Everton defeat is a reality check – Are Arsenal really ready to win the League?

Everton v Arsenal Review – by Dan Smith

A couple of weeks ago I predicted Arsenal might draw at Brighton, and I was surprised by the backlash from some readers who simply can’t have anything negative said about the team they love.

In truth my forecast for this weekend was a point but I didn’t want the abuse (which is sad).

Yet on Saturday, we saw why the Gunners simply won’t be able to maintain their title challenge.

Many Gooners focus on our two fixtures with Man City yet what decides title races, is what you do at a Goodison Park, Villa Park, London Stadium, etc.

Champions go to these tough grounds and find a way to leave with all the points.

How we grinded out victories at Elland Road, Selhurst Park and the second half at the Lane were very un-Arsenal like and whatever happens it’s an area our team have improved in, they can now fight and win matches even when not playing well.

Yet over the years our squad have always had what we saw yesterday in them, it’s something that was sadly a case of when and not if old habits would return.

We arrived in Liverpool with utter arrogance, like we only had to show up to be victorious. We are not a good enough footballing side to be taking any opposition for granted but here was evidence of players believing in their own hype, not helped by being knocked out of the FA Cup with one shot on target labelled as positive because we only lost 1-0. By the way, how did resting players at the Etihad help in anyway this weekend?

There’s zero excuse for any of our players to not have expected a battle. Everyone knows the one thing Sean Dyche would have demanded from his first training session is effort and work rate. If they didn’t know that there has literally been pictures all week of Everton players doing bleep tests.

More worrying is we lost the very same encounter over 12 months ago for our poor attitude. There’s footage from Amazon of our manager going mental at half time and so angry at full time for how poor our attitude was that he couldn’t even speak to his team.

How that wasn’t a warming sign throughout the week is a mystery. A bigger one is how the same coach can say how much he loves his team after repeating the same mistakes?

When I say the same …….

Ramsdale, White , Tomiyasu, Tierney, Holding, Gabriel, Partey, Elneny, Xhaka, Lokonga,  Smith Rowe, Odegaard, Saka, Martinelli and Eddie Nketiah were all around 12 months ago.

The pressure of making the top 4 and fear of failure crippled those players, asking them to a year later to have the mentality to cope with a title race is asking too much. Jesus and Zinchenko have helped but it’s simply too much too soon to ask the same players mental strength to have improved that drastically.

My peers don’t have to be sensitive about that fact. Arsenal have made huge strides, we don’t have to be precious about the fact that Man City have set standards that we just can’t compete with yet.

The Champions have recorded point totals in the late nineties, once having to put winning sequences up to 14 games to hold off Liverpool. To match that, we can’t be having days where we don’t show up.

You sense Pep Guardiola is aware of that, hence why he’s started the mind games by making us out more of a threat then we actually are.

Sir Alex Ferguson once said that he didn’t bother looking at the table this time of the year. As long as Man United were in contention in April and May he was happy because he knew his men had the experience to get over the line.

Pep is the same, knowing he has a dressing room of players who know how to find a way to win. He also knows Arsenal will always have days like Everton in them, and that you can’t have those days if you want to be Champions.

Mentality is such a strong component in sport, it decides margins which are so small between success and failure.

This time last year we didn’t show up at Palace, home to Brighton, then at Southampton. Any run like that would cost us the title.

How we respond will be vital.

Yet Saturday was our reality check, why we are not ready to be Champions yet.


Tags Everton v Arsenal


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  1. Everybody knows that we can’t win all matches and we won’t win all matches.
    So why rolling out the drums so soon with all this negativity?

      1. The article is negative and claiming otherwise does not make sense. The author simply has little respect for this team.
        Most fans recognise that yesterday’s performance was not good enough. There are many fans who have indicated as much and we all understand that we need to improve our output if we are to stay ahead.
        However, the author is writing as if we were a total shambles and already seems to be predicting a collapse.

    1. The 8-8-5 club consists of 4-5 people on this site, good enough for a heavy metal band to scream and make some noise when we have a blip. Folks wanted MM, what a horror show yesterday, Mikel was wise enough to back out and trap Potter. What would they say to Pep, 0-1 by our friendly neighbors as of now? A friend is need is a friend indeed! Thank you Kane! One a gunner, always a gunner

    2. Dan goes missing when we win and straight back with the clap trap when we lose

      His comments about City knowing how to.win sound pretty shallow after today’s defeat !

