Everton v Arsenal: the team and the tactical analysis

By Bulldog Drummond

As if this game were not tough enough…

There’s a very interesting note from the BBC’s website concerning Everton that says they did not face a single shot on target in the second half of their wins against Chelsea and Leicester City.  That is interesting given the tackle figures that we saw in the last post – they are tackling at a rate around 60% more than Arsenal but hardly getting any more fouls or yellows given against them.

If Arsenal are actually doing tactical work based on the specific opposition, then they will counter this.  If however (as I am beginning to wonder) Arsenal are adopting a “we play our own way irrespective of the opposition” approach, they will let this go, and really suffer from it.

For the starting line up Sportsmole give us


Holding, Luiz, Tierney;

Maitland-Niles, Elneny, Ceballos, Saka;

Pepe, Lacazette, Aubameyang


The Guardian meanwhile goes with


Holding, Luiz, Tierney;

Bellerin, Ceballos, Elneny, Saka;

Willian, Nketiah, Aubameyang

They tell us the subs will be chosen from Rúnarsson, Soares, Kolasinac, Marí, Chambers, Mustafi, Maitland-Niles, Willock, Nelson, Pépé, Smith Rowe, Lacazette, Balogun.    I would be very surprised if Balogun is on the bench since he played last night (and indeed scored) for the under 23s.  That was the match Arsenal claimed they were doing an online commentary for, but utterly failed to deliver – or indeed apologise for.

Football.London have however got our story about Martinelli being expected in the squad last night and then not being there so maybe he’s on the beach today.

Anyway, if we are clutching at straws, here’s another from the BBC: Everton “have failed to win any of their past six league matches played immediately before Christmas, drawing two and losing four.”

And since we are quoting the BBC, here’s another: Arsenal “can become just the second club after Inter Milan to win four successive matches against a side managed by Carlo Ancelotti.”

Who Scored do their usual analysis of the two teams, and they predict and find that Everton has a younger side, a taller side, a higher rated side, a side that takes more shots per game, a side that wins more aerial duel successes, a side that dribbles more, and as we have shown, a side that tackles more.   In fact more of everything, which probably is Arsenal’s problem.

They go for


Holding, Luiz, Tierney;

Maitland-Niles, Elneny, Ceballos, Saka;

Pepe, Nketiah, Aubameyang

There is a piece in “The Focus” which claims that lots of Arsenal fans are demanding that Maitland-Niles should get a regular starting place.  That’s funny because I can remember a time when people were saying he just wasn’t up to it and should be sold.

But perhaps the most ironic headline of the day comes from “Positively Arsenal” which announces that, “Arsenal Visit Everton. Desperate Times.”  They don’t give us a team line up however.

So we turn elsewhere for one more line up…  This is from the Daily Star:


Holding, Mari, Tierney;

Maitland-Niles, Elneny, Ceballos, Saka;

Pepe, Nketiah, Aubameyang

The Star is also running an item in which they ask “is VAR ruining football” and provide a little box to fit in one’s views.  One could of course write, “no, football journalism with its copy and paste mentality and lack of original analysis is ruining football” but I suspect they wouldn’t publish it.  So I didn’t.

8 Replies to “Everton v Arsenal: the team and the tactical analysis”

  1. I was hoping for an improvement today but so far if anything things are getting worse.
    For anyone who hasn’t watched or played walking football for the over 50’s, watch Arsenal who are doing their best to give a good example of it.

  2. 2nd half much better.

    Inside this disjointed, confidence lacking, rather unfortunate team is a pretty decent team desperate to escape.

    No, we are not top 4 quality as I’d hoped, but we are not as bad as a position suggests, although as mick suggests, we are capable of playing that poorly at times.

    No confidence and no luck. 2 factors that don’t bode well for a good season. Obviously top 4 is gone, even top 6 is remote so the pressure is off for that. As for relegation? Well despite all our trials and tribulations that is not a possibility. As such we can at least concentrate on the cups. If, and it is an if we can get back to something like the form we showed to win the FA Cup last season, surely a run at that again is not beyond us again, but more importantly a run at the Europa league is surely not beyond us.

    At the end of the day a mid table finish and a triumph in the EL is a great season. Add to that another FA Cup !

    Call me a glass half full kind of guy but hey, I need something to cling on to in these difficult times.

  3. Head in hands time. Pubs closed. Every game seems to run the same course – huge chunks played backwards, sideways, at a dawdle. The cross seems to be the only attacking option available. The lads go behind, start playing the ball forward, start forcing the ball forward, start looking like players who want to win, look a thousand times more interesting, leave themselves with far too much to do, lose.

    Roll on the next game.

  4. @ John L

    I think Riley will be happy that Marriner put us under pressure with two cards for our first two fouls of the game…….

  5. Last year we were a mid table side, who had a good cup run, now after promising more, we are actually worse than that. We have got worse and there is no end in sight. Yes we are defending better- but still no where near good enough to stop conceding goals. Mid table sides are emboldened to play without fear against us- like Villa – beating us with ease because our attack has failed almost completely. Even though these are unusual times and there are more anomalous results- we now are stuck in a clear pattern.

    Waiting for it to eventually come good is not working because what little confidence is draining away with each defeat.

    When Shearer says we are awful and he thinks we may not survive- I’d say the results are now consistently awful and we have the most underperforming set of players in the EPL by far.
    We are performing like a bottom 3 team and I believe that doing nothing will result in us being relegated.

    Has sacking 3 managers in a year been the cause of this situation? Or were these desperate appointments and with hindsight misguided attempts to halt the decline of a once great team over 10 years?

    Restucturing the club does not have appeared to have reversed the decline -it may have accelerated it. Have all the personnel changes got one thing in common? None of them have had demonstrable successful experience in the EPL- in their roles. That does not mean people from other places do not have transferable skills- but

    Is it the number of changes or appointing the wrong coaches and managers? Manager/ coaches who demonstrably cannot get this group of players performing to their potential as a team- in the EPL.

    Is it really reasonable to argue that not buying players is the answer because when we buy players we don’t immediately improve results?Dont remember this argument re buying players like Bergkamp, Henry, Pires, Vieria?
    Where we have major gaps in our squad- should we stop trying to plug them with experienced players?

    Perhaps the players we have brought in are good, but are being employed in a confused set up by people who don’t know what they are doing and so are rendered ineffective?

    In striving to do better we have actually done worse so should we just play our juniors? After all they are at least showing some enthusiasm. Hell no- do we want to ruin them as well?

    It is a luxury in this situation to think we don’t have to change the manager, coaches and those more directly responsible for us being in this situation.
    We are very close to being in a crisis we can’t climb out of.

    Arteta, Edu for starters have to go and we need an experienced, tactically capable top level management coaching team to enable survival and hopefully, eventually more than that -and we need them now.

    If it isn’t the coaching, style of play, team work, game management, preparation of players, mix of players, tactics what is it?

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