which is why Setanta, one of the TV channels that had gained the right to live football coverage, opted for Everton v Arsenal on the first day of the new season, as the match they would cover.
And so they lined up an array of ex-Evertonian footballers to interview before during and after the game expecting (for some reason) a vibrant victory – Arsenal having been considered lucky to end up third.
As a result they spent much of the latter part of the game having the commentators say how sad it was that these eminent ex-players should have to watch this defeat. It was almost as if it was Arsenal’s fault, not recognising that the pre and post match interviews would be an all-Everton affair.
As a result, of Arsenal’s stunning performance was there none. Denilson, Vermaelen, Gallas, Fàbregas (2) and Eduardo scored the goals. You would hardly have known that judging by the TV coverage.
In fact for much of the game 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 (yes him) and Jagielka suffered by Everton so it was a great confidence builder.
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.
This style and approach 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 as they let him saunter past them.
In fact it was a rather jolly start to the season all round…
|15 Aug 2009||Everton v Arsenal||W||1-6||Premier League|
|18 Aug 2009||Celtic v Arsenal||W||0-2||Champions League|
|22 Aug 2009||Arsenal v Portsmouth||W||4-1||Premier League|
|26 Aug 2009||Arsenal v Celtic||W||3-1||Champions League|
After Arsenal’s second game the table read…