Baines inspired by Arsenal nightmare

It was the first game of the season. Arsenal had finished the 2008-09 campaign in fourth; Everton were fifth.

This would be a demonstration of who had made the most of their summer. Arsenal came to Goodison Park and won 6-1, inflicting Everton's heaviest home defeat since another Arsenal side won by the same margin in 1958.

"It was one of the lowest points of the season, but also such a strange feeling," said the Everton defender, Leighton Baines. "They kept picking us off on the break and everything they seemed to do resulted in a goal. I remember there being a feeling of disbelief in the dressing room afterwards – you just couldn't fathom how that had happened.

"The excitement builds through pre-season and then on day one we had the wind knocked right out of us. We crashed back to earth but we had a decent season against the rest of the top sides – especially at Goodison."

Everton's record against Arsenal under David Moyes is not abysmal but it just seems that way because the defeats have stood out like Rafael Benitez's priest on a mountain of sugar. In 2004, the newly-crowned Invincibles opened the defence of their last Premier League title with a 4-1 victory on Merseyside. They won the return in May 7-0 and it says something for the resilience of the team that Moyes constructed that in between Everton finished in a Champions League spot.

A familiar stuttering start to the campaign – only once under Moyes have Everton collected more than 10 points from their opening half a dozen fixtures – means the Champions League is probably already beyond them. The Europa League, with its journeys to European football's further shores, may not seem a great incentive but it is a goal that Baines and his team-mates pursue with a burning sense of desire.

"A realistic and cautious ambition is for us to aim for Europe," said Baines. "We have done it in the past and when everyone is fit we have a fantastic squad. On the flip side, we don't spend the same money as other clubs who are pushing to achieve the same thing.

"If we'd had just a slightly better start to the season that would have made a massive difference. We would have been just one win away from the top sides."

Yesterday Moyes and Arsène Wenger were wrestling with the same problem – how to keep footballers happy. Moyes has all but accepted that Steven Pienaar will leave Goodison when his contract expires in June, but he managed to keep Phil Jagielka from abandoning Everton's pre-season tour of Australia to join Arsenal.

Wenger was asked how he could keep forwards Marouane Chamakh, Robin van Persie, and Nicklas Bendtner content as the season hurtles towards its midpoint. "Have you ever seen a player on the bench who isn't frustrated? He doesn't exist. When you try to convince a player to be patient, you waste your time," Wenger replied when asked about Bendtner, who has threatened to quit the club if he is not given more games "fast".

Marouane Chamakh's eight goals this season seem the Dane's biggest obstacle, although Wenger confessed that he has had to warn him about his tendency to dive. "I spoke with him and said: 'Listen, in England you cannot tolerate that because the English people become very aggressive'."

Bendtner, who did not score in the 6-1 rout two Augusts ago and has not started a League game this season, would probably relish the chance to roll over in the box, although Wenger confessed he was unlikely to grant any request to leave. "I just repeat the theory of the train. It's what they call in Japan a Nozomi – it means you cannot get off the train because it is so fast."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
life
News
news

The party's potential nominations read like a high school race for student body president

Voices
A mother and her child
voices
Voices
The veterans Mark Hayward, Hugh Thompson and Sean Staines (back) with Grayson Perry (front left) and Evgeny Lebedev
charity appealMaverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Arts and Entertainment
Cold case: Aaron McCusker and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvReview: Sky Atlantic's ambitious new series Fortitude has begun with a feature-length special
Voices
Three people wearing masks depicting Ed Miliband, David Cameron and Nick Clegg
voicesPolitics is in the gutter – but there is an alternative, says Nigel Farage
News
i100
News
people
Sport
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho
footballI have never seen the point of lambasting the fourth official, writes Paul Scholes
Life and Style
Vote green: Benoit Berenger at The Duke of Cambridge in London's Islington
food + drinkBanishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turn over a new leaf
News
Joel Grey (left) poses next to a poster featuring his character in the film
peopleActor Joel Grey comes out at 82
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee