Arsenal host Everton in the Premier League as the Gunners look to put behind a disappointing result away to Swansea and get back on track for a top-four finish.
Arsenal welcome Everton in a crunch Premier League clash on the back of a moderately successful January transfer window. The Gunners are not in the best of form as the recent defeat away to Swansea suggests but in Everton they face an opponent they have had plenty of success against in the Premier League.
Arsenal are unbeaten in 23 home games against Everton, while their last defeat coming in 1996 at Highbury. Arsenal have had a hectic few days reaching the end of January, with transfer dealings taking the front seat as well their loss of form after Swansea punished them with a clinical performance.
Arsenal signed two high profile players in Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in the January window, with the latter becoming their record signing after completing a 56 million deal from Borussia Dortmund on deadline day.
Mkhitaryan did come on from the bench against Swansea to play his first minutes for the Gunners, but Arsenal may have to wait a bit longer for Aubameyang to make his much-anticipated debut. The Gabonese is suffering from illness and could miss the Everton game.
Mkhitaryan, however, is set to be included in the starting line up as Arsene Wenger suggested in his pre-match press conference, he said, “Certainly Mkhitaryan will start. That’s a possibility, yes. Aubameyang, I have to assess how well he feels.”
Everton, on the other hand, ended their 7-game winless run in midweek after winning against Leicester, courtesy of two goals from former Arsenal man, Theo Walcott. Everton, who themselves have had a decent January market after signing Walcott and striker Cenk Tosun, both of whom are expected to start against Arsenal.
Team News & Tactics
Arsenal still have a few injuries to their squad to contend with going into the Everton game. Despite the return of several key players as well the departures of a few in January, Arsene Wenger will be tinkering with his team set up.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan is in line for his first start, and one can expect the Armenian to slot into the right side of attack alongside Ozil and Iwobi in the Arsenal attack. Fellow new signing Aubameyang could miss the clash as he suffers from an illness.
Jack Wilshere has a similar illness which saw him miss the Swansea clash, but is set to undergo a late test and has a chance of featuring against Everton. Danny Welbeck is still sort of fitness and will certainly miss the game as will Santi Cazorla, who is still recovering from his surgery.
Arsenal will have a shortage of strikers from the bench after Olivier Giroud joined Chelsea on deadline day, as well due to the unavailability of Welbeck and Aubameyang.
Arsene Wenger will likely retain a four-man defence at the back. Expect Lacazette to start as their lone striker against Everton.
Probable Starting Lineup (4-2-3-1) – Cech; Bellerin, Koscielny, Mustafi, Monreal; Xhaka, Ramsey; Mkhitaryan, Iwobi, Ozil; Lacazette
Team News & Tactics
Everton had Theo Walcott to thank after his double sunk Leicester in midweek, and the English winger is set to start against his former side. Everton will also likely make some changes to the team from midweek.
Seamus Coleman was back after 319 days, since his double leg break while on international duty with Ireland. Sam Allardyce is likely to rest the Irishman having come back from fitness. However, James McCarthy is set to be sidelined for a long time after recently suffering a double leg break of his own against West Brom.
New signing, Eliquim Mangala could also be involved against Arsenal as the defender has been fit and training well. Everton are likely to keep the same lineup that beat Leicester, changing just a couple of players.
Cenk Tosun, another of Everton’s January recruits is also set to start, and fans will be hoping he could show his talent in a match of this size after his big move from Turkey.
Potential lineup (4-2-3-1) – Pickford; Coleman, Jagielka, Keane, Mangala; Davies, Gueye; Walcott; Rooney, Sigurdsson; Niasse
- Arsenal are unbeaten in 23 home matches against Everton in all competitions (W19 D4) since a 2-1 Premier League defeat in January 1996 under Bruce Rioch.
- Everton have played more Premier League matches at the Emirates without winning (11 – W0 D4 L7) than any other club.
- Arsenal have never lost a Premier League game at the Emirates in February (P21 W17 D4 L0), with their last home defeat coming against West Ham at Highbury in February 2006.
- Arsenal have made the most errors leading to goals in Europe’s big five leagues this season (11).
- It will be Sam Allardyce’s 500th Premier League game in charge, making him only the 5th manager in the Premier League to manage as many games.
1. Arsenal Clean Sheet – NO @ 1.95
2. Over 2.5 Match Goals @ 1.57
3. Over 3.5 Match Cards @ 1.83
1. Over 4.5 Match Goals @ 4.00
2. Theo Walcott to score anytime @ 5.00
Player to watch
Having only recently signed a new contract with Arsenal on deadline day, ending months of speculation around his future at Arsenal, Mesut Ozil will be a threat for the Everton defence.
In the corresponding fixture at Goodison Park, Mesut Ozil was on fire, scoring a goal and assisting one in a thumping 5-2 victory for Arsenal. The new contract, as well the new arrivals will boost the Arsenal side very much, and Ozil is set to be at the heart of all Arsenal attacks.
Add to it the terrific record Arsenal has against Everton and we can expect Mesut Ozil to show his magic again for the Gunners.
Arsenal 3-2 Everton
Arsenal have the attacking firepower to overcome the current Everton side. Everton, despite their new signings in the attack, will find it difficult to record a victory, especially at the Emirates. Given their away form against Arsenal, it is difficult to envision an Everton victory at Arsenal.
Arsenal, however, are not watertight in defence and expect the Gunners’ back line to concede a few. But the flaws in defence are overshadowed by the quality of attack or so will Arsenal want to prove to their doubters.
Arsene Wenger very well knows a thing or two about beating Everton in the Premier League and will undoubtedly be looking to extend his impressive record against the Toffees when the teams clash at the Emirates.