Gylfi Sigurdsson

Stalemate between Everton, Arsenal

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Everton and Arsenal played out a dour 0-0 draw at Goodison Park on Saturday, as both teams had their new managers watching on from the stands.

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Carlo Ancelotti and Mikel Arteta are now in charge of Everton and Arsenal respectively and will have been far from impressed with what they saw as interim managers Duncan Ferguson and Freddie Ljungberg tried their best, but both teams failed to create clear cut chances.

With the point Everton now have 19 for the season but remain just above the relegation zone, while Arsenal move on to 23 points.


3 things we learned

1. Players distracted as new managers watch on: With Arteta and Ancelotti in the stands, both sets of players looked nervous. It was as though they were involved in a very, very public job interview and a lot of the players were trying to do things they weren’t comfortable with. That resulted in a very poor game, lacking in quality and specializing in nerves. Both new managers will have plenty to mull over in the coming days as they aim to push their teams up the table.

2. Arsenal’s kids are okay: Emile Smith Rowe, Bukayo Saka, Joe Reiss Nelson and Gabriel Martinelli all started and all played their part in a gritty away display for the Gunners. The kids played well in the second half against Man City last week and perhaps new manager Arteta will be best served to give them an extended run in the team in the coming weeks and months. Aubameyang was taken off in the second half and the likes of Lacazette, Ozil and Pepe have failed to get going in recent months, so it may be down to the kids to drag Arsenal out of this situation.

3. Big Dunc signs off unbeaten: Interim boss Duncan Ferguson can hold his head high as he prepares for a position on Ancelotti’s staff. The Everton legend beat Chelsea and drew against Man United and Arsenal in his three PL games in charge, plus the Toffees draw 2-2 against Leicester in the League Cup quarterfinals, only to lose on penalty kicks. Ferguson will be back and he is a man of the people and gave his sweatband, tie and everything else away as he walked off the pitch at the end of the game. After Ancelotti, he has shown he can be the next man up for the Toffees as he galvanized a struggling squad of players to dig deep and restore some pride. The way he subbed off the sub Cenk Tosun will rub many the wrong way, and he did it with Moise Kean last week too, but Ferguson isn’t messing around and he has high standards which the Toffees lived up to.

Man of the Match: Calum Chambers – Dug deep defensively, looked solid at the heart of Arsenal’s defense and dealt with the threat of Richarlison, Calvert-Lewin and Tosun well.


Both teams were tentative on the ball early with their new managers watching on, and the first big moment was Alex Iwobi coming off injured with what looked like a slight hamstring pull. His replacement, Cenk Tosun, flashed an effort over the bar with his first touch of the game as Everton started to build a head of steam.

Richarlison had a shot blocked and Gylfi Sigurdsson curled a free kick just wide as Arsenal struggled to get out of their own half. Tom Davies crossed for Tosun but it was too powerful for the Turkish striker to get a decent effort on target, then Gabriel Martinelli raced clear at the other end but smashed wide as Arsenal had their first chance of the game right on half time.

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At the start of the second half Richarlison flashed an effort just wide of the far post as Everton continued to look the more likely to break the deadlock.

Jordan Pickford then made a really good save as Calum Chamber’s flick on found Aubameyang at the back post but Everton’s goalkeeper clawed the ball out. Emile Smith Rowe then should have got a shot away but Aubameyang slipped as he tried to finish as the Gunners finally got going.

Everton finished the game strongly as Dominic Calvert-Lewin had a shot which was blocked by Lucas Torreira in the box, as VAR checked for a handball but nothing was given.

Cenk Tosun was subbed off late on after coming on as a sub, as Moise Kean came on and Tosun was far from happy with the decision from Ferguson.

The final minutes were scrappy and summed up the full 90 as both teams huffed and puffed without really throwing caution to the wind.

