Key events

That fractious atmosphere, then. A peaceful protest against the Everton board is taking place outside Goodison. Solidarity.

The fans’ point of view now a matter of record.
The fans’ point of view now a matter of record. Photograph: Jason Cairnduff/Action Images/Reuters
This be the verse.
This be the verse. Photograph: Jason Cairnduff/Action Images/Reuters

Sean Dyche talks to BT Sport. “You’re trying to fast-track a pre-season’s work, five weeks’ work of blending into five days. The players have been receptive. A lot of hard work, a lot of honesty. So I’m looking to build on that. They’re professional people, they know they’re not firing on all cylinders. A lot of respect for the outgoing manager, they felt they could have done more. I said we need to do more, quite obviously.”

He’s asked whether the squad is good enough to stay up. “We’ll see, we’ll see. But it’s good enough on paper. A lot of these players have been bought for a lot of money. I showed them some of their pasts, their history, some of their achievements. These are good players, they haven’t come here for no reason. There’s a very strong, good group of players. But taking action and delivering, that’s the next step.”

As for the fractious atmosphere enveloping the club? “The fans love and care for the club. It’s easier to care about a club when it’s going great. Now we need it when it’s not going great, now more than ever. So all I can ask is a bit of patience, give us a breather, give the players a breather, give them their support, give me their support, because without that it’s going to be even tougher. So if we can get everyone to buy back into the Everton heartbeat, it’s a minimum, but it’s a requirement. We’ve got to show on there. We’ve got to show as a team, as a manger, that we care. But they just need to give us a chance, and I think they will. Evertonians do love this club, I’m learning very quickly. I’ve got to earn the respect of them, and I intend on doing that with a lot of hard work.”

Sean Dyche chats on TV.
Sean Dyche chats on TV. Photograph: Peter Byrne/PA

Sean Dyche’s first selection as Everton manager sees two changes from Frank Lampard’s last. Dwight McNeil and Abdoulaye Doucoure replace Demarai Gray and Yerry Mina.

Arsenal are in If It Ain’t Broke mode. Their Premier League line-up is unchanged.

The teams

Everton: Pickford, Coleman, Coady, Tarkowski, Mykolenko, Doucoure, Onana, Gueye, Iwobi, McNeil, Calvert-Lewin.
Subs: Begovic, Holgate, Gray, Mina, Maupay, Godfrey, Davies, Vinagre, Simms.

Arsenal: Ramsdale, White, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko, Martinelli, Partey, Xhaka, Saka, Odegaard, Nketiah.
Subs: Turner, Tierney, Tomiyasu, Holding, Kiwior, Jorginho, Vieira, Trossard, Cozier-Duberry.


🧱 Saliba at the back
🪄 Odegaard in midfield
🖊 Martinelli on the wing

Let’s do this – together! ✊

— Arsenal (@Arsenal) February 4, 2023


Nineteenth-placed Everton are in a spot of relegation-infused bother; league leaders Arsenal are going for their first title since 2004. Everton have picked up one point from the last 21 available; Arsenal’s haul over the same period is 19. The cumulative score of Everton’s last seven matches is 4-16; Arsenal on the other hand are winning 15-5. All signs, then, point to an easy victory for the in-form Gunners against a team in crisis.

Nothing’s ever quite that cut and dried, though, is it? So here’s some hope for the Toffees: they’ve won this fixture in three of the last four seasons, drawing the other. And if that’s not enough, there’s a new man in their dugout, and you can never rule out a honeymoon bounce. So with both teams desperate for the three points, for very different reasons, this is nicely set up and could be a whole lot of fun. Kick off is at 12.30pm GMT. It’s on!

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