LIVERPOOL, England (Reuters) - Everton were held to a 0-0 home draw by Arsenal on Saturday in a dull Premier League clash, which took a back seat to both clubs naming new managers in a bid to revive their fortunes.
Carlo Ancelotti, named as the new Everton manager barely an hour before the kickoff, got a first glimpse of the Toffees from the directors’ box as did Arsenal’s new head coach Mikel Arteta who was appointed by the Gunners on Friday.
The result provisionally lifted Everton up one place to 15th on 19 points from 18 games, while Arsenal also moved up one place to ninth on 23 points.
A battle of outgoing caretakers - Everton’s Duncan Ferguson and Arsenal’s Freddie Ljungberg - failed to produce any fireworks and suggested their successors face a demanding task to rebuild their respective clubs.
Former Everton striker Ferguson, who oversaw a 3-1 win over Chelsea coupled with draws against Manchester United and Arsenal, acknowledged he would join Ancelotti’s backroom staff a happy man.
“We wanted three points but what a fantastic performance from us,” Ferguson told BT Sport.
“I couldn’t have asked anymore from the players - they’ve been fantastic for me.
“It was a bit scrappy and we were a bit leggy after (the League Cup defeat by Leicester City on) Wednesday but we fought it out and we got a point and a clean sheet.”
Everton dictated proceedings in the first half as Gylfi Sigurdsson hit the side-netting from a free kick and striker Cenk Tosun could not get any direction on a sharp low cross by Tom Davies.
Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford produced a superb reflex save to deny Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from close range shortly after the break before an almighty goalmouth scramble nearly resulted in an own goal at the other end.
Neither side could find a breakthrough in the closing stages with Arsenal packing their defence to deal with a flurry of Everton crosses into their penalty area.
Ljungberg said he was still uncertain whether he would remain at Arsenal as part of Arteta’s staff.
“I’ve been told by the club they want me to stay but I will have a meeting with Mikel tomorrow and hopefully it’s a good one,” said the Swede.
“I wanted to see people that would run and fight for the team. We can’t rely on our name - we have to fight and do the dirty things. We had a very young side out there because I wanted energy and I wanted to give them chances.”
Writing by Zoran Milosavljevic; Editing by Toby Davis
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