Post-Match Report

Everton 1-0 Arsenal - Match Report

05/06 Everton 1-0 Arsenal

Everton -

Goodison Park
Barclays Premier League
Barclays Premier League
1 0

Arsenal slipped to their sixth away defeat in the Premiership season when they went down 1-0 at Everton on Saturday.

The significant strike came from James Beattie in the 13th minute.

The home side were busier during the first half and merited their lead. Arsenal responded after the break but forced only two significant saves from Everton keeper Nigel Martyn throughout the entire 90 minutes.

The visitors ended the game with 10 men after Francesc Fabregas was dismissed in injury time after tangling with Tim Cahill.

This was a highly disappointing result given that, in the last eight days, the Club had signed three highly-promising young players and had lifted themselves within touching distance of the Champions League qualification places with a seven-goal victory.

If you take away Arsenal's League results on the road then they are having a great season.

Unfortunately you can't.

Arsene Wenger had gone into this game without five defenders - Ashley Cole (thigh), Kolo Toure, Emmanuel Eboue (both international commitments), Gael Clichy (foot) and Pascal Cygan (thigh)

In addition, Robin van Persie (toe) was out and Dennis Bergkamp is been saved for Tuesday's Carling Cup Semi-Final second leg.

The manager responded to this predicament with two changes to the side that had beaten Middlesbrough 7-0. The fit-again Sol Campbell came in for Johan Djourou at centre half and right back Kerrea Gilbert made his first Premiership with Lauren switching flanks to cover the absence of Cole.

Abou Diaby was named on the bench for the first time since his move from Auxerre.

The other debutant was involved in the first drama of the game. In the opening minutes, Beattie burst through and a stumbling Gilbert managed to block sufficiently for Senderos to clear up the danger. Referee Alan Wiley waved away suggestions that the Hammersmith-born defender had handled the ball in the process.

Everton had the early pressure but Arsenal had the first sight of goal. In the 11th minute Gilbert raced to the byline and cut the ball back across a crowded area. Ljungberg met it at the far post and his shot was deflected on to the post by Martyn. It bounced out, hit Reyes in the face and bobbled towards goal before the Everton defence managed clear.

Within seconds, the ball was in the net at the other end. Cahill lobbed an optimistic ball forward and Beattie darted between the Arsenal centre backs before clipping the ball past Lehmann.

The goal put some pep into the game. The following stages were as pacy and passionate as Premiership football can be. Arsenal had their moments, notably when Fabregas tested Martyn, but Everton continued to pump long balls forward to turn the Arsenal centre backs.

It was a simple tactic but Beattie was a willing workhorse and he helped to ask questions the visiting defence.

In the 25th minute Everton should have doubled their lead. Under pressure, Fabregas passed back to Lehmann but Beattie had anticipated well and stole in. He flicked the ball around the keeper but wide of the post.

Just past the half-hour Everton lost Matteo Ferrari to injury. He was replaced by Alan Stubbs, who had returned to the club from Sunderland on Thursday only as cover.

The change stymied the home side's momentum for the remainder of the half but they still had the greater pressure

Arsenal went into the break with much to ponder.

In fairness, Wenger's side looked much more purposeful after the restart. In the opening seconds, Henry got into a menacing position just outside the area but his goalbound shot was deflected wide.

For the first time in the game they sustained the game in the Everton half. Yet they did not test Martyn.

However as Arsenal's early fire was gradually extinguished, Everton's hustle and bustle began to pay dividends once more. In the 64th minute, only Campbell's sliding intervention at the near post stopped Beattie netting Leon Osman's low cross. Cahill nodded the resulting corner just over the bar.

Wenger obviously noticed the tide had changed. With 15 minutes left he replaced Gilbert with Alexander Hleb and pushed Ljungberg to right back. Diaby make his bow in place of Pires six minutes later.

Everton could have extended their lead in between those changes.  Campbell backheaded a cross into the path of Beattie at the far post and the former Southampton striker saw his effort deflect off Lauren and spin narrowly wide of the post.

As time ticked away Arsenal were getting frustrated. Diaby hacked a shot wide and Fabregas saw red after a clash with Cahill.

It was a sorry end to a disappointing day.

Referee: Alan Wiley
Attendance: 36920

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