      Yes we know we didn’t play well but give Everton some credit. New manager and hence put up a fight. Our bad luck we played them first game away.

      On to the next one. BRENTFORD on a roll at the moment !

  2. The response to this defeat in the next game will determine how far we have grown.

    Let us see how it goes next weekend against Brentford. One thing I know is that they ain’t beating us in our fortress, The Emirates.

  3. Was always suspicious of that match against Everton, a keep reminding fans when everyone was beating Everton last season we lost to them at Merseyside.
    Because am guided by history I was always weary of the new managers bounce particular at Merseyside.

    But we must pick ourselves up and return to winning ways against Brentford, a team that is high in confidence who will be playing for all three points.

  4. I’m sorry that you felt the need to write this article after our first league loss in months, Dan.
    If we begin to struggle in the next couple of games to maintain the energy and mentality then by all means have a go. Neither you nor I know if what happened yesterday was a blip or the start of something more serious.

      1. I think Dan, that each team will have a poor game from time to time. The Everton match showed that we are no different. It could be called bad timing that we came up against a tough cookie in Sean Dyche who, on the strength of yesterday’s performance, showed that Frank Lampard had as good as lost the players. I wonder if Arsenal would have lost with him still in charge?

      2. Have you forgotten that City drew at Everton and was beaten home by Brentford? This same season. Why do you castigate Arsenal we lost at Goodjohnson park? No team is unbeatable in the Premier league. It’s a marathon. The team will take the highest amount points at the end of the season, wins the title. We are still going to drop points, so do man city. So, hold horses yet mr. Dan.

      3. Then you really do not know football at all, it is called an off day, all great teams have it, Brentford beating Man City at home this season, look at all great teams competing for the title and you will see one or two games they didn’t have it in them, that is football and has always been that way

        1. You are simply a joke of a fan, one loss and you are out of you shell to criticize, your almighty Man City lost to Tottenham who we have beaten home and away this season, again I say you are a joke of a fan.

  5. One bad result and we are staring to lose our heads. It takes some steel and excellence to go 16-2-2, and if anyone thinks that standard will just drop in one day like a rock then you’re being disingenuous. This is the EPL, every other team is guaranteed to have these results. The best Deepers team in three decades got thrashed by 7 at VP. Last season City were humbled 5-3 by leicester and played off the park by BHA. This season, they were held at HOME by LAMPARD’s Everton quite a feat when Everton were being thrashed by everyone. This article is rushed Dan Smith, should’ve waited for at least three such performances on the bounce to start writing! BTW Pep has been very honest when you see how bad the Oiler’s have been. There are no mind games there, City have just been bad recently.

    1. You very right Fifa I’m so surprised reading this article to be honest You can’t expect us to play all season without you seeing results like this and if you check the table which I know the writer must have checked you will find it that Manchester city has 3D 3L which I’m sure that they will also have some bad results too been in all three major competition though it is a tough match and a bad results I’m sure they will bounce back so quickly I trust their mentality this season

  6. Wonderful.
    Before the season started, you predicted, we would finish outside top 4. That prediction looks to be so much off, that we can take hope also after your new prediction.
    But please don’t start predicting we will win the title, before it has become a mathematic fact 😉

    1. Last season I predicted we would bottle the top 4 race , you said we wouldn’t so you were far off lol
      I hope your right , hope I get it wrong
      But our mentality yesterday was worrying

      1. Sorry, you must be misinformed. I didn’t predict Top 4 last year.
        I agree, we didn’t turn up yesterday, and it is worrying. But it is only worrying because suddenly winning the league is the new standard for this young and very talented team.
        I think fans should just calm down and appreciate the fantastic progress we have made over the last 2-3 years, and that the ground is being laid for future success.
        Should we win the title already this year, it would be amazing, but if we don’t, it can never be a failure.

