Carlo Ancelotti’s eyebrow was raised in familiar fashion and Mikel Arteta was impassive throughout as the two new managers watched Everton and Arsenal play out this dismal draw.
It could have been fascination. It could have been concentration. It was probably boredom as the hugely successful Ancelotti and managerial rookie Arteta saw the full scale of the tasks they are taking on laid out before them in this goalless deadlock.
In the wider context there is excitement, especially here at Goodison Park where the confirmation of Ancelotti’s appointment an hour before kick-off created a real buzz among supporters elated that such a decorated figure as the three-time Champions League winner has succeeded Marco Silva.
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Everton made the most of their managerial coup, with Ancelotti’s presence only confirmed once his morning flight had left Italy, pulling up in Goodison Road to an ecstatic reception before emerging into the directors’ box for the obligatory selfies.
He was quickly joined by director of football Marcel Brands, who described the Italian as “the perfect appointment”.
There is genuine anticipation at Goodison Park at such a coup. It will be Monday when the serious work starts at Everton’s Finch Farm training headquarters.
Ancelotti has already studied videos of Everton’s recent games and went into the home dressing room after the final whistle to address his new players.
Caretaker manager Ferguson, who finished with five points from three league games against Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal, said: “He gave a fantastic speech. It was wonderful how he spoke to the players.”
In some ways, this was a difficult occasion for Ancelotti to make a serious early assessment of the squad at his disposal.
Everton looked leg-weary after three games in six days and even this line-up was disrupted by an early injury to former Arsenal midfield man Alex Iwobi.
Ancelotti remained typically inscrutable throughout as he sat between Everton owner Farhad Moshiri, who drove this appointment, and chairman Bill Kenwright but he will have noted a side short on creation and confidence, although it was clear a tough recent programme had taken its toll.