Sean Dyche has been parachuted into Goodison Park as Everton attempt to steer clear of the relegation zone following the sacking of Frank Lampard.
And it’s taken him no time at all to get a heartbeat out of a previously flatlining Toffees squad as they earned a brilliant 1-0 win over Arsenal on Saturday.
The former Burnley boss’ first game in charge came at lunchtime as Premier League leaders Arsenal ventured into Merseyside looking for their 17th league win of the season.
The two contrasting styles duked it out in an even first half half, with Everton noticeably eager to crack into tackles and make life difficult for the Gunners.
While the visitors zipped the ball around quickly and looked to pounce quickly on any turnovers, the Toffees created decent chances of their own as Dominic Calvert-Lewin came within a whisker of converting Amadou Onana’s low fizzed cross before Dwight McNeil picked out Abdoulaye Doucoure, but the midfielder could only head wide.
Everton were on the hunt for a third successive home league victory over Arsenal but nearly went behind when Bukayo Saka struck a shot towards the far corner. However, the recovering Conor Coady managed to steer the ball off the line and to safety.
Calvert-Lewin also got on the end of a dangerous cross but could only glance just wide as the sides went into half time level.
The Gunners’ positive attacking intent was there to see but they struggled to find the final pass past a resolute home defence. Mikel Arteta made changes with Jorginho making his debut and Leandro Trossard also coming on, but instead it was Dyche who was celebrating on the touchline on the hour mark.
Everton won plenty of corners throughout the contest and made one pay when McNeil’s delivery was met by James Tarkowski, who fittingly nodded in the first goal of the Dyche era at Goodison Park, having played under him at Burnley.
Neal Maupay was immediately substituted on for Calvert-Lewin and started reuniting with some old Arsenal pals, prodding the visiting players with gamesmanship aplenty.
The usually influential Martin Odegaard – who had scored in three away league matches in a row before the match – had an off game as Arsenal struggled for an equaliser, with Trossard bringing a decent save from Jordan Pickford.
Arsenal did have a penalty shout when Maupay and Gabriel collided, but VAR was not on their side, much to their fans’ disapproval.
However, the current Premier League leaders couldn’t manage an equaliser and fell to just their second league defeat of the season. Everton, meanwhile, stopped a run of eight league games without a win to move up to 17th.
Arsenal will now hope Manchester City can succeed in their trip to Tottenham on Sunday, with the danger of their lead at the top of the Premier League shrinking to two points.