be argued he's best suited to that role.
57 Posted 22/02/2020 at 14:26:12
Isn't it also the case that quite a few top Argentinian players are also of Italian descent? I think I once saw a TV programme which had a story about Italian immigrant dock workers in Buenos Aires who, like the British, established football as a workers' game?
Returning to the Arsenal game, a safe journey to all our fans making the trip; here is hoping for a rare win. One thing we might benefit from in taking a lead is that the Gunners fans are notoriously fickle, and could make it difficult for their own team if we clearly have the upper hand.
58 Posted 22/02/2020 at 14:45:34
Aubameyang's almost exclusively show him only in the opponents' half, either centrally on just wide of centre, occasionally on the flanks.
Richarlison's covers three-quarters of the pitch such is his work ethic and team work helping out defensively. You can throw into that as well him being critically important in our own penalty area in defensive situations, such is his heading strength.
Both good players. Both do good work for their team. Both with good offensive numbers.
The 30-year-old (31 in June) Aubameyang, or the 22-year-old (23 in May) Richarlison?
I know who I lean more towards.
59 Posted 22/02/2020 at 15:17:39
I take your point about potential but I don't think Aubameyang gets the credit that the likes of Kane and Aguero because he is just an assassin. I think he could play in any team; If we keep him quiet tomorrow, we will be half-way there.
60 Posted 22/02/2020 at 15:53:13
61 Posted 22/02/2020 at 17:15:13
Carlo has injected a little more into this squad and, although still not playing great stuff, they are picking up points, which is always a good sign.
Hopefully Gomes will not be rushed in, rather eased in for the last 20 minutes, no matter what.
Neither team's defence has been impressive this season and it could be a shootout if both teams go for it as middle-of-the-table teams having little to play for except maybe an outside chance of the Europa League qualifying rounds.
62 Posted 22/02/2020 at 17:29:05
63 Posted 22/02/2020 at 20:28:31
64 Posted 22/02/2020 at 20:47:27
I see AndrÃ© Gomes starting, in a view where I reckon Carlo will be looking for some early kills, in terms of offensive counter-play.
Last season, we should have been 3-0, up at half-time.
It's a game, let's forget the past at The Emirates and take the Arsenal to the cleaners tomorrow.
This is about attitude and belief. It's winnable and EFC can do it, and I'm optimistic. Get the win, and one game at a time.
Hopefully the squad won't be ring rusty after the break, and hopefully no self-inflicted mistakes tomorrow.
Focus, discipline and keep our shape.
65 Posted 22/02/2020 at 21:10:33
66 Posted 22/02/2020 at 21:23:24
67 Posted 22/02/2020 at 21:25:27
I agree with your assessments of Sigurdsson against Palace. I dug out stats on his performance, which I posted on a previous thread, which back your claims.
Schneiderlin looked pretty pissed off at times; when you look at his stats in comparison to Sigurdsson's, you can see why. Schneiderlin carried him most of the game. A Sigurdsson performance like that against Arsenal would be punished.
I think that Ancelotti will be very interested in what Gomes can do.
68 Posted 22/02/2020 at 22:01:08
Personally, if Theo is not fit, I would put Richarlison there and give Kean a run against the slow centre-backs of Arsenal.
Out of interest, I did a Steve Ferns and did a predictor to the end of the season for those jockeying between 4th and 10th (except for Burnley). Now with my Royal Blue bias in full throttle, I forecast we would get another 23 points putting us on 59 points but above us Chelsea on 64 with Spurs and Sheffield Utd on 61 points. Man Utd, Wolves and Arsenal just below us.
So, with a fair wind, 7th place. Anything better than that would have to rely on a collapse in form of those above us and some shock results.
Anyway, let's concentrate on a 6-pointer with Arsenal. We have to be due a change of fortune although they are starting to get the crowd behind them now.
69 Posted 22/02/2020 at 22:11:44
I'd start Gomes and Davies in the middle. Gomes to distribute, Davies to just crunch around and get under their skin.
^^ that'll never happen.
"Pregnant with possibility" is how I view these next 4 games. Nine points from these, and not only is Europe on, so is a Champions League place.
Success beckons. Let's see how it goes.
70 Posted 22/02/2020 at 22:32:43
Here is the link for the Brands program from the Premier League World program:
It played for me once, then I've had problems, but I think it's my PC.
Good wishes Jay, and keep the comments coming.
71 Posted 22/02/2020 at 23:07:20
And the point I was really making is that although it's Arsenal, it's not the Arsenal of Henry etc. It's a pretty average side overall and they're beneath us for a reason.
So, with our unflappable manager, I hope we treat them as we would, say, Wolves â€“ ie, with enough respect to keep a few dangerous players quiet but not so much respect that we forget how good we are.
72 Posted 22/02/2020 at 23:19:29
73 Posted 23/02/2020 at 01:27:57
We have not played well since Chelsea and we have been lucky, 2 points from the next four games is about all we can expect at the moment.
Please, for a change, Everton â€” prove me wrong!!!
74 Posted 23/02/2020 at 01:40:19
I hope those of yous that are at the match can give him a hero's welcome as being one of our best players of the Moyes and post-Moyes era â€” I reckon he deserves it.