Premier League Preview: Everton v. Arsenal

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  • Everton (18 points) sit 16th in PL table
  • Arsenal (22 points) sit 10th
  • Last meeting: Everton 1-0 Arsenal

Freddie Ljungberg‘s tenure as interim manager has but one game remaining, and the same could also be true for Duncan Ferguson at Everton, when the two sides meet at Goodison Park on Saturday (Watch live, 7:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and NBCSports.com). Mikel Arteta was announced as the Gunners’ new boss on Friday (he’ll take control of the first team beginning on Sunday), and Carlo Ancelotti is still widely expected to take over the Toffees in the coming hours or days.

Before the inevitable change takes place, though, Saturday offers another opportunity for a pair of hugely underperforming clubs to start the difficult climb up the Premier League table.

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Arsenal currently sit 10th, though they trail fourth-place Chelsea by just seven points. A second-half resurgence under Arteta could easily see them return to the UEFA Champions League for the first time after three seasons in the dreaded Europa League. For revenue purposes, it’s something the club desperately needs to achieve. With just one win in their last nine PL games, the Gunners should be nearly out of striking distance for a top-four finish, but all three of Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United have struggled to varying degrees and left the door wide open.

As for Everton, three wins from their last nine games were enough to pull them out of the relegation zone, though they still sit 16th, just three points clear of 18th-place Southampton. Ferguson guided the Toffees to a 3-1 demolition of Chelsea two weeks ago, followed by a 1-1 draw away to Manchester United a week ago. Despite their current place in the table — they are just four points out of 10th — things might already have begun to turn around at Everton.

Injuries/suspensions

Everton: OUT – Andre Gomes (ankle), Theo Walcott (calf), Jean-Philippe Gbamin (thigh), Morgan Schneiderlin (calf); QUESTIONABLE: Lucas Digne (groin), Gylfi Sigurdsson (illness), Djibril Sidibe (illness), Fabian Delph (hamstring)

Arsenal: OUT – Sead Kolasinac (ankle), Dani Ceballos (hamstring), Kieran Tierney (shoulder), Rob Holding (knee); QUESTIONABLE: Hector Bellerin (hamstring)


Projected lineups

Everton: Pickford — Coleman, Keane, Mina, Digne — Iwobi, Davies, Holgate, BernardRicharlison, Calvert-Lewin

Arsenal: Leno — Maitland-Niles, Luiz, Sokratis, Chambers — Guendouzi, Torreira — Pepe, Ozil — Lacazette, Aubameyang


What they’re saying

Ljungberg, on the future of Arsenal: “The message from me is still the same, get behind us and support the team. It’s been an honor to have helped the club I love for the last few weeks and I am excited to work with [Arteta] and his staff moving forward.”

Ferguson, on his future: “Obviously [Ancelotti] is an incredible manager, he’s won everything. It would be fantastic to work under a top manager. I’ve worked with a few in the past, so I would like to continue my education if possible. I’m not looking to move away. I just want Everton to be successful. I want the new manager to come in and do a fantastic job. If I can be a part of that, then brilliant. I love the club and I love my job. If I go back to being a coach, then that’s fine by me.”


Prediction

Arsenal’s defensive depth is set to be tested with Kolasinac, Tierney and possibly Bellerin unavailable due to injuries. Every Everton attack should originate from wide areas, where they’re particularly strong, which should bring plenty of success on Saturday. Everton 2-1 Arsenal.

Report: Deal agreed in principle between Everton, Ancelotti

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Everton may have hit the jackpot in the coaching carousel as it looks for a replacement for Marco Silva.

According to our partners Sky Sports in the UK, Everton has reached an agreement in principle to hire Carlo Ancelotti as it’s new manager. The latest developments come after reports that Ancelotti met with Everton owner Farhad Moshiri in London, with the two sides hammering out a deal through the night.

Should Everton hire Ancelotti, it would be the highest-profile coach the club has had since Howard Kendall, who led the Toffies to two Football League titles in the 1980s.

If true, this would represent a massive coup for Everton, but also ratchet up the pressure on the club. Despite spending tens of millions of dollars in the transfer market over the past few seasons to improve the squad, Everton has continued to underperform against expectations.