      2. One game after beating Man Utd and Spurs, and you question our mentality, that is so laughable, won 16, lost, and drew 2, with the second best defensive record, second beat scoring goals, and still five points clear

      3. You don’t hope so Dan, I have never seen you predict anything good about Arsenal and you claim you support Arsenal? Pathetic.

        How many times have you predicted loss for Arsenal and you were proved wrong? How many times?

        1. Answer the question yourself mate ….
          I predicted we beat Everton , beat Man U , draw with Spurs , I think I said we would lose at Brighton , I said we beat Newcastle and beat West Ham
          So since Xmas I predicted we lose one game out of 6 …….lol
          Predict anything good about Arsenal ?
          We haven’t been in a position to predict anything good about Arsenal in last few years unfortunately .

    2. Great point AndersS!

      This has been a long time coming! How come it took so long? The team deserves credit for keeping Dan’s finger-pointing article in the oven for so long; it must have become so charred that he couldn’t keep it any longer.

      1. Team deserve allot of credit mate
        It’s not a knock on the team to say they don’t have the mentality to get over the line
        If we finish 2nd it’s been a good season still
        Just that performance ( not result ) was a sign that we are not ready in my opinion

        1. Excellent point Dan! I agree with your point; however, your article did not come across as your response does. We wish the team the best of luck on this new terrain. Given that these guys are young and have never walked this path before, I believe they need our support and not too much criticism during their difficult times.

        2. You think City will do it, lost at Spurs today, the team looks all over the place, we are probably the best team in Europe at this moment, the togetherness, lose against Everton so what and you think we have bottled it. You sound as bad as that toxic Arsenal TV with that slob Robbie and his doom gloomers so called fans

  7. This young and very likeable team has done enough in this season to afford an occasional bad result like yesterday’s. It is moments like this where they need us to show our support. In victory and in defeat, i choose to resolutely stand behind them.

  8. It’s not the loss It’s the way we lost.
    We didn’t match their energy or intensity, they wanted it more.

    That isn’t about form It’s about mentality.

    Losing the fight is ok with me; you scrap, tussle, never back down for 90 minutes.

    Unfortunately we didn’t show that yesterday IMHO. We looked dull and flat, and have no answer when Saka and Martinelli get double teamed on the wings.

    1. Do you think man city play fantastic football every game? They have lost games the way we did yesterday as well. I don’t understand all the overreacting. We are not entitled to win every single game, or lose in a way that is deemed good by fans. These players are human beings we’re talking about here, not robots. Everybody has bad days, including athletes. We’ve shown energy and intensity all season long and after one bad result, we’re judging the team for the rest of the season? a lot of arsenal fans are very childish, it boggles my mind. It’s either we are overjoyed or completely slagging the team off. There has to be some balance and perspective. Whether this team wins the league or not at this point doesn’t matter to me. Arsenal are back as a force to be reckoned with again, and all the ingredients needed to be a team challenging for trophies consistently is in place now. So if it’s not this season, I have no doubt we’ll be competing for the title for years to come.

      1. @also you are spot on. One of the rational comments have on this site. Even the Invincibles had their difficult moments. Though they went through the entire season unbeaten, there were some games were they lead 70 minutes and ended drawing them. To go an entire season unbeaten was not just the quality, strength and character, there were some luck in there as well. I lady luck visit us more often this season. The Premier league is ours this season. But the path is not going to smooth.

      2. Perhaps you should read my comment again, you obviously missed the point. The lack of energy and intensity is inexcusable, it has nothing to do with form, but determination instead.

        Loses happen, but lacking the energy and fight is the problem and frustration I expressed. Played in low gear all game, never matched Everton’s intensity.

    2. Spot on Durand; the important thing is that the players learn that to maintain the level of performance required, they cannot afford to drop intensity and effort. This competition is a distance race, not a sprint.

    3. Maybe you should accept that we are not going to win every game that we play. Everton managed to subdue Saka and Martinelli. Arteta’s very successful system found a new challenge at Everton. It needs some adjustments to handle such a challenge.

