Everton 0 - 2 Arsenal

Arsenal

Lukic, Dixon, Winterburn, Vieira, Platt, Wright, Bergkamp, Keown, Garde (Morrow 46), Marshall, Hughes. Subs Not Used: Selley, Harper, Shaw, Rankin.

Everton

Southall, Barrett, Unsworth (Short 46), Watson, Phelan, Stuart, Ferguson, Speed, Barmby (Branch 46), Thomsen, Parkinson. Subs Not Used: Hottiger, Rideout, Speare.

Booked

Speed, Thomsen, Phelan, Parkinson., Garde, Dixon, Wright, Winterburn.

Att

36,980

Ref

P S Danson (Leicester).


rsene Wenger has been in the game too long to be taken in by one result - especially against a defence as bad as Everton's.

So there was no title frenzy or dreams of glory from the laid back Frenchman as he reflected on three points at the blue end of Merseyside. Surely in all his years Wenger can rarely have seen as duff a defensive display as Joe Royle's men put together in the opening half hour.

Even the Goodison chief admitted: "You can't give poor teams a two-goal start, never mind the good ones."

Wenger refused to get excited about the fact that leaders Manchester United are just six points infront. And no one was arguing when he said: "Manchester United look very strong. We would need to win three games over them to get back into the race. It looks as if they will go on winning. We needed this result to get our confidence back, and we did that."

Unsworth was replaced by Short in the second half and Royle said: "David was suffering a bit and put his hands up for the goal. Arsenal probably couldn't believe their luck. But we never had the guile or the power to break them down. It was a poor performance."

Wenger praised his top guns Bergkamp and Wright for the almost contemptuous ease with which they shot down Everton. Bergkamp took advantage of a horror mistake by Unsworth. The former England defender allowed a hopeful Winterburn ball to bounce over his head and into the Dutchman's path.

Bergkamp may be afraid of flying but he nearly broke the sound barrier as he raced away and shot low past Southall. Wright was wearing red boots and dazzled against defenders who looked as though they had lead in their boots. The in-form striker killed a Garde cross superbly, went past Watson, and drilled a super shot into the corner.

Wenger purred: "It was a great goal by Wright and Bergkamp was very influential. When you have two strikers like we have you expect them to make the most of their chances. That is their quality, we played well in the first half, but in the second half we just wanted to get through and try to keep the result.

"We had to show mental strength in our reaction to two bad results and many injured players, and we did that."

Fortunatley for Everton boss Royle and his men, the home fans found referee Danson to turn their anger on. One so-called supporter ran on to the pitch to push the official in the chest after he told off local hero Ferguson.

Everton will be in trouble with the FA for the incident but Danson had a poor game, booking eight players and finding it impossible to control a fiery second half when a couple of Everton men might have been sent off.

Arsenal were simply content to sit back although Platt on his comeback, should have done better as he made a terrible mess of a fine cutback by Wright.

With Wright about to be banned and Seaman and Adams both injured Wenger revealed he had plans to spend: "We will try to buy some new players before the deadline. I don't know how long some of our players will be out."

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Last Updated: Saturday March 22, 1997 19:55:53 -0500

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