With Ancelotti, it will be his first test not coaching a giant club since his first coaching job in 1995 with Serie B Reggiana. Since then, Ancelotti coached Parma, Juventus, AC Milan, Paris Saint-Germain, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, and of course, Chelsea.

He was fired by Napoli last week in the midst of an up-and-down season that has seen players have a mutiny against upper management, with Ancelotti helpless to stop it.

Ultimately, the fact that Ancelotti picked Everton says a lot about the state of the Big 6 right now, with Arsenal’s job open and Manchester United’s potentially open, should the club’s form overall not improve.

Ancelotti has the chance to get a player like Gylfi Sigurdsson back to his best, and to also see more from players like Richarlison, Yerry Mina, Moise Kean, and Alex Iwobi. But at the same time, it raises expectations for the club. After this season, should Everton finish outside of the fluid top seven, and at least qualify for Europe, it could be considered a disappointment to many fans, considering Ancelotti’s background.

Christian Pulisic watch: How did USMNT star perform?

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How did USMNT star Christian Pulisic perform in Chelsea’s defeat at Everton?

He was marked tightly throughout the game and will have quite a few lumps and bruises when he wakes up on Sunday…

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Pulisic, 21, received high praise from his manager Frank Lampard after his recent performances as he believes he can reach the top level on the planet. Stop salivating, USMNT fans…

Here’s a look at how he performed against Everton, in a tough outing for the Blues and Pulisic.


2nd minute: Cesar Azpilicueta overhits a ball to him in the box as Pulisic can’t get on the end of it.

3rd minute: A ball into the box almost finds his run but Everton manage to crowd him out.

17th minute: Struggling to get into the game as Everton’s full back and wide players pushed forward. Spent most of his time defending.

20th minute: Almost got on the end of a great chance for Chelsea. Michael Keane gave the ball away and Willian and Tammy Abraham couldn’t get the ball to Pulisic.

24th minute: A run from Pulisic wins a corner for Chelsea.

25th minute: Lurking in the six yard box and a ball towards him from Kovacic was flicked over by Willian as Chelsea struggled to get going in attack.

30th minute: Lovely skill from Pulisic to nutmeg Gylfi Sigurdsson then play in Willian who crosses for Abraham. Chelsea’s leading goalscorer can’t convert. Better from Pulisic, and Chelsea.

40th minute: Pulisic cuts in down the left but his ball into the box is blocked.

45th minute: A first half of frustration for Pulisic as he was pinned back early and then roamed around the final third trying to get on the ball, but Chelsea did push their way back into the game.

50th minute: Pulisic loses the ball 40 yards from his own goal, then Zouma shanks a clearance into the air which eventually finds Dominic Calvert-Lewin who makes it 2-0 to Everton. A comedy of errors from Chelsea.

60th minute: Gets some space in the far left corner but his cross is easily cleared by Everton’s defense.

63rd minute: Tries to dribble free in the box but is tackled. Pulisic throws his arms in the air in frustration.

69th minute: Launches a breakaway for Chelsea but is clattered into by Sidibe to win a free kick for his team.

70th minute: Moments later he fouls Sidibe, although it looked like Pulisic got an arm in the face. He complains about the foul and isn’t happy at all with the referee.

76th minute: Fouled by Sidibe on the edge of the box, but he had handled the ball moments early. More frustration for Pulisic.

80th minute: Pulisic again goes down but no free kick is given. He is furious with the referee as he is on the floor.

88th minute: Ran towards goal and clipped a lovely ball into the strikers. Then sent a tame header at the back post right at Pickford and that about summed up his day at Everton.

93rd minute: A speculative effort from distance which was well wide.

96th minute: A foul throw in front of the Chelsea fans which sums up his day.

Fired up Everton shock Chelsea

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Everton beat Chelsea 3-1 at Goodison Park on Saturday as the Toffees reacted superbly to manager Marco Silva being fired in midweek.

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Goals early in each half from Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin set them on their way to a massive three points for Everton as Chelsea wasted several glorious chances. Mateo Kovacic grabbed their lone goal to make it interesting, but Calvert-Lewin scored late on amid glorious celebrations from caretaker boss, and former Everton star striker, Duncan Fergsuon.

