Everton vs Arsenal - Sean Dyche takes charge of first Toffees game against Premier League leaders - live on BT Sport

Everton look to begin a new era as they take on league leaders Arsenal at Goodison Park.

By Callum Rice-Coates Published: 2 February 2023 - 10.51am
Sean Dyche

Premier League leaders Arsenal travel to Goodison Park this Saturday lunchtime, live on BT Sport 1.

It’s a meeting of two clubs at opposite ends of the table and in contrasting moods, with Everton shrouded by uncertainty and mired in a relegation battle.

The appointment of Sean Dyche could change things, but for now Arsenal are in far better shape than their hosts and will be the strong favourites to win this weekend.

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Can Dyche revitalise struggling Everton?

Everton’s owners wasted little time in finding a replacement for Frank Lampard. After a few days of speculation, it was confirmed that Dyche, a free agent after ten years at Burnley, would take the job.

He has plenty of experience with relegation battles having repeatedly guided the Clarets away from the bottom three until his dismissal last season.

Given the negativity surrounding Everton at present, getting the fans on side early on will be key. And Dyche’s direct, full-blooded style of play should be conducive to an intense atmosphere at Goodison Park.

The new boss hasn’t been helped by the lack of any transfer activity on deadline day, which left some supporters so angry that they turned up at Finch Farm to protest.

Dyche and his players must do their best to separate the fans’ clear animosity towards the clubs’ owners from matters on the pitch. Lampard, even until his final game, was still given the backing of large portions of the Everton support.

And Goodison Park will undoubtedly be noisy when the league leaders come to town. It could be the ideal game for Dyche to make use of his motivational skills and inspire a performance against what is currently the best team in the league.

Getting the best out of a group of players that have underperformed will be important for Dyche, too. Former Burnley men James Tarkowski and Dwight McNeil are in the squad, while Dominic Calvert-Lewin could thrive in a more vertical style of play.

Sean Dyche

Will Jorginho feature for Arsenal?

Arsenal’s January transfer window was fairly quiet, relative to London rivals Chelsea at least.

While Todd Boehly flexed his financial muscles the Gunners opted to make just three low-key additions in the shape of Leandro Trossard, Jakub Kiwior and, on deadline day, Jorginho.

Chelsea clearly felt the midfielder was surplus to requirements but he could well have a big part to play at Arsenal as Mikel Arteta looks to increase his options in the centre of the pitch.

With Thomas Partey so crucial and Albert Sambi Lokonga sent out on loan to Crystal Palace, the Gunners needed another metronomic midfielder.

Jorginho will offer that and could well feature against Everton if Arteta feels his side need more control.

Crucially, the Italy international will allow Arsenal to dominate more consistently against defensive opposition, and Dyche is unlikely to take an overly expansive approach on Saturday.


Can Arsenal pile the pressure on Man City?

The benefit of the early kick-off for Arsenal is that they will move eight points clear at the top of the Premier League with a win.

That is a significant gap even at this relatively early stage of the season and will add to the pressure on Manchester City in second. Pep Guardiola’s side face Tottenham in north London on Sunday.

This is a real opportunity then for the Gunners, particularly after the minor setback of losing to City in the FA Cup last week.

Following big wins over Tottenham and Manchester United, victory at what could be a raucous Goodison Park would be equally significant.

Everton will have different ideas, of course, as they look to move out of the relegation zone and take a step in the right direction.

But Arsenal, so far this season, have come through nearly every test unscathed. Will the outcome be the same again this weekend?