Carlo Ancelotti celebrated a year in charge of Everton with a 2-1 win against floundering Arsenal at Goodison Park on Saturday evening.
A Rob Holding own-goal mid-way through the first-half saw the Toffees claim the lead. Nicolas Pepe equalised from the spot after a Tom Davies foul in the penalty area. Everton were not to be denied though and reclaimed their advantage on the stroke of half-time as Yerry Mina netted from a corner.
Here are three things we learned from Goodison Park:
Everton have certainly been one of the surprise packages throughout the 2020/21 campaign, with the Toffees now bouncing up to second following victory against the Gunners. It was also another very positive result on home soil.
Only near neighbours Liverpool can boast more points at home than Everton, with the Toffees having won four of their opening seven matches at Goodison Park. In fact, the Reds are the only side to have found the net more at home than Ancelotti’s men.
With fans present at Goodison Park and other sides strangely having struggles when hosting this season, that fantastic form will come in extremely handy for Carlo Ancelotti and his men. If they can continue harnessing that for the remainder of the campaign, then the Toffees could really be contenders for the UEFA Champions League positions. They can be backed at a price of 11/2 with Betfair to earn a top four position this season.
Towering Toffees score from another set piece
One aspect that Ancelotti’s troops have excelled this season, and not just at home, is their prolificacy from set pieces. Mina’s header from a corner on the stroke of half-time was another game in which they scored from a corner, meaning they have now found the net from eight set pieces throughout the campaign – no side has scored from more. Again, it highlights a huge strength in their game.
It’s highlighted as even more of a strength that despite their poor form this season, Arsenal had yet to concede from a set piece situation before Mina’s goal. Coupling brilliant football, which they are capable of playing, with the ability to be a threat from set pieces, indicates an extremely talented team and one that could certainly achieve something memorable.
Lack of spirit from Arsenal
From one side who is currently flying, it could not be any different for Arsenal who are being pushed ever closer towards a relegation battle. Whilst there has certainly been a lack of quality at Arsenal this season, indicative of their worst start to a Premier League season, their main problem could really be their spirit and mentality.
Once again falling behind, the Gunners were simply not able to mount a recovery and but for a period after the half-time whistle never looked threatening enough to find an equaliser or winning goal. The loss at Goodison Park was the eighth time that they have fallen behind in the Premier League. So far, they have only managed to gain one point when falling behind. Only Aston Villa, Burnley and Fulham have managed to recover fewer points. Even Sheffield United, who are bottom of the table on just a solitary point, have earned the same amount when losing.
That statistic is even more damning considering the North London outfit managed to regain 18 points from losing positions throughout 2019/20 – the third most in the league behind Wolverhampton Wanderers and eventual champions Liverpool.
Everton: Pickford (6); Godfrey (7), Mina (7), Keane (7), Holgate (6); Doucoure (7), Davies (6), Sigurdsson (7); Iwobi (7) (Coleman (N/A), 83′), Richarlison (7) (Kenny (N/A), 90+2′), Calvert-Lewin (7) (Tosun (N/A), 90+3′).
Arsenal: Leno (6); Tierney (6), Luiz (5), Holding (5), Maitland-Niles (5); Elneny (5) (Willock (5), 64′), Ceballos (4), Saka (5); Pepe (5) (Martinelli (5), 71′), Willian (4), Nketiah (5) (Lacazette (4), 76′).
Goals: Holding OG (22′), Pepe (PEN 35′), Mina (45+1′)
Referee: Andre Marriner
Yellow Cards: Elneny (15′), Tierney (40′), Willock (90+1′), Calvert-Lewin (90+3′)
Red Cards: N/A