With the win Everton momentarily move out of the bottom three and have 17 points, while Chelsea lost for the second time in the last three PL games and remain in fourth but may only be three points clear of fifth-place a the end of the weekend.


3 things we learned

1. Ferguson’s bravery pays off: As a player Duncan Ferguson was totally committed and Everton’s caretaker boss received a performance from his players which would have made him proud. He set Everton up in an aggressive 4-4-2 formation with plenty of attacking talents and it worked. Chelsea couldn’t get out of their own half early in each half, and strong, committed defending rattled the Blues. Everton showed signs that Ferguson may be the man they’ve been looking for. He certainly fired up their talented but recently lackluster squad.

2. Clean sheets biggest issue for Chelsea: Four clean sheets in 24 games in all competitions this season isn’t good enough for a team which wants to finish in the top four. Frank Lampard had a face like thunder when Everton went 2-0 up as Chelsea were their own worst enemies time and time again. No team in the PL’s top 10 have conceded more goals than Chelsea so far this season. Tomori and Rudiger were missed as Christensen and Zouma were bullied by Everton’s attack. It’s a familiar story for Chelsea.

3. Physicality too much for Pulisic: He’s had an incredible few months for Chelsea but Pulisic was clearly targeted by the Everton defense on Saturday. The USMNT winger was clattered time and time again and was left on the floor on many occasions. He battled hard but was given no time or space on the ball. He will now be receiving special treatment like this every time he steps on the pitch in the PL.

Man of the Match: Dominic Calvert-Lewin – A real handful for the Chelsea defense as he battered them and scored twice. Led the line superbly and imitated what Duncan Fergsuon used to do. Chelsea’s Mateo Kovacic scored a really good goal and ran the show in central midfield and he didn’t deserve to be on the losing team, but this was DLC’s day.


The Toffees got off to a perfect start as Richarlison scored with the first meaningful effort of the game.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin set up the move and ball was pushed to the right where Djibril Sidibe crossed for Richarlison to head home. Goodison went wild as Big Duncan Ferguson galloped down the touchline in celebration.

The Toffees almost doubled their lead as Theo Walcott crossed for Richarlison but the Brazilian couldn’t quite get on the end of it. Soon after Calvert-Lewin had a great chance but he never looked confident as Kepa saved it.

Chelsea were almost handed a way back into the game as Michael Keane gave the ball away inside his own box but Tammy Abraham and Willian failed to make the most of a glorious opportunity.

Pulisic then nutmegged Gylfi Sigurdsson to set up Willian who crossed for Abraham but Chelsea’s leading goalscorer couldn’t convert as the visitors finally woke up with Mason Mount crossing moments later but Abraham couldn’t get on the end of it. Mason Holgate then blocked Mount’s shot as Everton battened down the hatches.

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The second half continued at the same incredible tempo as Everton doubled their lead within a few minutes after having a couple of chances. Kurt Zouma‘s clearance caused havoc in his own box and Calvert-Lewin won the ball back and slotted home. Pandemonium at Goodison as VAR checked and confirmed there was no handball by DLC.

Moments later Everton almost made it 3-0 but Richarlison’s effort was saved by Kepa, and then Chelsea were back in it.

Azpilicueta’s run into the box saw the ball eventually find Kovacic on the edge of the box and his shot towards goal went in. VAR checked that Abraham hadn’t interfered from an offside position and he goal stood.

The chances kept coming for both teams as Everton were eager to put the game to bed as Walcott raced clear but Kepa saved at the near post.

Chelsea looked in control as the final moments arrived as the excellent Kovacic ran at goal but smashed just wide and then Mount blazed a great opportunity high and wide after Kovacic again pulled the strings.

Substitute Tom Davies got his header all wrong as Everton tried to wrap up the victory, with Jordan Pickford brilliantly denying Azpilicueta at the other end.

Calvert-Lewin then bundled home as Ferguson ran down the sidelines amid jubilant scenes as an Everton hero secured a massive win on his managerial debut.