By Daniel Lewis

18th Sep, 2023 | 1:10pm

Journalist drops 'abysmal' Everton verdict after Arsenal defeat at Goodison Park

Journalist Greg O’Keeffe has described the midfield performance of Everton in their 1-0 loss to Arsenal as “abysmal”.

The Toffees were undone by a second-half goal from Leandro Trossard in the Premier League contest at Goodison Park on Sunday [17 September].

Idrissa Gueye, Amadou Onana and Abdoulaye Doucoure struggled to keep hold of the ball in the middle of the park as Everton came out second best.

In a comment piece on the match for The Athletic [18 August], O’Keeffe said: “In midfield, Everton were abysmal.

“Their trio of Idrissa Gueye, Amadou Onana and Abdoulaye Doucoure were guilty of wasting possession in the few moments that their team managed to win the ball back.

“Their passing success rates – Gueye 71%, Doucoure 65% and Onana 80% – paled into comparison to those of the visitors’ midfield three, with Martin Odegaard at 91%, Declan Rice 93% and Fabio Vieira 85%.

Subscribe to Football Insider TV now

“Perhaps that is to be expected given what Arsenal paid for that trio, but [Sean] Dyche was correct in his post-match assessment that his team’s profligacy compounded an already difficult task.”

Back to the drawing board

All the focus in the early stages of the campaign has been on Everton’s struggles to put the ball in the net, having scored in just one of their five Premier League matches to date.

However, the defence and midfield can hardly be devoid of any blame, as highlighted in the defeat to Arsenal.

Gueye, Doucoure and Onana have started all five of Everton’s league games this season, four of which have ended in defeat and the other a draw against Sheffield United.

On the basis of those five performances, it may well be worth Dyche having a rethink when it comes to team selection.

Many have called for fit-again Dominic Calvert-Lewin to start alongside Beto in attack, which would mean losing a midfielder or wide player.

It is clear Everton are going to be in another relegation scrap this season, and something different is certainly needed on the basis of the first five games.

If that means a reshuffle in central midfield, then so be it.

In other Everton news, another journalist described something he saw against Arsenal as “painful”.