The Gunners and the Toffees had endured an extremely alarming start to the Premier League season and their pre-campaign European dreams already seemed a million miles away.
Due to their terrible domestic form, both Unai Emery and Marco Silva were fired by their clubs and the hunt had begun for their next appointments to usher in a new dawn.
Emery was fired by Arsenal at the end of November with the eighth club in the Premier League, already eight points from the top four and after their worst run without a win since February 1992
Meanwhile, Everton decided to say goodbye to Silva in early December after the club languished 18th in the relegation zone after three consecutive defeats.
Both clubs had a hard time and urgently needed inspiring managers to raise confidence and mood in the dressing room.
Their next movements were critical – miss it and they would fall even further into mediocrity or do well and maybe go hunting for European places – so both parties were more than willing to wait their time for their desired goals.
Arsenal and Everton found themselves at a crossroads and many management names were drifting around – they go with someone with a wealth of experience to arrest the slump or start again with a young candidate who may have had a great future in
It led to both Mikel Arteta and Carlo Ancelotti being connected to the vacancies of Arsenal and Everton, many claiming that the Gunners needed the Italians to partially restore the glory days, while others argued that the Toffees look young had to see to rebuild for the future.
But after much deliberation and knowledge of the next step, the key was, f Arsenal and Everton called their husband just before Christmas, and ironically just before the two teams fought it in Goodison Park in what turned out to be a boredom.
And both teams decided to go for the more bizarre option – Arsenal appointed Arteta to start over, while Everton chose Ancelotti to bring immediate success.
Arteta and Ancelotti were both standing in the stands on Merseyside watching their new games play one of the faintest games of the Premier League season. It was clear that Arsenal and Everton had a huge lack of confidence – and that was their first task to deal with.
They both led for the first time on Boxing Day (Arsenal was 11th and Everton 15th at the time) and since then have enjoyed a revival in fortunes, especially Everton.
Despite a gripping 1-0 defeat for rivals Liverpool, who failed their children in the third round of the FA Cup, things are clear to Ancelotti and are now somehow only four points out of the Champions League.
Since the appointment of Ancelotti at Goodison Park, Everton has the second best record in the Premier League – winning an impressive 17 points from eight games, scoring 14 goals and nine.
Only Liverpool, who sprint to their first ever Premier League title, have a better record after winning all their games since Boxing Day.
The Toffees are extremely efficient in the fall thanks to the exploits of Richarlison and Dominic Calv ert-Lewin, produced 118 shots in the eight games of Ancelotti, with an expected goal ratio of 15.86.
Richarlison and Calvert-Lewin have been a constant threat to the defense of the opposition since the Italian came to the helm, with the latter mainly enjoying a golden curse in front of the goal.
The young Englishman, who was looking for a place in the Euro 2020 team of Gareth Southgate, has six goals and one assist in eight games and he continues to take threatening positions – with 30 shots during that time with a conversion rate of 20 percent.
Calvert-Lewin has also created nine opportunities for his Everton teammates, showing that he has the creativity to go alongside his goals instinct.
Richarlison has three goals and one assist in six games under Ancelotti, producing 18 shots on goal with a conversion of 16.7 percent. The Brazilian continues to link the game brilliantly and he has proven that by creating eight opportunities for his teammates.
Meanwhile, it was a slower journey for Arsenal among the inexperienced Arteta, but there are plenty of encouraging signs that the triple Premier League winners are coming back to life.
Arteta has led the outfit in North London to only two Premier League wins in his first eight games – including an impressive 2-0 win over Manchester United on New Year's Day and an emphatic 4-0 game from Newcastle last weekend.
They have only taken 11 points out of a possible 24 points and are eighth in the rankings since the Spaniard – previously employed as assistant to Pep Guardiola in Manchester City – took over.
But despite their sad shape throughout the season, with only seven games in total, they somehow only have so many points from the top four. They cannot believe their own happiness and Arteta will quietly watch an unlikely berth in the Champions League after the two-year ban of his former employers.
