Neal Maupay channelling his inner-Suarez to rattle Arsenal was elite sh*thousery

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Neal Maupay celebrates scoring for Everton during their Premier League victory over West Ham United at Goodison Park, Liverpool, September 2022.

Like two bitter exes, it’s safe to say that Neal Maupay and Arsenal have previous. 

Back in June 2020, Maupay infamously made Matteo Guendouzi throw the equivalent of a Toys ‘R’ Us warehouse out of his pram during a 2-1 defeat at Brighton. An embarrassed Mikel Arteta ensured Guendouzi never played for the Gunners again.

Now, in the dregs of winter, Maupay channelled his inner Luis Suarez to rile Arsenal once more and help Everton cling on to a potentially transformative victory over the current Premier League leaders.

Whilst Maupay has scored just once since moving from Brighton last summer, the striker was a constant thorn in Arsenal’s sides at Goodison Park. Some witnesses even reported seeing the usually unflappable William Saliba mopping sweat from his brow.

But it was Oleksandr Zinchenko who left the front door to his subconscious open and allowed Maupay to stroll in and squat rent-free inside it.

With Zinchenko frantically trying to get the ball upfield in injury time, Maupay scuttled over and used all his consummate experience of being a bastard to drag Zinchenko down to his level.

A scuffle ensued. A gloriously time-wasting scuffle for the baying Evertonians inside Goodison. Maupay stayed lying on the turf, grinning about the chaos he’d caused.

But the sheer magnificence of the incident only revealed itself via a replay; Maupay had waited until he could feel Zinchenko’s breath on his face before hauling both of them to the floor.

As the Ukraine international wagged a haughty finger in his opponent’s mug, television viewers realised that he’d been suckered by the unrepentant Maupay.

Goodison was Maupay’s playground and Zinchenko had allowed himself to be outwitted by moves not seen outside of the school playground for years. Marvellous.

As he was leaving Goodison Park, Maupay stopped for an interview with Rio Ferdinand and the former Manchester United defender congratulated him for derailing Arsenal’s title charge.

“No, no,” the striker said on BT Sport, “It was a good win, I’m happy. It’s hard to say [what’s changed] because I liked Frank and had a good time with him.

“I think Sean Dyche brings something different. The intensity [is there] when a new manager comes in everyone wants to show they’re ready so we had to fight today.

“The whole week was physically tough, that first training session everyone was running and pressing every day so that’s what we did.

“The quality is there in the team but sometimes you need more than that. You need heart, you need to run. That’s a good start but there are lots of games to go.”

As Maupay walked off following the interview, Ferdinand couldn’t help but laugh at Arsenal’s expense, saying: “Maupay has had Arsenal a couple of times. He has though, I’m not joking.

“He’s ruffled your feathers a few times. He has had you up! Today Zinchenko, all flustered. Last time against Arsenal against Brighton he had it out with Guendouzi.”

As the Everton faithful rushed to toast a rare victory, Maupay could feel a sense of self-satisfaction at a job completed with expertise. Never mind goals, Maupay’s real skill is channelling his inner Suarez and driving opponents to distraction.

By Michael Lee


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