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Starting the season: Everton 1 Arsenal 6. 15 August 2009.

15 August 2009

Tony:

I remember this so well, because it was on Satanta, and the whole thing took them utterly by surprise.   They packed the studio with old Evertonians, and towards the end, unable to find anything else to do showed shots of ex-Everton players in the ground, saying how sad it was that these men should have to see this display.   The gloriousness of the Arsenal game was not mentioned.

But what about before the game?

I’m really pleased to have been offered the musings of Gf60 who has for many years written his own commentaries on the doings of Arsenal.  I want to publish some of these simply because his commentaries written at the time show what fans were thinking.

His views are not mine – but everyone’s views are valid and of merit.

So here’s Gf60s commentary at the end of the pre-season on August 9 2009.

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With the slap and tickles in Austria and thereabouts out of the way, the Emirates Cup should have given us more of a feel for the emerging first team side. After all there is but one game to go before proper football starts at Everton.

But, does anyone out there truly think they can name the side that will start against Everton? I’m buggered if I can.

Take away my three certainties…Arshavin, Cesc and Billy G….then which 8 out of the 22 odd left (with Vela, Walcott, Diaby, Gibbs and eventually Sami still to come) will start?

It’s not going to be easy. Hopefully Vermaelen will be fit but did he do enough to justify starting ahead of Djourou? Whichever, our defence still gives me the heebie jeebies other than when Song is around. Despite the slip yesterday, he still looks the most likely to be a regular. His game has come on amazingly in the past 6 months.

Keepers… we have 4 with Mr Fawlty just in the lead but Mannone looking like he could grab the place. Has Fabianski been injured? “Chesney” (don’t ask me how to spell it…’Szcysnzy’ is close but no coconut) also looked fairly useful.

Sagna and Clichy in particular will do well to be in the starting line up. Traore in particular seems a likely starter and, love him or hate him, Eboue looked better than Chewbacca in the games so far. Certainly both Traore and Eboue can cross better than either of the ‘regulars’.

Then the mid-field mine field. Tomas R…if fit, there’s no question. Cesc no question. But as to the rest, so many questions. We still have no pit-bull and despite Denilson’s ability to mop up, cover the yards and move the ball on, we still seem a bit frail defensively. Attack wise, no great sweat. Ramsey, Vela, Walcott, even Diaby, can be quite useful but… I’m glad it’s AW’s job and not mine.

And thence to the attack. RvP has made some wonderful passes in the pre-season games…but he’s not really there just to lay them on. And he doesn’t seem to able to finish at the moment bar penalties.

Likewise Nic. Fine against the slap and ticklers but looking very deficient against the likes of Hannover and Atletico. Eduardo and AA look far more potent but “Where’s the beef?”

And then there’s Jack the Lad. Oh my… what a talent. But to risk him in the hurley burley? I know if they’re good enough, they’re old enough. Maybe he needs a few more pounds on him before becoming the regular that doubtless he will be.

All in all, not a bad pre-season albeit leaving more questions than answers. Sad to see Kolo end his Arsenal career at a meaningless overseas friendly…he should have gone out like Paddy whose last kick for the club won the cup!

Let’s see what happens next week in Valencia. Then time for the fan to forecast the starting team.

—————————————

Tony:

And so, what did it bring?

It brought one of the great starts to a season – a victory so overwhelming that it just left the mouth gaping – or at least it left my mouth gaping.

Let’s see what Gf60 wrote on the evening of the game.

—————————————-

Gf60

Everton vs Arsenal 1-6

Lo and behold. “My team” as predicted (Aug 9) did let a goal in. Our forward line was OK but got just the one goal between them. And Tim Cahill’s prematch predictions of tearing Arsenal a new orifice may be said to have come back to bite him on the bum. Maybe we are establishing a tradition at Everton? We beat them 6-1 at Goodison every 51 years!

It was a fun start. Not great. For the most part Everton gave the impression of being on Valium. But given what appeared to be a testing game for the first of the season, it was a performance to bring a hint of a smile to even the most pessimistic Arsenal supporter. Probably our 6 injuries cancelled out the two of Arteta and Jagielka suffered by Everton so it was a great confidence builder. There aren’t many sides that will go there and nick 3 points so impressively.

There were many performances that stood out. Vermaelen was very impressive and marked his debut with a well taken goal, though if truth be told, had a similar goal been scored at our end the usual cries would have gone up that we can’t defend set pieces. Indeed only Denilson, having scored a candidate for goal of the season after good work by Nic and Cesc, saved us from the same fate a few minutes later.

If Alex Song can maintain yesterday’s standard, our mid-field fears can be dissipated. He was superb throughout…as indeed was Billy G.

And this of course released Cesc to do his thing. 2 goals and 2 assists is no bad start. Quite what Everton were thinking of when he scored his second is unknown. But they could well have been given swords and dress uniform to give him a guard of honour.

Now of course comes the worrying bit. Our recent 4 or 5 year history of having a big 6 or 7 goal win followed by a defeat is bugging me. It would be good to defy history and go out and give the jocks a good mauling on Tuesday.

—————————-

Tony:

Tuesday, in case you are wondering involved the fourth qualifying round of the Champs League away to Celtic.

There will be more from Gf60 in coming days and weeks, as the history site is extended to incorporate more recent as well as distant past stories.

You might also know that this was not the first Everton 1 Arsenal 6.  Here is a report on the earlier version of the game.

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