Last April when his Burnley side came from 2-1 down at half-time to secure a 3-2 victory, Sean Dyche told the Clarets players in his half-time team talk that this Everton team “don’t know how to win”.
But after waiting since the 3-0 success against Crystal Palace on October 22, he’s now teaching them as they secured a precious and deserved three points against Premier League leaders Arsenal.
While there was a pre-match fan protest against Everton’s owner and board of directors – against absent for the second consecutive fixture – in the streets outside of Goodison Park, once the action on the pitch began, Dyche’s Blues players were turbo-charged from the start by the power of the home support.
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After somehow ending up allowing the squad to be weakened rather than strengthened during the January transfer window at a time when all their rivals added to the ranks, it was clear that the new manager, players and paying customers in the stands – not the club’s absent power brokers – were going to have to fight to avoid Everton’s first relegation in 72 years themselves.
As Evertonians would hope from a Dyche side, the Blues hassled and harried Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal players from the start, determined to make up for their past deficiencies that have left them in such a precarious position.
When the breakthrough came, it arrived via a couple of Dyche’s former Burnley players who had spent last season fighting against Everton to stay in the division.
It was simple but wonderfully effective goal as Dwight McNeil’s corner met James Tarkowski’s head to open the ex-Clarets centre-back’s account for the club in front of the Gwladys Street. The battle for survival starts here.
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