  9. We need to bounce back next weekend…
    I would worry a little now because last time when we were in serious tittle race we collapsed in February itself in Season 07-08..
    I am not taking into account the season when Leicester won because that season we became tittle contenders because all other serious players had their won of the worst season..
    In 07-08 season we had that Eduardo injury and we drew that game..
    Later on it was collapse and we finished season on 3 behind Chelsea.
    We were 5 clear off Utd and we couldn’t win and subsequently Utd did win their game against Newcastle on Sunday to cut the gap on 3
    Later on that season ended in misery..

    1. So if your not taking the Leicester title into account, because other teams had their worst season, why are you not considering liverpool, chelsea and the spuds this season?

      Why do some of our fans belittle our achievements so readily?

      As for the game yesterday, we didn’t turn up…. but it seems that Dan is dismissing the previous results in order to claim we’re not ready to win the PL.

      We lost a game by playing badly, just as city have.
      I don’t actually see them as our challengers, I see fans like Piers Morgan and (sorry to say) Dan, who go completely overboard over one result.

      1. Ken mate I agree with you
        I actually think the team have done great this season but In my heart I fear when the pressure is on we can’t do what City can do in the run in
        Maybe City lose today and we get away with yesterday ?
        Hope so mate , really do
        I simply worried about our attitude

  10. What I constantly notice with DANS pieces , is how he comments that he has a right tob e negative. Konstanatin just wrote a piece which criticised us and I thought fairly too.

    One piece is realistic; the other one, DAN, revels in negativity and rarely ever says anything that is NOT negative. Sigh!

  11. Honestly, it was a shocking defeat. The energy level was low and if this attitude continues i see another defeat against Brentford . 16-2-2 is quite remarkable but it is way too early to relax. We need Gabriel Jesus back as soon as possible.

  12. Come on Tottenham! Sorry… I’ll wash my mouth out with industrial strength disinfectant now… 🤣🤣🤣 All about the league table innit!

    1. We didnt deserve anything out the game yesterday
      We didnt match them in all departments
      At times we rode our luck
      A few poor finishes from our part and on another day the game turns on its head if we slot one away
      It’s how we start and finish the next game
      Will we have the mental strength to move on from yesterday’s game
      Do we have enough big characters in the dressing room to help us move on
      Damn right we do!
      My concern is not now is is come end of March
      People, that is when the title race starts and if we are still within touching distance come end of March April then bleat on about mettle strength ect
      For now it is a blip
      Brentford at home is a grest game for us to show our resolve and support for what has been a great journey to date bar a few blips

    2. Do you really expect a club like Tottenham Hotspurs, managed by Conte, filled with seasoned international professional footballers, with a Champions League place in contention to roll over for Manchester City?
      Similarly Arsenal now needs to concentrate on beating Brentford. One game at a time.

  13. People complaining that it’s just 1 bad game are correct but it doesn’t change the fact that it was a poor performance. Losing while showing effort is fine, this wasn’t that.

    When the team plays well they get the credit, when they play badly they get criticism. What’s difficult to understand about this?

    1. Because the criticism is OTT.
      One bad game and the negativity is unbelievable.
      If spuds win today, will it be assumed that city will “bottle it” and will their bench be “weak” or their manager “nieve”?

        1. Money talks; how many clubs can afford to pay what Manchester City has paid over their successful years for two top class players in every position. Arsenal is able to compete because of team work, judicious business in the transfer market and most importantly developing players like Saka and Nketiah through the Arsenal Academy. The performance of players on loan, such as Balogan, Patini et al augers well for the future

      1. Perfect response Ken! Sincerity dictates that this young team merits more of our support than a reminder of their weaknesses (as done in this article). The point is that negative criticism has a detrimental affect than positive criticism (the psychologist would attest to this). Let’s encourage these boys, and they will draw energy from us.

      2. Comparing us to City is ridiculous Ken, that comparison is so illogical.

        Regardless of what anyone thinks/says, the fact is that the team played poorly and have been criticised, rightfully so.

        Let’s hope our next game is better, need a win after 2 loses

        1. Sorry my friend – I’m not comparing the city of previous seasons, just as I’m not comparing The Arsenal of previous seasons.

          This is about THIS season and what we have achieved to date, compared to, not only city, but EVERY team in the PL.

          We are performing better than evert other club and one off day doesn’t define a season…as city proved today!!

