The Sean Dyche Era Dawns With An Everton Win Over League Leaders Arsenal

The Toffees disarm the Gunners at Goodison Park
14:28, 04 Feb 2023

There’s new manager bounce and then there’s this. An Everton team that has not won in their last ten games in all competitions beats the table-toppers Arsenal. But Sean Dyche’s new charges were good value for their 1-0 victory over the Gunners. 

There has been a fog over this Everton team, with the reasons in evidence at Goodison Park this afternoon. The executive box was noticeably sparse, with the club’s owners not present. There was also a plane carrying a protest banner flown over the stadium. But it must be noted that while these fans have withdrawn their support from the owners, they voluminously and vociferously backed the players. This grand old ground was rocking as a new era dawned.


The home fans had plenty to cheer about in an encouraging first 45 minutes under Dyche. Dwight McNeill had a long-range shot saved, before Dominic Calvert-Lewin was waved offside chasing the rebound. 

The Everton striker had multiple presentable opportunities, but looked rusty as he spurned them all. An angled shot went straight at Aaron Ramsdale. A header from a Seamus Coleman cross was glanced wide. He wasn’t the only Toffee melting under the pressure though. Abdoulaye Doucoure flashed his own header wide from a McNeil centre.

Arsenal had their chances too, even if they didn’t carve up this new-look Everton as expected. Thomas Partey drew a save from Jordan Pickford with a long-ranger. Eddie Nketiah blasted a chance over after Bukayo Saka teed him up. The England winger went closest though, when his side-footed volley was cleared off the line by Conor Coady.

The second half began with a bang as Idrissa Gueye’s strike drew a spectacular save from Ramsdale. At the other end, a superb Nketiah run saw him square it for Martin Odegaard. The former Real Madrid midfielder had time, but pulled his shot over the bar.

A Dyche favourite scored the first goal of his tenure, and of this game, when James Tarkowski powered home a header with an hour on the clock. McNeil’s corner was powered home by the centre back to send Goodison into raptures. As well as being the maiden goal of the Dyche era, it is also Tarkowski’s first in an Everton shirt.

Arsenal manager and former Everton midfielder Mikel Arteta tried switching his approach as he struggled to counter the Toffees. Odegaard was subject to a rare substitution, with the midfield being replaced by the more attacking Fabio Vieira. 

Ultimately it was to no avail. Everton hung on for their first win since 22nd October. The new manager bounce is a well-worn adage, but there was something different about the Merseysiders on this afternoon. The games against their relegation rivals may challenge Dyche’s men more, given that they are likely to be cagier affairs. But the standards have been set here as the champions-elect were outplayed for large periods and deservedly beaten.

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