I'll be listening out on the telly for a rousing "Best Little Spaniard We Know" and for the commentators to comment on it.
Let's show those red wankers we don't turn on our own (unless they're homegrown youngsters!!)
Edit: oops, I thought it was a home game, but our away support are always vocal.
75 Posted 23/02/2020 at 02:00:19
76 Posted 23/02/2020 at 07:16:50
77 Posted 23/02/2020 at 07:55:46
As Theo is out (I never thought I'd say it but I believe he has earned the right to start under Carlo... for now), I would start Richarlison on the right. I know it's not his best position but he would really help Seamus out tracking back with Saka and Aubameyang. Let's hope Seamus can do a job on him, like he did on Zaha the other week. I'd play Bernard on the left, looking to cut in and start Kean up front.
I am desperate for 3 points today, it would be a real statement going into the final stretch of the season. COYB.
78 Posted 23/02/2020 at 08:26:27
This is not times past; this is now â€“ our time.
Odd times back when Arsenal were really good and we were on what passed for form... the Pienaar 2-2 game, we'd get called Arsenal-lite.
Arsenal are, at the moment, Arsenal-lite... and as has been said, they tend to not like it up 'em.
Over to you, Carlo... give them a dose of what we gave Chelsea â€“ Glory beckons.
79 Posted 23/02/2020 at 08:36:27
80 Posted 23/02/2020 at 08:59:17
81 Posted 23/02/2020 at 09:18:20
I will stay positive! The Arsenal centrebacks know they're in for a physical game and won't be looking forward to it!
Digne's delivery improved in the last game and he's flickering back into life and the Portuguese hunk may well be back!
More importantly, Hereford is no longer under water! Ashley is allowed to leave hospital for a few hours to watch the game with us, and Mr Wilder got his face punched in!
It's going to be a good day!
82 Posted 23/02/2020 at 09:18:42
English teams might even have more Englishmen in them than foreigners?? What will happen to those teams that cannot even field a single Englishman in their squad??
83 Posted 23/02/2020 at 09:23:05
I agree. I have never came across a whimper of dissent against Arteta on ToffeeWeb.
85 Posted 23/02/2020 at 09:28:45
86 Posted 23/02/2020 at 09:32:22
What annoys me most about Sigurdsson is that, against Chelsea at Goodison, he performed as he should in his role. I find his other performances prior to and since then baffling and poor, especially since he is Everton's most expensive player.
87 Posted 23/02/2020 at 09:46:38
Get stuck into them early doors and we will win.
Carl #81, I hope Ashley gets to watch the game from home, good luck!
88 Posted 23/02/2020 at 09:53:49
I know where you are coming from. The Arsenal game is away from home, it's after the dreaded break, some players are not performing to Ancelotti's standard and Everton are playing Chelsea away in this fixture schedule on the rebound.
This game is the push-on game to progress up the table. Everton for years have bottled these type of fixtures, but Ancelotti has broken a few taboos.
Everton are performing better away from home and getting results, the break was not a warm-weather break and all players were available, Ancelotti came across as determined to work the players hard on their individual performances and his tactical implementation during the break, and alternate players are increasing competing for positions.
This is all feeding through on ToffeeWeb posts, but apprehension is still there.
89 Posted 23/02/2020 at 09:56:59
Of our rivals mentioned, some are distracted by other commitments and some are also seriously weakened by injuries. I really think we can make 5th. A win today would demonstrate our ambition. Arsenal are 11th for a reason. Ancelotti will be well aware of our abysmal away record at the Sky Big Six.
Pickford, The English Lloris, is bound to concede at least one ... so can we score at least two?
90 Posted 23/02/2020 at 10:01:17
You need to go and sit in a dark room this afternoon, mate.
Best case scenario is a win. Worst case scenario is a draw.
91 Posted 23/02/2020 at 10:03:36
Of course, in the spirit of good gamesmanship, and as an ex-Everton player who always tried to give of his best. Arteta will be welcomed and applauded.
But we will still be hoping he isn't quite there as a manager yet. I'm glad Ancelotti is manager of Everton and not Arsenal!
92 Posted 23/02/2020 at 10:59:28
Let's hope this is only a temporary displacement, and a draw in the Man Utd and Wolves games would see us jump to 7th. Although that is being optimistic in the case of Wolves (v Norwich) a team scrapping for survival can sometimes be a genuine threat.
The same with Watford, since Pearson took over they have improved dramatically with basically the same set of players. A parallel with ourselves to some degree, and I hope both ourselves and Watford can get something out of their games.
I won't even try to predict a team or a score, because Carlo has certainly pulled some rabbits out of hats before, where we have been winning ugly when it seemed defeat was on the cards.
93 Posted 23/02/2020 at 11:18:08
I'm personally anti VAR and would rather have refs making honest mistakes.
I accept that it's here to stay; however, it's not VAR that's at fault, it's the inconsistency from the operators.
94 Posted 23/02/2020 at 11:19:25
That's just not even funny anymore.
Time this club really started to gets its act together big time.
