With Everton in dire need of organisation both on and off the pitch, Dyche brings with him familiar staff from his decade long tenure at Burnley. Ian Woan, Steve Stone and Mark Howard have all taken up positions to work under Dyche for The Toffees.
Dyche was handed a baptism of fire for his first match with the struggling Blues as they welcomed high flyers Arsenal, who hadn’t lost a league match since 4th September 2022. However, Everton had not been beaten by Arsenal at Goodison Park since 2017, so a slither of hope remained.
As kick off approached on matchday, the build-up was overshadowed by the peaceful demonstrations orchestrated by the disgruntled Goodison faithful. After years of board level mismanagement, thousands of fans marched to the stadium with a variety of banners and chants, illustrating their discontent towards the board. But this did not hamper the atmosphere inside the ground.
When "Z-Cars" rang throughout the ground, Everton’s new man in charge was serenaded with a passionate welcome by the Evertonians, the match began as they faced a gargantuan task against the league leaders.
The match started in a predictable manner with Arsenal having the majority of the possession, but Everton defended in an organised unit and were eventually able to grow into the game.
The Gunners came close to scoring half an hour in as Eddie Nketiah blasted a shot over the bar from short range, but a sturdy Everton went closest in the first half with Dominic Calvert-Lewin ending up inches away from an Amadou Onana square pass.
The half came to a close with both teams locked together at 0-0.
The second half commenced with the same energy Everton found in the back end of the first. In consequence they became more vulnerable to Arsenal’s attacking threat as Martin Odegaard fired over from the centre of the box.
The league leaders continued to push with Mikel Arteta opting to make two attacking changes, Leandro Trossard replaced Gabriel Martinelli to freshen output on the left wing, and Jorghino was handed his debut in the hope his playmaking ability could break the stubborn defence.
Seconds following the Gunners' first changes of the match, Everton were handed their first corner of the half and the Gwladys Street Stand rose in anticipation.
Dwight McNeil swung the ball into the back post and James Tarkowski bulldozed his way to head the ball in and score his first goal for the Blues, and most importantly give them the lead.
With Goodison now bouncing, Arsenal were playing in a bear pit of raw emotion and passion, thus making their task even more difficult.
As the half progressed, Everton further retreated and opted to settle on their one goal lead. Leandro Trossard managed to muster a shot on goal that was quickly parried away by Jordan Pickford, however apart from that it seemed like it was going to be a day to forget for the North London title challengers.
The introduction of Neal Maupay from the bench was an effective tactic by Dyche, his ability to break up the play by winning fouls as well as committing them ensured Everton could eat up invaluable seconds in their hunt for three points.
The clock reached 97 minutes and David Coote signalled the end of the match. Everton had done the near impossible, their first win since October and they were temporarily lifted to outside of the relegation zone.
Although many would believe that this was a ‘snatch and grab’ by The Toffees, it was simply a performance of intelligence and discipline, infused with the raucous Goodison atmosphere.
Their back four remained tight and the powerful bursts emitting from their midfield trio of Idrissa Gueye, Abdoulaye Doucoure and Amadou Onana, culminated in a professional and energetic performance from Everton.