As if the excitement of one new manager, in the shape of Arsenal’s Mikel Arteta wasn’t enough, Everton decided to up the ante by adding Carlo Ancelotti into the mix.
So with the announcement being made just before half time, this Premier League lunchtime fixture seemed primed to set Goodison Park alight with entertainment from two sides hoping to impress their new managers.
So did it deliver?!
No… it did not…
The two sides played out possibly one of the worst games in Premier League history, proving that both managers have a lot of work to do.
The big surprise in terms of team news came from the visitors – as Freddie Ljungberg opted to field an exceptionally inexperienced side, filled with young talent (six under the age of 23, to be precise).
#Arsenal are the first side to name two players born in the 2000’s in their starting line up for a Premier League game.
Gabriel Martinelli (18y & 186d)
Born in June 2001
Bukayo Saka (18y & 107d)
Born in September 2001#EVEARS pic.twitter.com/KENvXtVQWc
— Harvey Downes (@HarveyDownes92) December 21, 2019
Mesut Ozil, meanwhile, who was criticised for his reaction to being substituted last week against Manchester City, was missing with a mysterious foot injury, but according to Ljungberg the German would have been dropped anyway.
How much longer will this go on you wonder…
Ljungberg explains Ozil’s absence: “Mesut has something on his foot. He wouldn’t have been in the squad anyway after what happened in the last game.” pic.twitter.com/OGvgj2zkpe
— Goal (@goal) December 21, 2019
To the action and a whirlwind opening 45 minutes!
When their fans say they wish they would play like Real Madrid or Barcelona, we’re not sure they mean this week’s El Classico. . .
A very uneventful first half at Goodison Park! #EVEARS pic.twitter.com/jTvQ33PVbU
— 90min (@90min_Football) December 21, 2019
Everton and Arsenal need to sub in the managers at half time
— Paul O Keefe (@pokeefe1) December 21, 2019
The ad break at half time has been the most interesting thing about this Arsenal v Everton game
— Paula Evans (@Paula312jane) December 21, 2019
But not to worry bored Premier League fans, all was not lost.
Cue, Jordan Pickford – and a wonderful cap, donned to prevent the sun from beaming into his oh so colourful eyes…
Just seen Pickford wearing a hat
— Sreenath™ (@GunmanAuba) December 21, 2019
That and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s close shot were probably the only real highlights of a game destined to be last on Match of the Day.
Even Jermaine Jenas thought it was shocker…
With little to speak about on the pitch, attention soon turned to what Mr Ancelotti and Mr Arteta may have been thinking in the stands.
Oh god is probably accurate…
Rumours that both Arteta and Ancelotti have resigned are apparently not true.
— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) December 21, 2019
Always next week, eh?