We had to settle for a point from Freddie Ljungberg’s final game as our interim head coach after a low-key clash against Everton at Goodison Park
With Mikel Arteta taking a watching brief in the directors’ box, we named our youngest side since May 2011, with Emile Smith Rowe in for his first Premier League start.
In truth, the first half was a tentative affair and we looked solid and disciplined at the back, reducing the hosts to hopeful crosses from both flanks.
Meanwhile, we were struggling to break down the home side – although Gabriel Martinelli did have a good opportunity just before half time, running on to a nice Lucas Torreira pass but flashing his shot wide of the near post.
Richarlison flashed a cross-cum-shot across the face of goal within minutes of the restart, while Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang came closer still only for Jordan Pickford to claw away his close-range effort.
The second half certainly had much more of a spark than the first, and Everton had another half chance when a scramble in the area saw a shot deflect of Calum Chambers and spin inches wide.
Joe Willock and Alex Lacazette were introduced as we looked to find a way to win the game late on, but chances remained few and far between.
In the end, a point would have to do as we prepare for the start of the Arteta era.
HOW IT HAPPENED
WHAT IT MEANS
Arteta takes charge of his first game on Boxing Day, as we travel to Bournemouth.
After that is back-to-back matches at Emirates Stadium against Chelsea and then Manchester United.
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