Arsenal slowly but surely start to find their rhythm for the goal again, the pace of competitions much more dominating under Arteta – with an average of 54.3 percent possession per match – but that is not the most important improvement.
Defensively, Arsenal recently looked much more compact and kept three clean sheets in a row in all competitions (two in the Premier League). They are faced with 97 shots after the arrival of Arteta, with only 31 of them on target.
Many stars show great signs of improvement in the Emirates, notably Granit Xhaka and Shkodran Mustafi – two players whose future in Arsenal seemed dead and buried in December.
But it is the rise and development of the next generation among Arteta that mainly excites Arsenal fans, with Bukayo Saka ahead despite playing out of position as left back after injuries to Sead Kolasinac and Kieran Tierney.
The teenager born in Ealing has shown maturity far beyond his years and his impressive form has led him to attract interest from people such as Liverpool, Manchester United and Bayern Munich.
The 18-year-old-old played seven times under Arteta in the English top flight, admitted only six times alongside the rest of his defending teammates and made 13 tackles, five interceptions and won 58.2 percent of his duels .
So fast forward from the scoreless draw in Goodison Park on December 21, and now things feel very different on the way to the Premier League meeting in the Emirates on Sunday afternoon.
Both teams appear on the rise again and face the confident collision of the weekend, somehow competing for a European spot after gloomy starts at the
Although it might is too early to say that their respective management agreements have been a success, it is certainly going in the right direction and the feel-good factor seems to be back at both the Emirates and Goodison Park.
Sunday's game is an intriguing battle in both the race for Europe and to see what Arteta and Ancelotti could have done for their opponents if things were turned off in December.
Arsenal & # 39; consider activating Jonathan Tah & # 39; s £ 34m release clause & # 39; amid the interest of Atletico Madrid, because Mikel Arteta is targeting Bayer Leverkusen defender as a priority target this summer
- Arsenal retains an interest in the talented Bayer Leverkusen defender Jonathan Tah
- Mikel Arteta has made improving his defensive options a priority this summer
- Reports in Germany say the club is considering activating Tah & # 39; s release clause
Arsenal consider a ga for Bayer Leverkusen to defend Jonathan Tah, with his £ 34 million release clause ending in June.
Gunners boss Mikel Arteta has made defensive reinforcements a priority this summer because he wants to restore the club to the top four after difficulties in recent seasons.
While RB Leipzig's Dayot Upamecano matters, Sport Bild report that Arsenal is now debating activating the Tah release clause for some early transfer activities this summer.
Atletico Madrid has also been credited with an interest in Tah and both will be aware that his £ 34 million release clause will expire in June, so a quick decision on any move is vital.
Tah & # 39; s Bundesliga rival Upamecano has long been touted as the defender who will cause a frenzy this summer and he made it clear prior to the Champions League victory over Tottenham that he will judge his future in the summer.
& # 39; There are several clubs that want me, & # 39; he said. & # 39; I will talk to my agents and parents at the end of the season and we will make the right decision. & # 39;
PETER CROUCH: The poison has disappeared and the aura is back in Arsenal thanks to the influence of boss Mikel Arteta
This column was dedicated on the last day of November to the problems of Arsenal .
It was in the middle of their gloomy winter and I wrote how their aura had disappeared and the club that used to be known to set standards had allowed those standards to slip.
I have been watching Arsenal consistently since that day, so the last act of last Sunday's 4-0 win over Newcastle hit a chord.
The way the players went from Arsenal to Alexandre Lacazette after he scored his first goal in nine games was significant.
Finally there seemed to be some ghost. I don't get carried away and say they are back – they stay at some distance from where they used to be – but I saw flashes of character, togetherness and companionship in the way Lacazette was flooded.
For that I had to fully recognize Mikel Arteta. You think of the situation in which the new manager came in last December. The atmosphere was poisonous, there was the infamous quarrel between Granit Xhaka and the crowd, and Arsenal looked much more like individuals than a team.
