Dream debut for new manager Sean Dyche as Everton stuns Arsenal
A much-improved Everton team upset Premier League leaders Arsenal at a boisterous Goodison Park, giving new manager Sean Dyche a fantastic start.
Dyche was appointed last Monday following the departure of Frank Lampard, who was sacked with the team in the relegation zone.
And the hosts picked up their first victory in 11 games in all competitions courtesy of a link-up between two men who played for Dyche at Burnley.
Thousands marched down Goodison Road before kick-off, protesting against Everton’s board and its running of the club.
But what a transformation there has been on the pitch in just five days under the experienced Dyche.
The former Burnley boss has already set about changing the mindset of a team who has been abject this season.
Setting up in a 4-5-1 formation, Everton snapped into tackles and gave high-flying Arsenal no room to breathe – with Vitalii Mykolenko’s late challenge on captain Martin Odegaard in the second minute setting the tone.
The home side’s pressing and ferocious tackling was epitomized by Belgium midfielder Onana, who made more tackles – four – than any other player on the pitch, with each challenge greeted by a roar from the home fans.
Centre-half James Tarkowski rose at the far post to power home a header from Dwight McNeil’s corner to spark the sort of joyous scenes that have been witnessed rarely at Goodison this term.
Everton had enjoyed much the better chances in the opening period too, but striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin could not convert from the excellent Amadou Onana’s low cross and also flicked a header wide.
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Arsenal was outfought for large periods and failed to find any rhythm, although January signing Leandro Trossard forced Jordan Pickford into a sharp save late on.
The Gunners was unable to find the leveler and will see their lead at the top cut to two points if champions Manchester City beat Tottenham on Sunday.