TWO new gaffers, same old dross – and further proof of the job in hand for Carlo Ancelotti and Mike Arteta.
Both bosses officially start work today, after Ancelotti’s appointment as Everton chief came 24 hours after Arteta was named Arsenal manager.
And those announcements were about the only excitement in town as far as these two stumbling giants are concerned, because there was precious little to be found on the pitch.
Ancelotti and Arteta watched their new charges from the Goodison directors box. Their biggest struggle was staying awake.
And that, in a nutshell, sums up the size of the task facing them on Merseyside and North London. Let’s just say to-do lists don’t come much longer.
At its best it rose to slightly below average. At its worst it was a great advert for braving the crowds and doing a spot of late Christmas shopping.
The first half was as dismal and dire as anything the Premier League has thrown up all season.
Talking of throwing up, Everton striker Richarlison did just that in the middle of the pitch at one stage. He wasn’t the only one sick at the lack of entertainment.
Gylfi Sigurdsson’s whipped free kick, which flew a yard or so wide, was the Toffees’ only pulse-raising moment in a shocking first half.
As for the Gunners? They had to wait until a minute before the break for any sort of attacking raid – a slashed Gabriel Martinelli effort that ended near the back of the stand.
At least it sparked them into something a little better – they couldn’t get much worse, to be honest – and even managed a shot on target soon after.
That came when Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang arrived at the far post to meet Calum Chambers’ flick on, but Pickford pawed it over the top.
Everton’s close call was, fittingly, a slapstick moment when Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s drive was blocked by a flying Lucas Torreira and then cannoned behind off Chambers’ shins.
Safe to say things can only get better. For all concerned.