Such a combination of circumstances would have been tested by the most experienced manager, so Arteta looked like he was hiding for nothing when he walked into that mess. The vast majority had doubts about the characters in the team that he had inherited. Few expected they would knuckle down. You can say to me: & # 39; Oh, it was only Newcastle! & # 39; but I've been in enough dressing rooms to understand when something is real and the way six or seven players got to Lacazette wasn't just for the cameras.
It reminded me of the day in some ways. I scored my first goal for Liverpool in December 2005 after a ridiculous drought. If Lacazette had struggled with self-confidence, the way his teammates reacted to him gave the perfect boost. Such things only happen if dressing room unit is good.
For Arsenal to win 1-0 at Olympiacos on Thursday – and for Lacazette to score the goal – shows how important his effort against Newcastle could have been for relaunching the season.
Let me emphasize, I am not saying that Arsenal runs back to the lofty bass that they used to occupy. I do not judge quickly about their long-term prospects, but I do think it is important to emphasize the improvement and progress under Arteta.
They had not shown anything under Unai Emery for so long wondered where the drift would end. They had stopped fighting – stopped believing – and for them to stand in the lower half of the table was a travesty.
There is another big test against Everton tomorrow, also coming out of trouble, and it will be fascinating to see if Arsenal can maintain the momentum that they have given them last week. Another big win and who says where they will end this season?
Fourth place seems to be the hot potato position that nobody wants to keep. If Arsenal discovers any consistency, the Champions League spot that I said went too far might still be within reach. If that happens, the inspiration comes from one man: Mikel Arteta.
SIMEONE ANTICS MAG BACKFIRE
Full appreciation for Jurgen Klopp and the players of Liverpool for not responding to the antics of Diego Simeone during Tuesday's collision in the Metropolitan Wanda.
Had I played in that game, I would have found it very hard not to say anything to Simeone, who was like a conductor with the crazy way he whipped up the fans of Atletico Madrid and encouraged his players to play surrender in the dark arts, such as demanding yellow cards.
I noted Virgil van Dijk and Andrew Robertson to say that they were struck by how much Atletico celebrated the last whistle when there were 90 minutes left. If Liverpool wins with two or three goals – what they are capable of – Atletico will have inspired them.
& # 39; In my opinion, he is ready to play & # 39 ;: Carlo Ancelotti will talk to Andre Gomes before deciding whether to throw the Everton man in Arsenal clash while the midfielder prepares for a return of horrible ankle injury
Gomes suffered a horrible fracture on his ankle on November 3, but was made fit for Sunday's game at the Emirates game after completing 60 minutes of a behind-closed-doors friendly last weekend and training this week.
& # 39; Andre is available to play, & # 39; Ancelotti told a pre-match press conference. "He has trained well, well, with confidence, without problems and in my opinion he is ready to play.
" For the game we are going to talk together and decide if he can start the game or go on the couch. "
Asked if Gomes should recover both mentally and physically, Ancelotti added:" This is personal, really personal. It is really important for me to talk to him.
& # 39; What I saw during the training was full of confidence, without a problem, he was not afraid to have contact with teammates, but I think it is really important to talk to him. If he is confident, he can play without a problem in my opinion. & # 39;
Ancelotti admitted that during his long career he had not seen a faster recovery from such & # 39; n serious injury, and added: & # 39; But I think knowing the people here work in the medical world department I am not surprised. They did a fantastic job.
& # 39; I think the most important part was what they could do on the field when he sustained the injury. That was the most important part of his recovery. & # 39;
Everton scored 17 points from the eight Ancelotti games – a return that was only improved by close neighbors and runaway Premier League leaders Liverpool (24) in the same period – to score within five points of the Champions League places.
However, their European qualifications are now faced with a rigorous test with Sunday's game in Arsenal, followed by home games against Manchester United and Liverpool, with a trip to Chelsea in between.
We have to play against United, Chelsea and Liverpool. After these four games we can see what is going on in Europe.
