Arsenal 0-1 Everton
- Goals: None
- Own goals: Bernd Leno (£5.0m)
- Assists: Richarlison (£7.8m)
- Bonus points: Ben Godfrey (£5.0m), Jordan Pickford (£4.8m), Seamus Coleman (£4.8m)
ONCE BERND, TWICE SHY
A calamitous Bernd Leno (£5.0m) own goal was all that stood between Arsenal defenders and a clean sheet as they lost to Everton on Friday night.
It means their shutout in the Gameweek 31 win at Sheffield United remains the Gunners’ only one since Gameweek 22.
And even with Newcastle (away) and West Bromwich Albion (home) on the horizon, owners of their defensive assets will perhaps be wavering in their faith.
Still, there may be some hope considering Arsenal looked on course for a clean sheet in the opening match of Blank Gameweek 33.
They controlled possession against a largely toothless Everton attack who managed just one shot on target all evening.
And their goal did not come from that effort, Leno turning a Richarlison (£7.8m) cross into his own net, a freak error that both Mikel Arteta and Carlo Ancelotti
“Yes (it’s an error). It’s an own goal. We know we have to do better. I haven’t spoken to him.” – Mikel Arteta
“I think we have two really good goalkeepers. Mat got a chance because he deserved it. I said before the game he’s been training really, really well. Bernd is our number one goalkeeper and he’s been doing well and errors are part of football.” – Mikel Arteta
“I think, honestly, it was a draw, to be honest. Arsenal did more control of the ball, we were good defensively in the first half. We were not so clinical in position. Honestly, it was a draw but… it can happen.” – Carlo Ancelotti
Without key some key personnel, Arsenal lacked any cutting edge on Friday night, continuing a poor run of form at home.
They have now conceded the first goal in each of their last five home matches and losing seven in total this season is the worst in a Premier League campaign since the 1992-93 season (also seven).
By contrast, Everton’s recent away form has mostly been about defence rather than attack.
For example, Friday was James Rodríguez‘s (£7.7m) second blank in his last three Gameweeks while he has just two attacking returns on the road this season.
His 8.7% ownership should not be too concerned though as he has involved himself in nine goals across his 12 Premier League outings at Goodison Park in 2020/21, where three of Everton’s next four take place with matches against Aston Villa, Sheffield United and Wolves.
Ben Godfrey (£5.0m), Jordan Pickford (£4.8m) and Seamus Coleman (£4.8m) were the top-scoring defenders for the Toffees on Friday, thanks to their bonus points rewards.
The England international goalkeeper has been stringing some good form together on the road of late.
This was his third clean sheet in his last three Premier League away matches, in which he has produced 20 saves, five bonus and a total of 30 FPL points (7.5 per game).
“Jordan did really well. He had a good save at the end. He was comfortable, I have to say. Good with the ball. His performance was really good.” – Carlo Ancelotti
Without Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (£11.3m) or Alexandre Lacazette (£8.4m), due to illness and a hamstring injury respectively, Eddie Nketiah (£5.3m) made his first Premier League start since Gameweek 14.
Neither one of Arsenal’s senior centre-forwards is in particularly positive condition from their various ailments, so with upcoming matches against Newcastle (away) and West Bromwich Albion (home), he could be worth considering, providing the injury situation remains unchanged. That said, the former Leeds loanee did not offer much in the way of threat on Friday night.
“We have quite a lot of injuries for some important players. We picked up more last weekend and we have adapted.” – Mikel Arteta
Elsewhere in the team, Granit Xhaka (£5.2m) continues to deputise in the left-back role vacated by Kieran Tierney (£5.2m).
This was the Switzerland international’s third successive Premier League start in defence while Cédric (£4.6m) has not been involved from the beginning since Gameweek 28. That said, Xhaka was arguably at fault for allowing Richarlison so close to Leno’s net for the goal.
While the former Southampton man is to be avoided, Arteta continues to chop and change his centre-back partnerships too, although Rob Holding (£4.2m) remains a consistent member.
The budget asset has started each of the last four Premier League matches, although he taken part in two different pairings during that time.
Gabriel (£4.9m) joined him in defence for the 3-0 defeat to Liverpool and 1-1 draw with Fulham while Pablo Marí (£4.4m) was his partner for the 3-0 win at Sheffield United and the Blank Gameweek 33 meeting with Everton.
There was also an indication of who will take Arsenal penalties without Aubameyang and Lacazette in the team. Dani Ceballos (£4.7m) won a spot-kick in the second half which saw Nicolas Pépé (£7.6m) grab the ball, although he was denied a chance to dispatch it when he was revealed to be offside in the build-up.
Meanwhile, Dominic Calvert-Lewin (£7.5m) made a first Premier League start for Everton since Gameweek 30, although endured a quiet evening.
He was paired up-front with Richarlison, supported by a midfield diamond. Rodríguez was the number 10, André Gomes (£5.3m) and Gylfi Sigurdsson (£6.8m) as the central pairing with Allan (£5.2m) anchoring.
“It’s good for us (to have Calvert-Lewin). We have back Mina, we have back Delph, Gomes. The strength of the squad is much better than the last game that we played.” – Carlo Ancelotti
Meanwhile, Michael Keane (£5.1m) missed the match with a hamstring injury that stopped him from training in the build-up to Blank Gameweek 33.
Arsenal XI (4-2-3-1): Leno; Xhaka, Marí, Holding, Chambers (Willian 83′); Ceballos, Partey; Pépé (Ødegaard 74′), Smith Rowe, Saka; Nketiah (Martinelli 74′).
Everton XI (4-1-2-1-2): Pickford; Digne, Holgate, Godfrey, Coleman; Allan; Sigurdsson, A Gomes (Delph 66′); Rodríguez (T Davies 86′); Richarlison (Mina 89′), Calvert-Lewin.
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