Everton's past, present and future problems highlighted by Arsenal defeat

Arsenal's 2-1 victory over Everton on Saturday may have sent the Gunners to the top of the Premier League table for the first time since February 2014, however it also highlighted past, present and future problems for the Toffees.


A big problem for Everton has been beating Arsenal away from home. It is now 22 matches and more than 19 years since Everton won away at Arsenal - January 1996 to be precise.

In fact, Arsenal have defeated the Toffees on more occasions than any other team has beaten another in the history of English league football. Saturday's victory was their 92nd win in 189 meetings with Everton.

The Blues have only won one of their last 17 Premier League meetings with Arsenal, with Andrew Johnson scoring a stoppage-time winner at Goodison Park in 2007.


Everton were fifth in the table after their thrilling comeback against West Bromwich Albion at the end of September. However, the Toffees have picked up only one point since and have fallen to 11th in the table, although those three games have been against Liverpool, Manchester United and Arsenal.

Everton boss Roberto Martinez admitted after the match that Everton shot themselves in the foot after giving two easy goals away against Arsenal. 

The Toffees were undone by headers from Oliver Giroud and Lauren Koscielny in quick-succession and much of the scrutiny will fall on goalkeeper Tim Howard who twice failed to deal with balls delivered into the box. However, Phil Jagielka and John Stones' failure to pick up either Arsenal scorer was also a problem.

Defensive cracks were a big problem for Everton last season, with the Toffees making more errors leading to goals than any other Premier League team with 15. This problem does not look like it has been fixed; Everton have already made 11 errors this season, with three leading to goals (only three teams have more).

It was also another slow first-half from Everton and it wasn't until Arsenal scored their two goals before the Toffees truly got into the match, and as was the case against Manchester United last week, it was too much to overcome.

Having said that, Everton did come close to salvaging a point in the second-half; Romelu Lukaku saw his header hit the crossbar before Petr Cech pulled off a wonderful save to deny Gerard Deulofeu with only four minutes left.

Everton supporters have been calling out for their side to play with more width, and for the first time this season Martinez started with two natural wingers; Aaron Lennon and Gerard Deulofeu. However, Deulofeu completed only one cross in the whole match, and that came as part of a short-corner routine, while Lennon was isolated on the left wing, particularly in the first-half when he only received eight passes.


There are also problems for the future after captain Phil Jagielka limped off with a knee injury after challenging Alex Oxlaide-Chamberlain for the ball.

It has since been confirmed that, although his injury is not as bad as first feared, Jagielka is likely to be out for eight to nine weeks. It is likely that Ramiro Funes Mori will deputise at the centre of defence and he was an able deputy for Stones earlier this season and when he replaced Jagielka in the second-half at the Emirates Stadium.

That is not the only selection problem that Roberto Martinez faces - the Everton boss must decide whether to stick with Tim Howard in goal or pick reserve goalkeeper Joel Robles.

Howard has come under criticism recently for not dominating his area. The USA international failed to deal with a corner which led to Danny Ings scoring in Everton's 1-1 draw with Liverpool at the beginning of this month and twice against Arsenal on Saturday.

Martinez has confirmed that Robles will start in goal against Norwich City in the Capital One Cup on Tuesday night, as he has done throughout the competition this season.

However, if the former Wigan Athletic goalkeeper performs well on Tuesday, Martinez may opt to pick Robles ahead of Howard for Everton's next Premier League match against Sunderland on Sunday.

Toughest fixtures behind them

Everton are 11th in the Premier League table after picking up 13 points from their opening 10 league games. However, the Toffees have faced eight of the teams who finished higher than them last season already, including Manchester City, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United and Arsenal.

The Toffees now have a more favourable run of games, including games against Sunderland, Aston Villa and Bournemouth in the next month, and Martinez will be hoping that his side get their season back on track after back-to-back Premier League defeats.