& # 39; This is really an important game against a strong team away, but we must have faith to do our best and try to win.
& # 39; I know that Arsenal has improved a lot in recent times, they have more confidence, they play better so it will be difficult, but the spirit of the team is good and we have confidence. & # 39;
& # 39; It's as if Unai Wenger is doing things & # 39 ;: Arsenal legend Paul Merson hits Emery and claims & # 39; nothing has changed & # 39; in Emirates
- Unai Emery is in Arsenal's second season after replacing Arsene Wenger
- Club ended last season in Premier League and lost Europa League final
- He mentioned major problems in the midfield of Arsenal as an important concern for Emery
Former archer Paul Merson Emery has not made significant progress
Paul Merson has Arsenal beaten] boss Unai Emery for failing to make significant progress since leading the club in 2017.
Emery led the Gunners to fifth place and the Europa League final last season, and is in the same position after four games of the current Premier League season after a draw of 2-0 against rivals Tottenham in their last game.
Merson, who spent 12 years in the first Arsenal team, is still not convinced that the club is going in the right direction under the Spaniard, who succeeded Arsene Wenger as manager.
Merson told Sky Sports: & # 39; The North London derby was a great spectacle, a fair amount of love, and Arsenal would have taken a draw if they had scored two goals. But has anything changed at Arsenal? I do not think so.
& # 39; Arsenal was praised for not having collapsed in Liverpool the week before, credit where credit is due, but nothing has changed. It is as if Unai Wenger is arranging things right now.
& # 39; Every time Tottenham broke, they looked like they were going to score, Arsenal was so open. The problems in midfield were serious.
& # 39; You have Granit Xhaka who kicks people and gets booked.
& # 39; Yes, Matteo Guendouzi has found a great pass for the equalizer, but you cannot trust him or Lucas Torreira to consistently put the ball through the eye of a needle. & # 39;
Sweet moment Arsenal players invite a stunned young mascot to join their team photo when the other kids run out and he is left alone
- A confused young mascot is included in Arsenal & # 39; s team photo on Thursday
- The friendly gesture came that the young person was welcomed by the players
- Before the collision against Olympiacos, Mascots left the field
- And one mascot remained completely alone, but left a big smile on the faces of different stars
The bewildered youngster was invited to join the team for their pre-match photo, with a big smile on the faces of different stars.
And after taking the time to make the mascot's day, the men of Mikel Arteta then came from Greece with a zero benefit for the return to the Emirates.
The two teams took to the field for the kickoff, with each player holding hands with a mascot in front of it anthem of the competition.
But when both sets of players started performing the usual handshakes, most mascots left the field and left a young fan behind.
The Arsenal players then took action and asked the mascot to join in for some charming photos.
Gabriel Martinelli and Joe Willock sent the young man to them, and Matteo Gu endouzi indicated where the mascot should be.
Gary Lineker described the gesture as & # 39; beautiful & # 39 ;, where the Arsenal players rightly deserved much praise for their selfless action.
The late strike by Alexandre Lacazette gave Arsenal a slim advantage and a potentially crucial away goal in the Round of 32 draw – with the return match coming Thursday.
The outfit in North London was also secured a third consecutive clean sheet in another indication of improvement under boss Arteta, and next time Everton on Sunday afternoon.
Shkodran Mustafi sees a future in Arsenal after reviving his career under Mikel Arteta after a bad spell
- Shkodran Mustafi has fallen out of favor under former manager Unai Emery
- However, Arteta feedback the German with David Luiz in the middle
- Mustafi appeared against Olympiacos and hopes to keep Sunday
Shkodran Mustafi refused to rule out that he was still on Arsenal after the end of the season after rebuilding his relationship with the club's fan base after his recent revival.
After being told by previous boss Unai Emery that he could leave the club last summer and then be regularly left out, Mustafi has earned an opportunity to breathe new life into his Gunners career under Mikel Arteta.