  14. With Totenham currently ahead of City (86th minute) where is the squad depth and the experience we always shout about? It’s high time we realized that football intricacies are beyond the ordinary reasoning of men.
    Did anyone notice that almost all the so-called whipping boys for this season did something special yesterday?

  15. City have just done what we did at Goodison Park! I expect an article from another Dan to rationalize the obnoxious claims he made about Arsenal compared to city. Going by your argument:
    1. City do not have the mentality to win it
    2. City have no chance of winning it now
    3. Gong by point 1 and 2, Utd are now the clear favs?

    Again, there are no mind games! City have been shite and Pep is man enough to publicly acknowledge that.

  16. While it is true that the mentality of a team plays a crucial role in their success, it is not the only factor. While the loss to Everton was disappointing, it is important to remember that the season is long and there is still a lot of time for the team to learn from their mistakes and make improvements. Additionally, many of the same players were present during last year’s disappointing run and yet the team has still made great strides this season. It is possible that the team will continue to grow and develop and be ready to compete for the title. The pressure of a title race is certainly a challenge, but it is also an opportunity for the team to prove their worth and demonstrate their ability to handle tough situations. The future is unknown, but it is not impossible for Arsenal to win the title with their current squad and coaching staff.

    Has your opinion changed now City have lost or do City’s losses not garner the same kind of scrutiny? It was their 3rd away loss in a row btw which last happened over 6 years ago, their next away match? Well its against the best team in the league this season so a tall order for them to get back in to stride one would think. Haaland meanwhile has now scored 1 in 7 away from home. Do they not have many concerns of their own especially having shipped team of the year Cancelo out with no replacement?

    Nobody thinks we will walk to the title but having a bit belief we can do it is not remotely delusional when we are 5 clear after 20 games with a game in hand. Certainly not sensitive to refuse to give in to the view that we simply can’t win it in those circumstances I wouldn’t of thought.

    1. Stephanie
      Why is it game still on
      Was it off at some point between final whistle of our game and the final whistle of the spud game
      You really need to relax and get some belief in to you

      1. And I think Man City would be scared that we most likely would beat them home & away

        It would likely be 4 points for us against them (or 3 apiece)

        I predicted a Spurs win or draw on here yday, cos I saw it that Spurs could get them if they eliminate the plenty blunders by Perisic that previous match

          1. Some people on here are weird
            I have always tried to be polite on here but after reading some comments it its pretty frustrating
            Some turn on a turn of a result
            I feel sorry for Stephanie
            She is up and down like a yoyo
            Her emotions must be in bits
            Lost a bit of faith last year and especially after the Newcastle game
            Always believed we would get 4th and then fell away game after game at the end
            I posted out something and was doubting some of the tactics. I remember you were the only one who kindly gave me a quick pep talk and told me don’t lose the faith
            Never thanked you for that
            Gave me back perspective on where we were in the process
            Onwards and upwards

  17. With today’s Spurs Epl march 1-0 win at home against Man City. I can foresee Arsenal are at a chance but if they take it to go 11 points clear of Man City on the table. If they beat Brentford and Man City in two consecutive home matches.
    This is going to be a great opportunity for Arsenal to avail themselves with it. And seize it making good use of it. And go 11 points on Man City and continue sitting atop of the League to gradually become out of sight of the two Manchester big club sides, in this season’s race to win the Premier League title.

  18. Reading the article and all the comments, it makes me wonder, who has the bigger issue?? Does the team have the mental strength to grind out wins when playing poorly and managing the current lead in the table into a PL win? Or do the Arsenal fans have the mental capacity to stay calm, support the team and stop falling off the bandwagon at every bump?

    1. Was not expecting that spuds result and did us a huge favour but the other way of looking at it shows how disappointing yesterday result was could have been 8 points clear these are the fine margins oto determine whether we win it or not that result could along with the Southampton one could be the difference think we will need to beat City at least once to ho on and win it!

  19. Absolute bull.

    Complete farce of an article, dripping with illogism and chronic ignorance of football..

    I’ll advise whoever Dan is to at least watch even just one Arsenal game this season, and he’ll realize that the nonsense he’s written here has not a thing to do with Arsenal FC 2022/23 sesson.

