In what was a showdown between two sides battling it out at opposite ends of the Premier League table, Arsenal suffered a shock 1-0 loss away at Everton on Saturday lunchtime.
While the Gunners might have been tipped as a landslide pick to extend on their domestic romp at Goodison Park, Mikel Arteta’s youngsters missed out on the chance to widen their buffer to eight points.
Eventually outworked by an Everton side who were opening Sean Dyche’s tenure, it was James Tarkowski who proved to be the hero on Merseyside as the ex-Burnley man powered his second-half header home.
Handing Arsenal just their second Premier League defeat of the season, Everton also have a real platform to build on.
In what turned out to be a major upset at Goodison Park on Saturday lunchtime, we have taken a look at the main talking points.
Arsenal come crashing back down to earth
Opening Saturday’s showdown at Goodison Park hoping to at least briefly widen their buffer over Manchester City to eight points, Arteta will know that his side missed out on a golden chance here.
While the Gunners might have gained a string of plaudits on either side of the World Cup’s winter break, the Premier League giants failed to find any real fluidity on Merseyside and they must now prove this was no more than a minor blip.
With midfield talisman Martin Odegaard having arguably his most quiet performance of this season’s campaign, there is no doubt that Arsenal will now be firmly looking over their shoulder at an almighty title scrap in 2023.
Although Arteta might have still been filled with praise for his side’s display on Saturday afternoon, they are seeking some kind of boost after watching their FA Cup adventure come to an abrupt end last weekend.
While Arsenal might still find themselves sat in pole position to claim a first domestic crown
since 2004, Arteta’s side have suffered back-to-back domestic defeats for the first time this season.
Dyche can take Everton to Premier League safety
While there might have been plenty of frustration around Goodison Park as Everton failed to add any new arrivals on Deadline Day, the Blues will now find the mood in their camp at a red-hot high.
Appointing Dyche earlier in the week after parting ways with Frank Lampard, the Blues certainly showed a new-found resolve on Saturday lunchtime as they drew a line under Arsenal’s 13-match Premier League unbeaten run.
With many fans on Merseyside glad to see the former Burnley boss arrive at Goodison on a two-and-a-half-year deal, Dyche has already offered the top-flight strugglers an immediate boost.
While the Toffees might have failed to bag any kind of domestic victory since way back in October, Dyche has proven that he is the man to drag Everton to Premier League safety in 2023.
Skyrocketing their way out of the relegation zone following their stellar display here, the Blues certainly have more than enough to avoid the drop come May.
Although Everton might face another huge challenge in next week’s Merseyside derby, they now have a perfect platform to build on.
All eyes fall on north London
Missing out on what was a golden opportunity to widen their buffer at the top of the Premier League table to eight points here, Arsenal will now be desperate for a real favour from their north London rivals.
With defending champions Manchester City now breathing firmly down their neck, all eyes will fall on the capital in 24 hours time when Pep Guardiola’s side meets an inconsistent Tottenham.
With the former Barcelona boss knowing that his superstars have been handed a chance to lay down a real marker on Sunday afternoon, Arsenal will be quietly calling on their arch-rivals to do a job in north London.
However, with Spurs suffering that remarkable second-half collapse at the Etihad on January 19th as they eventually slumped to a 4-2 defeat, the Gunners should be concerned by Tottenham’s extended issues on home soil.
Handing City the chance to move within just two points of them and calling on a major favour tomorrow afternoon, Antonio Conte’s side have claimed just a single Premier League victory in front of their own supporters since the middle of October.
Everton: Pickford, Coleman, Coady, Tarkowski, Mykolenko, McNeil, Gueye, Onana, Iwobi, Doucoure, Calvert-Lewin
Arsenal: Ramsdale, White, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko, Xhaka, Partey, Odegaard, Saka, Nketiah, Martinelli
Subs: Vieira, Trossard, Tomiyasy, Jorginho
Goals: Tarkowski (60′)
Yellow Cards: Everton: Onana, Maupay, Pickford, Mykolenko – Arsenal: Zinchenko
Red Cards: N/A
Referee: David Coote
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