Was There A Hidden Message Behind Our Team Selection by Dan Smith
Arteta said in his press conference when he briefly introduced himself to his new players he warned them about the standards he expects. At Everton he, in some ways, got a response, in other ways he didn’t.
While he explained he would be having a coffee with Ljungberg on Sunday, it’s not out of the realms of possibility that he had some input into the line-up.
Freddie will still be part of the coaching staff, so it’s not like he could have a free swing by playing the youngsters to make his own point.
Five academy graduates featured, 3 teenagers, 6 English players. It was like there was an effort to play as many individuals as possible who grew up understanding what it means to wear the badge, while also sending a message to some of the senior talent who have ben accused of getting too comfortable and not having the best attitude.
While publicly we might claim these choices were made due to injuries and fitness, some of the decisions makes that sceptical. The bench included a Lacazette, Guendouzi and Pepe so there were other options where we didn’t need to be so inexperienced.
Willock came on before anyone else, Pepe not at all and when Laca got on with 10 minuites to go it was a straight swap for Auba, while his youthful peers (the same ones he’s been berating) stayed on.
It will be fascinaiting to see if that trend carries on on Boxing Day.
Does this represent us ripping up the book and starting again?
If would be a huge gamble if it did but would also show the ruthless nature Arteta has promised…