  20. Thanks to the Spuds the title is still ours to lose. I think too many people are being seriously one eyed in their response to Dan’s article. Loyalty and belief are one thing, blindly following the badge is something else. The Everton loss was bitter because it was three relatively easy points squandered. True the opposition was up for a fight but our players should have been just as aggressive and our tactics a bit smarter. This time, again thanks to Spurs and Conte we got away with it. Let’s hope lessons will have been learnt and we do better against Brentford. I also believe that Arsenal are capable of taking three points in at least one of the City games.

  21. I was at Goodison yesterday and have only recently got back, so I have not seen any replays so I am only relaying what I saw, also I was in the Everton end which has always been a good crack but a shite view.

    The issue I saw was the good old “They don’t like it up em'” and you have to give the toffees their due, they was all over us as soon as we got the ball and by the time we worked it out wide they doubled up on Saka and Martinelli and either we lost the ball or rinsed and repeated. To be honest, it is the first time this season we have played really slowly in transition form midfield to attack (like last season and the season before, not negative but we have seen this before) but again, you have to give them their due… they was all over us and always seemed to win the second ball. I agree, it was a bad day at the office but my concern is that Everton have just supplied the blue print on how to counter us. Keep Saka and Martinelli out of the game and pressure the midfield and they have a chance. It should/could have been more, so one nil was quite flattering.

    Everton was not brilliant, they were a typical Dyche team and got us on a poorly defended set peice. I heard that Tarkowski picked his marker up and threw him over the crossbar before he headed it, but I was at the other end so how true that is, I’m not sure? Gonna watch it again tonight as I am a bit sado that way.

    But I have a bigger concern… Zinc and Martinelli as a duo don’t work. I have seen a couple of comments that Martinelli needs to be dropped which I find unfair. Give the kid a break, he is doing it all on his own on the left with literally no support. When you watch the Brentford game just keep an eye on how isolated he is, hence why his form has dipped since Jesus injury and Tierney not playing he has no option but to go to the byline and try and make something. If Saka was on the left he would have the same problem. Zinc will not go any further than a metre of the half way line unless we are losing and to be honest, after seeing his shots yesterday… I think he should be no further than the metre line going forward.

    Can I also just add… I slated Jorginho this week but although trying to fill Parteys boots is a big ask he constantly kept talking and trying to motivate the team. I was at the point that I was gonna write “Can I have your Shirt” on a rizla paper so fair play. Trossard looked disinterested wide on the left so when Odegaard went off I thought he would play more central to support Eddie and Viera to move left, but what do I know.

    Hopefully, this could be a reset as this is the second game we have lost in a row with a week’s rest. We have another week, let’s just hope we don’t play Brentford next week…. awwwww shite.

    On the plus side, I had a brilliant weekend bar the football and as per usual (It seems like forever) I got the abuse for losing against Everton but a free curry and loads of alcohol supplied by my Evertonian friends made it worth while.

    Onwards and upwards.

  22. Kudos to Dan Smith for his honest and brave assessment of the Everton game.

    Whether we choose to call it reality check or wake-up call, the result is crystal clear: Dyche was able to stifle our offence using a 5-player-midfield to double-team our wingers. The rest of the league was watching too. Trust me. We have become too predictable.

    The good news is we now have the flexibility in our new squad to make subtle adjustment to our game. These adjustments include playing Trossard in a more central role while we are waiting for Jesus to return. A numbers of the comments above echo this same observation too.

    Let’s also not forget that Tierney is the best attacking fullback is our squad – and league for that matter. We need to use him. Martinelli’s game needs him.

    Arteta has the tools to win the league. He needs to use them wisely. Enough said.

  23. City lost to the Spuds, thank you once to the enemy. That said, I still think we can win the title, such hindrances come once a while in a title race and what is more important is how we respond. I still have the faith we will win the title.

  24. Well the author was only saying his mind. The team has really done well since the beginning of the season till now but the truth has to be said. Arsenal performed poorly against Everton. No body expected Arsenal to loose to Everton this season given their form. We need to respond positively in our remaining matches into the season if we must remain where we are come end of May. We can do it GUNNERS! !!

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