New Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti and Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta looked on from the stands at Goodison Park as their respective new sides played out a dour goalless draw on Saturday lunchtime.
Ancelotti was confirmed as Marco Silva’s replacement just before kick-off, meaning Duncan Ferguson and Freddie Ljungberg remained in caretaker charge of Everton and Arsenal for the last time.
However, there was little for the new men to get excited about, with Jordan Pickford’s smart reflex stop from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s close-range shot six minutes after half-time the closest either side came to scoring.
As a result, Everton move up to 15th in the Premier League ahead of the afternoon fixtures, while Arsenal – on the back of a first clean sheet in 15 matches – are up to ninth.
If the new bosses looking on from the stands were hoping for signs of encouragement from their respective new teams, then they will both have been disappointed with what they saw in a scrappy and largely disjointed first half.
Neither goalkeeper was forced into action before the break, with Gabriel Martinelli’s effort just before half-time the visitors’ first shot of the game; Arsenal’s longest wait for a first attempt in a Premier League game since May 2015.
However, if those watching in the ground and on TV thought the second period could not be as insipid as the first, they were mistaken with both teams again struggling to string more than a few passes together after the interval.
Arsenal nearly broke the deadlock after 51 minutes from a left-wing corner, as Calum Chambers’s near-post flick on found Aubameyang unmarked at the back post.
However, Pickford was agile enough to keep out Aubameyang’s volley, with the only other notable incidents being a VAR penalty check when Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s goalbound shot struck Lucas Torreira’s hand.
Then for the second match in a row, Ferguson opted to replace his substitute Cenk Tosun with Moise Kean, much to the forward’s obvious disgust as he marched straight past the Scot and down the tunnel.