The Germany international has endured a tense bond with Arsenal supporters since its large money movement from Valencia in 2016 and has often been mocked for its defensive ability.
But, besides David Luiz in the heart of the back four, Mustafi has played his role in three consecutive clean sheets – the first time that Arsenal enjoyed such a run in 10 months .
He was again strong in Thursday's 1-0 Europa League round of 32 victories in Olympiacos, as Alexandre Lacazette's goal lined up Arteta to advance to the next stage.
Speaking after the close victory in Piraeus, Mustafi – who has now started the last six Arsenal games – said he could now stay at the Emirates Stadium in the long run.
Asked if he saw his future in Arsenal, he answered: & # 39; Why not? I have always taken things from day to day.
& # 39; We had a match on Thursday, we have the next major match over the weekend and as long as I play for a club – no matter which – I now play for Arsenal and played for previous .
& # 39; I have always given everything until the last minute and when I decide or when the club and I decide that it goes ahead, I am happy to continue, if not, we must move forward. & # 39;
Often chosen as a scapegoat during recent Arsenal trials and tribulations, Mustafi & # 39; s recent form has been praised by supporters and the 27-year-old admits building bridges with fans has his return in made the team easier.
& # 39; It's always important to have a good relationship with the fans, but for me the most important thing was to be professional, & # 39; he added.
& # 39; To always be there for my teammates and for the club and of course if you play well, they appreciate your performance but it makes it easier if you have the fans behind you who support you, so I'm happy about that. & # 39;
Having a steady life away from the spotlights of the football field is something that Mustafi should also help him start his stuttering career in England.
You know, at the start of the season, I didn't get selected, the team didn't make it, it was hard, & # 39; he said.
& # 39; But I am a person who tries to see the positive things more than the negatives. I think that helped me a lot.
& # 39; My family around me – my children, my wife – because life is not just football. That is something that I kept remembering.
& # 39; Being in training every day, playing a lot of games, you get a lot of attention, but at the end of the day I am the father of two children and I also try to focus on this. I'm happy how things are going now.
& # 39; I am also happy for the team because it is going great and we are being rewarded for it. That is the most important. & # 39;
Arsenal's new boy Pablo Mari makes his best Ricky Martin impression with a rendition of his hit track & # 39; Maria & # 39; from 1995 while taking center stage for the initiation song
- Arsenal & # 39; s new signature Pablo Mari & # 39; Maria & # 39; by Ricky Martin sung for his initiation
- The defender played a decent performance on Instagram
- The Spaniard joined the Gunners of Brazilian side Flamengo in January
- Mari still has to appear before the first team while building his competitive fitness
Arsenal is new signature by Pablo Mari showed his best Ricky Martin impression for his initiation song after the Spaniard's move to North London last month.
The former Manchester City defender joined the Gunners during the January transfer on loan from the Brazilian side Flamengo. Although he traveled with the team for their recent Europa League band with Olympiacos, he still has to play for the higher side in building up his competitive fitness.
However, the 26-year-old has not only worked hard on the training field while working out his vocal cords for the song & # 39; Maria & # 39; from Ricky Martin from 1995.
Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang posted a video of the initiation of the Spaniard on his Instagram account.
Mari has even added some dance moves to his performance that have been treated with his new teammates who are laughing along.
Mari wore last week for the e there is an Arsenal shirt for the U23 party of Arsenal against Chel Zee in a 2-1 defeat in Premier League 2.
Gunners boss Mikel Arteta was impressed by the first appearances of the defenders for the club .
& # 39; When he came to the club, he had played a long time and he also had a little niggle when he came to us, & # 39; said Arteta.
& # 39; But his attitude and commitment is real, really good and very surprising. He did very well recently and hopefully we can start using it soon. & # 39;
Mikel Arteta says that Arsenal players must learn to enjoy & # 39; enjoy & # 39; defense, but reserves special praise for broad players for & # 39; tracking back & # 39; after Gunners record a clear record in 1-0 win over Olympiacos
- ] Mikel Arteta says he requires Arsenal players to get the ball back if they lose it
- Arteta praised its players for playing with a & # 39; big heart & # 39; after winning in Athens
- The Spaniard says the team is working hard to make & # 39; as compact as possible & # 39; to remain
Alexandre Lacazette goal nine minutes of time was enough to ensure a 1-0 win in Piraeus with Arsenal now in pole position to qualify for this 32-collision round .