95 Posted 23/02/2020 at 11:27:35
My theory on Sigurdsson is based around the managers. For some reason, he completely lost faith in Marco this season early on, despite the manager continually building the team around him yet the player downed tools.
The Chelsea performance and his effort under Big Dunc was probably based on a mixture of fear (Dunc) and relief (Silva gone).
Under Carlo, we have changed systems to maximise the output of what Carlo sees as our most important players Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison (and Kean when preferred). Players like Schneiderlin, Bernard and Walcott have benefitted but there will always be fall guys.
Sigurdsson and Iwobi will get frustrated, what they will see as 'sacrificing' their talents for the good of the team. They both operate best centrally in advanced positions and Sigurdsson seems like he is trying (unlike under Silva) but is a little lost and lacks belief.
With Walcott being out today, I wouldn't be surprised if Carlo went five at the back and three in midfield as it may suit the players at his disposal.
96 Posted 23/02/2020 at 11:57:26
The last home game when Walcott went off injured and with Iwobi and Kean on the bench, Carlo still preferred to bring on Sidibe, maybe because we were winning the game at that point and he wanted to hold onto our lead.
Arsenal are weak at the back and we need to be really positive against them, still think Luiz is a mistake waiting to happen. And Mustafi isn't much better, let's hope Dominic and Richarlison run them ragged.
98 Posted 23/02/2020 at 12:07:45
Keep the faith mate, you are going to need it.
99 Posted 23/02/2020 at 12:19:22
Make no mistake, this Arsenal side can be got at big time, we can win this if the players get right up for it and do their jobs.
Ancelotti will know with a win, the confidence will really start to flow in the team and set us up for a late charge for 5th place, maybe even 4th, this is that type of game.
Most of the pundits reckon we will lose â€“ prove them wrong. It's about time we started to change this awful record we have against the top six. COYB.
100 Posted 23/02/2020 at 12:29:43
101 Posted 23/02/2020 at 12:38:08
The next four matches will decide if there has been any kind of shift in the mentality.
Four huge games in the context of what the season may hold.
Two wins from this bunch of matches and the doors to Aladdin's treasure may just start to open for this club.
For far too long it's always been “next season we will be this or thatâ€.
Maybe it's about time we started doing something NOW.
102 Posted 23/02/2020 at 13:04:22
I say they're the same incompetent and bent refs that can't or won't do their job properly.
And they don't get fired for their mistakes like you or I would if we didn't meet our KPIs.
103 Posted 23/02/2020 at 14:20:30
Thanks for your attempted good deed, but every which way I try it, that link won't work for me.
Still searching for a viewable link. Cheers!
104 Posted 23/02/2020 at 14:37:37
What I like reading this morning is the cautious optimism for today's game.
Everton 2 Arsenal 1
105 Posted 23/02/2020 at 14:49:51
There is probably a measure of truth in your theory, because Sigurdsson seems to take the easier option and not appear to be involved for periods of the game.
The mentality of some of these players on expensive contracts is questionable at times, but going into a huff with Ancelotti as manager will be walking on dangerous ground.
Sigurdsson has other players around him putting in an improved shift, so the pressure will be on Sigurdsson to put a shift in his position to his utmost. He is not doing that at the moment.
106 Posted 23/02/2020 at 14:50:25
I reckon Carlo would settle for a point, and if it's level at about 60 minutes I expect him to start withdrawing the creative players and bringing on the defensive midfielders and central defenders.
107 Posted 23/02/2020 at 14:52:22
108 Posted 23/02/2020 at 14:58:41
I understand where your coming from, but VAR decisions are ruining the game, whereas an honest mistake is over and done with there and then.
You also sent a shiver down my spine mentioning KPIs. I've been retired for 17 years, they were the bane of my working life... ðŸ˜‚
109 Posted 23/02/2020 at 15:04:20
110 Posted 23/02/2020 at 15:21:01
111 Posted 23/02/2020 at 15:22:33
112 Posted 23/02/2020 at 15:35:12
Sidibe Mina Holgate Baines
Sigurdsson Delph Schneiderlin Iwobi
Gomes on the bench with Coleman, Keane, Davies, Bernard and Kean.
113 Posted 23/02/2020 at 15:47:14
There are too many teams around our above us and we can't expect everyone except us to have a collapse in form.
Let's just hope for 3 points today and put another statistic to bed.
114 Posted 23/02/2020 at 15:48:52
BTW Jay, how impressed are you with Bruno? He's really found his feet and showed he can step up a level. I'm delighted I trusted my instinct and got him in my fantasy side for this game.
115 Posted 23/02/2020 at 15:56:35
116 Posted 23/02/2020 at 16:01:16
117 Posted 23/02/2020 at 16:02:50
118 Posted 23/02/2020 at 16:05:57
119 Posted 23/02/2020 at 16:08:33
It should be more obvious today as both Iwobi and Sigurdsson like to be inside and both will go there every chance they get.
The problem is, how does Leighton Baines provide width from left back? He needs to turn the clock back and show stamina and pace I believe he lost long ago.
120 Posted 23/02/2020 at 16:11:09
121 Posted 23/02/2020 at 16:13:39
122 Posted 23/02/2020 at 16:15:39
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