Arsenal win ‘could be turning point’ for ‘talented’ Everton
Everton defender James Tarkowski believes Saturday’s shock win over Arsenal could be the spark they’ve been looking for in the Premier League relegation battle.
The two-time England international headed home the only goal of the game as the Toffees beat the league leaders at Goodison Park – their first victory in any competition since October 22 – in Sean Dyche’s first match in charge.
It was a much-needed boost for Everton, who remain in the bottom three despite the victory, but can now start looking up the table and planning their route to safety.
“What an atmosphere. It’s been a few months since it felt like this. Fair play to the fans, it’s been tough times, a change in management and we’ll all have to buy into it straight away. I think you can see the way we performed today, excellent,” Tarkowski told BT Sport immediately after the final whistle at Goodison Park.
He added: “But we have to continue that. It has been tough for all of us, all our fans and the staff in the club, but hopefully this is the turning point in this season because there’s a lot of talent in there, we get our heads on and crack on, onto next week.”
Arguably the biggest standout in Everton’s performance was their tenacity without the ball and willingness to put in the hard yards and fight for every loose ball.
The Toffees have shown plenty of ability on the ball this season despite lacking cutting edge in the final third. But once possession has broken down or the opposition takes control of the game, their weak underbelly has been exposed time and again.
But on Saturday, Everton never gave Arsenal a second and outfought them in every department, coming out on top in a number of key metrics including tackles, interceptions, clearances and aerial duels won.
It was exactly the sort of fight and desire Evertonians have been craving and the minimum expectation of the team under Dyche.
From Tarkowski to winger and former Burnley teammate Dwight McNeil, every single player in royal blue showed up in the manner it’s going to take to keep Everton in the Premier League.
“I think that’s the thing we’ve lacked this season. We’ve not lacked technical ability, we’ve just lacked that little bit of grit at times and that’s what the fans want to see,” said Tarkowski.
“We’ve got to show it every week, and today we did and put in a great performance against the best team in the league currently. Pleased, and I thought this lad [McNeil] was terrific, he’s come in, been in and out the team, but we’ve seen what he’s all about.”
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Tottenham director Fabio Paratici banned from football worldwide by FIFA
Tottenham managing director of football Fabio Paratici has been banned from football worldwide after FIFA extended the punishment imposed in Italy following his involvement in Juventus’ penalised accounting practices.
In January, the Italian giants suffered a shock 15-point deduction after the club was deemed to have inflated player transfer values in swap deals among other financial offences.
Paratici joined the Juventus hierarchy in 2010 and was the club’s sporting director between November 2018 and the summer of 2021, before he took up a similar role at Tottenham. The investigation into Juve’s accounts scrutinised transactions between 2019 and 2021 – when Paratici was at the heart of the club’s dealings.
At the start of the year, Paratici was one of several former Juventus board members that were banned from football following the conclusion of the investigation by the Italian Football Federation. Initially, Paratici was handed a 30-month ban from just Italian football, although the threat of extending the scope of that punishment internationally always loomed.
On Wednesday, FIFA released a statement confirming that they had indeed taken up that option, extending the ban handed out to Paratici and the other Juventus board members – including former owner Andrea Agnelli – worldwide.
The statement read: “FIFA can confirm that following a request by the Italian FA (FIGC), the chairperson of FIFA disciplinary committee has decided to extend the sanctions imposed by FIGC on several football officials to have worldwide effect.”
Paratici was due to be in court this week for a a preliminary committal hearing regarding a portion of the charges levelled at Juve, but the date for those proceedings have been shunted back to 10 May. Juve appealed their 15-point penalty – which the prosecution only recommended as a nine-point punishment – and will hear the ruling of which on 19 April.
On this edition of Talking Transfers, part of the 90min podcast network, Scott Saunders, Graeme Bailey & Toby Cudworth discuss Julian Nagelsmann’s future and links to the vacant Tottenham head coach role, Barcelona’s ambition to bring Lionel Messi ‘home’, Brighton teenager Evan Ferguson, Florian Wirtz, Kalvin Phillips and more!
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Sir Alex Ferguson & Arsene Wenger inducted into Premier League Hall of Fame
Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger have become the first managers to be inducted into the Premier League Hall of Fame.
The duo won 16 Premier League titles between them across respective long-term spells with Manchester United and Arsenal.
With 13 of those championships, Ferguson is the most decorated manager in the history of the competition. He is the only coach to have won the Premier League three times in a row, doing so on two different occasions.
Ferguson said: “I’m truly delighted to be inducted into the Premier League Hall of Fame. It’s an honour when you receive recognition like this. However, it’s not just about me as a person. It’s about the job at Manchester United and the bond we had over many years, so I’m also proud for the club, the staff and my players.
“My job was to send the fans home happy. United’s history and my own expectations were the things that drove me, and I then had to try and develop all my players with the same expectations and make sure we could go out and achieve them.
“I feel Arsene is a very worthy inductee as he transformed Arsenal Football Club fantastically. They became a tough team to compete with and we both wanted to win, which motivated us further. Through the years since retirement, we’d go for dinner together in a little restaurant he knows well in Switzerland. He is a really interesting man and I enjoy his company, but it is still my job to pick the wine!”
Wenger arrived in England in 1996 as one of the Premier League’s first foreign coaches, and quickly proved sceptics wrong, transforming Arsenal into title winners and changing English football’s culture with his scouting and dietary expertise.
The Frenchman won three Premier League titles with Arsenal, including an unbeaten ‘Invincibles’ season in 2003/04.
Wenger said: “I am very grateful to have been selected for the Premier League Hall of Fame. We always wanted to give something special to the fans and when you have players capable of remarkable things, the most important thing for me is the obligation of perfection.
“I’d like to be known as someone who loved Arsenal, who respected the values of the club and left it in a position where it can grow and become even bigger.
“To share this with Sir Alex is a great honour for me. It’s like two boxers, you fight like mad and go the distance together. At the end of the day, you have respect and it will be a great opportunity to meet with him, share a good bottle of wine and memories of our old battles.”
In addition to Ferguson and Wenger, there are 16 other inductees in the Premier League Hall of Fame.
Alan Shearer and Thierry Henry were the first two people inducted when the Hall of Fame was created in 2021. They were followed later that year by Eric Cantona, Roy Keane, Frank Lampard, Dennis Bergkamp, Steven Gerrard and David Beckham.
In 2022, Wayne Rooney, Patrick Vieira, Sergio Aguero, Didier Drogba, Vincent Kompany, Peter Schmeichel, Paul Scholes and Ian Wright were inducted.
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