While the France striker wasted a few other decent chances to really close the band, Arteta will once again be impressed by the defensive work of his players.
Not since the last Arsenal played three games in April without conceding a goal and, under previous coach Unai Emery, they were one of the most open sides in the Premier League as it went to give up chances for the opposition.
While Arteta started because replacing his countryman was not electric, clear steps were taken to improve a porous back line and the Spaniard was happy with their efforts again on a rainy night on the outskirts of Athens .
We tell them they should also enjoy the defense, he said.
& # 39; It's a big part of the game and just like tonight, if you give away simple balls, you'd better run back and get that ball back as quickly as possible.
& # 39; But they play with a big heart. I see a lot of great efforts that, instead of splitting it up, a team simply goes together very quickly.
& # 39; The broad players used to have different behavior, now they follow everyone.
& # 39; I think we are doing a lot of work to keep it as compact as possible in as many situations as possible if we don't have the ball and yes, we are happy with it because it is a large part & # 39;
While Lacazette continued a mini-revival – after he played nine goals without a goal before scoring off the bench in Sunday's 4-0 win over Newcastle – teenager Bukayo Saka was again heavily involved.
His cross for Lacazette's late finish was his fifth Europa League assist of the season, more than any other player in the league.
The 18-year-old is of course a winger but has made an impression after having filled the left back in recent weeks and Arteta was once again full of praise for the English youth international.
& # 39; Absolutely, I am really satisfied with the way he developed, & # 39; he added.
& # 39; I think he is really satisfied with the way he is dealing with this situation, because there are currently many highlights on him but he is really humble.
& # 39; He always asks questions, meets my assistants and wants to improve. He is a great boy and he is very brave.
& # 39; He makes big decisions in the last third, he doesn't hide and he has the vision and ability to perform in spaces that are really tight, what a great gift. & # 39;
Meanwhile, Olympiacos coach Pedro Martins refused to close his side because of the progress at the expense of Arsenal – with the second leg for Thursday at the Emirates Stadium.
& # 39; Nobody likes to give a goal in the last minutes, & # 39; he said.
& # 39; In general, we play well in a match with intensity. Football is all about effectiveness – we have not converted our chances, but our rivals have.
& # 39; But today was only the first half of the match. As far as I'm concerned, the competition in London is open.
& # 39; We have a good team, good players and I am confident that we can rise to the challenge. & # 39;
& # 39; Ryan Giggs, Dennis Bergkamp, Paul Scholes gave this type of passes, only major players do & # 39 ;: Robin van Persie hopes praise for Arsenal wonderkid Bukayo Saka after setting up winner for Alexandre Lacazette
- He put the winner with an inch-perfect cross in the box for Lacazette
- The 18-year-old left back has eight this season assists supplied
- Van Persie compared his assets with legends Giggs, Bergkamp and Scholes
The 18-year-old left back put the winner on with an inch -perfect cross in the box for Alexandre Lacazette on Thursday evening.
Saka delivered eight assists this season and Van Persie compared his assets with legends Ryan Giggs, Dennis Bergkamp and Paul Scholes.
& # 39; Ryan Giggs gave those passes, Dennis Bergkamp, Paul Scholes & # 39 ;, Van Persie said on BT Sp ort after the game.
"This is the same as instructing your striker to go to the danger zone. It is actually world class. Really really good.
"This is not easy. This is very good, world class. He makes it look easy, but this pass, as I said, only the big players can give those passes.
He continued: "He really takes his chance, and that is nice to see that a young child really takes his chance and plays for his future. "
And he is doing so well. It is so nice to see. "