Everton 1 Arsenal 0: Sloppy Gunners suffer huge blow to title hopes as Sean Dyche's new-look Toffees grab deserved win | The Sun
SEAN DYCHE started his Everton reign with a bang – and put a big dent in Arsenal’s title bid.
The former Burnley boss saw two of his former Turf Moor players, Dwight McNeil and James Tarkowski, combine for the second-half set-piece goal that decided the game.
Victory lifted the Toffees out of the bottom three ahead of the later kick offs and the performance renewed hope that a torrid season on and off the pitch could yet end without the disaster of relegation.
The Gunners’ second Premier League defeat of the season, and the manner of it, will have alarm bells ringing.
Mikel Arteta’s team were outmuscled and outwitted by committed and intense hosts who thoroughly deserved their victory.
Emotions spilled over in stoppage time after a clash between Oleksandr Zinchenko and Neal Maupay led to a scuffle.
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But otherwise Goodison Park was alive with passion of the right kind, at least as far as the home team and fans were concerned.
Everton were up for it from the start.
Vitalii Mykolenko’s robust challenge on Arsenal captain Martin Odegaard set the tone for a physical and committed display by the home team.
They restricted the visitors to a tame Thomas Partey shot until Eddie Nketiah mishit a shot from a narrowish angle.
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Soon afterwards, Everton should have taken the lead. Twice.
First Dominic Calvert-Lewin failed to convert a cross by Amadou Onana after the midfielder’s barnstorming run into the box.
Then Abdoulaye Doucoure sent a free header badly wide from a McNeil cross.
Everton’s intensity and organisation meant it was going to take something special to score against them and Bukayo Saka almost supplied it. But his goalward volley from an Oleksandr Zinchenko cross was cleared by Conor Coady.
Calvert-Lewin headed Seamus Coleman’s across the goal and wide in first-half stoppage time.
Arsenal could not have complained if they had gone into the break behind.
Shortly after it, Aaron Ramsdale kept out a deflected Idrissa Gueye shot which would have been ruled out for offside in the build-up.
Odegaard should have done better when teed up by Nketiah, and the leaders were made to pay on the hour.
Everton had caused problems from corners before, and this time Tarkowski met McNeil’s delivery with a header that went back across Ramsdale and into the net.
Arsenal could not find an equaliser.
The substitution of Odegaard, so inspirational this season, said a lot.
Substitute Leandro Trossard at least forced Jordan Pickford into a save but was guilty of wasting another decent opportunity to shoot.
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Arsenal were running out of ideas and Zinchenko was reduced to shooting from ridiculous range, before shooting over from a corner routine.
But it was Everton's less elaborate set-piece that proved crucial after they stood firm in six minutes of stoppage time.
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