LONDON: Carlo Ancelotti and Mikel Arteta got a glimpse of the problems that lie ahead in their new jobs as they watched Everton and Arsenal share a dreadful 0-0 draw, while Southampton beat Aston Villa 3-1 in yesterday’s Premier League relegation showdown.
Former Napoli boss Ancelotti was confirmed as Everton’s new manager on the morning of the match, 24 hours after Arteta left his role as Manchester City assistant coach to take charge of Arsenal. Both bosses were in the Goodison Park stands with Duncan Ferguson and Freddie Ljungberg in temporary charge of Everton and Arsenal for the final time.
And the lack of confidence of two sides struggling at the wrong end of the table was obvious in a match completely devoid of quality. A point leaves Arsenal 11th and the Gunners have now won just once in their last 13 games in all competitions.
Everton move up to 15th, but are only four points clear of the relegation zone. Ferguson’s role in Everton’s impressive victory over Chelsea and draw at Manchester United in their last two league games was enough to ensure the Scot a role in Ancelotti’s backroom staff. “What a fantastic performance we put in. I couldn’t have asked for any more from them, they’ve been incredible for me,” Ferguson said.
On Ancelotti, Ferguson added: “A guy of that pedigree coming here, I can’t wait to start working under him.” Ljungberg, meanwhile, looks set to remain on the Gunners’ coaching staff and the Swede said: “I’ve been told by the club that they want me to stay. “I was very happy. We put a very young side on the pitch and gave them a chance.”
At Villa Park, Southampton climbed out of the relegation zone at the expense of Dean Smith’s struggling hosts, who have now lost their last four league games. Danny Ings struck for Southampton in the 21st minute, the in-form striker pouncing after Shane Long’s shot was saved to net his 12th goal of the season and his sixth in his last seven games. Jack Stephens’ doubled Southampton’s lead 10 minutes later with a header from James Ward-Prowse’s corner.
Ings wrapped up Southampton’s first win in three games when he punished Marvelous Nakamba’s poor defending in the 51st minute. Jack Grealish’s fine 75th minute strike was no consolation for Villa, who sit three points behind Southampton. Despite having two goals ruled out after VAR reviews, Sheffield United climbed to within one point of the top four as Oli McBurnie’s 23rd minute strike clinched a 1-0 win at Brighton.
Either side of McBurnie’s cool finish, John Egan and Jack O’Connell’s disallowed efforts gave fifth placed United a league-leading four goals over-turned by VAR this season. Wolves moved into sixth place as they fought back for a 2-1 win at second bottom Norwich.
Canaries midfielder Todd Cantwell opened the scoring in the 17th minute, but Romain Saiss equalised with a 60th minute header from Joao Moutinho’s cross. Mexico forward Raul Jimenez completed Wolves’ comeback in the 81st minute with a tap-in for his 16th goal of the season in all competitions.
Miguel Almiron bagged his first Premier League goal at the 27th attempt to seal Newcastle’s 1-0 win against Crystal Palace, before the Paraguayan earned a buzz-killing booking for taking off his shirt to celebrate the 83rd minute strike at St James’ Park. Jay Rodriguez’s 89th minute goal handed Burnley a 1-0 win with their first shot on target at Bournemouth. – AFP