Arsenal will be looking to make it three wins in three games in all competitions when they play hosts to Everton in the Premier League this weekend.
Arsenal will be aiming to close the gap to the top six in the Premier League table when they lock horns with Everton at the Emirates Stadium in matchweek 27 on Sunday evening.
Arsenal currently find themselves in the eleventh position in the table, with 34 points from 26 matches. Mikel Arteta’s men come into the game in good rhythm, having notched up back to back wins against Newcastle United and Olympiacos (Europa League). The Gunners are six points below sixth-placed Sheffield United and will be hoping to cut down that gap this weekend with a win.
Everton are a place and two points above Arsenal in the Premier League standings and will be keen on continuing on their resurgent ways under new boss Carlo Ancelotti. The Toffees have not lost even once in their last five league matches, with their most recent game ending in a 3-1 victory over Crystal Palace. And they will be aiming to come away with all three points from the Emirates this week.
The reverse fixture played at Goodison Park played in December – which was the last game before Arteta and Ancelotti took over at Arsenal and Everton respectively, ended in a goalless draw. And ahead of their latest meeting this weekend, we at The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at both the teams.
Team News & Tactics
Arsenal will be boosted by the return of Lucas Torreira and Mesut Ozil, both of whom missed the midweek clash against Olympiacos due to illness and personal reasons respectively. However, Sokratis is a major doubt heading into the game after picking up a knee injury in midweek.
Hector Bellerin was dropped for the Europa League encounter as a precaution due to a groin problem and will be assessed ahead of the game. Calum Chambers, Kieran Tierney and Cedric remain sidelined for the hosts.
There will be a few changes made to the lineup that started in midweek, with Bellerin likely to be reinstated at right-back. Shkodran Mustafi, who has enjoyed a resurgence under Arteta, will continue to partner David Luiz at the heart of the Arsenal defence. January signing Pablo Mari will have to wait for his debut. Bukayo Saka should continue at left-back given the form that he is in.
Former Arsenal captain Granit Xhaka is a guaranteed starter in the middle of the park. He is likely to be partnered by on-loan midfielder Dani Ceballos, who seems to have worked his way back into Arteta’s plans. The returning Ozil should replace Joe Willock in the No. 10 slot against Everton.
Captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is a guaranteed starter on the left flank, while Nicolas Pepe should return to the lineup on the right side, after starting on the bench against Olympiacos. Alexandre Lacazette, who has scored two in two games now, will spearhead the Arsenal attack on Sunday.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Leno; Bellerin, Mustafi, Luiz, Saka; Ceballos, Xhaka; Pepe, Ozil, Aubameyang; Lacazette
The big news for Everton heading into the game is that former Barcelona midfielder Andre Gomes is back in training and ready to return to action. However, the visitors are likely to be without the services of former Arsenal star Theo Walcott, who is working his way back from a knee problem. Fabian Delph is back after serving a suspension, but Jean-Philippe Gbamin remains out.
Ancelotti has stuck with the 4-4-2 formation since taking over the reins and is expected to continue with the same setup on Sunday. Jordan Pickford is the obvious pick in goal for Everton while Seamus Coleman and Lucas Digne are certain starters in the full-back slots. Michael Keane and Yerry Mina should continue as the two centre-backs ahead of Mason Holgate.
Djibril Sidibe is likely to slot in on the right-side of the midfield four and look to provide additional protection against the onrushing Bukayo Saka. On the opposite flank, Brazilian midfielder Bernard is expected to start with former Arsenal star Alex Iwobi on the bench. Gylfi Sigurdsson and Morgan Schneiderlin will man the centre of the park, with Gomes likely to play some part from the bench.
Upfront, there is no looking past the dangerous duo of Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin, while Moise Kean provides an additional option to the manager from the bench.
Probable Lineup (4-4-2): Pickford; Coleman, Keane, Mina, Digne; Sidibe, Schneiderlin, Sigurdsson, Bernard; Richarlison, Calvert-Lewin
- Arsenal are unbeaten in their last 23 home Premier League games against Everton (W19 D4) since a 2-1 defeat in January 1996 at Highbury under Bruce Rioch.
- Everton have kept clean sheets in their last two league games against Arsenal, both at Goodison Park, last keeping three in a row back in March 1913 (four in a row). The Toffees have, however, kept just one clean sheet in their last 32 away league games at Arsenal.
- Arsenal have scored 327 top-flight goals against Everton – more than any other opponent has scored against another in English top-flight history. The Gunners have also won more top-flight games against Everton than any side has against another (97).
- Everton’s 23-game away winless run against Arsenal is their third longest run in their top-flight history against an opponent, after an ongoing 24-game run against Chelsea and 35-game run against Leeds United between 1946 and 2001.
- Arsenal are unbeaten in six Premier League games (W2 D4), though haven’t won consecutive games in the competition since a run of three in August 2019. The Gunners are also looking to keep three consecutive league clean sheets for the first time since November 2017.
Player to Watch
After a slow start to life at Arsenal following his big money move in the summer, the Ivorian speedster has burst into life in recent weeks. Nicolas Pepe has now scored six goals and set up seven more in 29 matches across all competitions for the Gunners.
Last time out against Newcastle United, Pepe played a vital role in Arsenal’s 4-0 win, contributing with one goal and two assists – as many direct goal involvements as the Ivorian had managed in his previous 13 Premier League appearances (2 goals, 1 assists). With wind in his sails, the 24-year-old will once again be key to Arsenal’s chances of grabbing a win against Everton.
Arsenal 2-1 Everton
Things have certainly improved quite a bit for both Arsenal and Everton since the two teams last met. Under Arteta, the Gunners have shown significant improvement in their defensive organization, having now kept three consecutive clean sheets in all competitions, while their quality in attack has been heightened by Alexandre Lacazette’s return to goal-scoring form.
From being relegation contenders to stand a chance of finishing in the top six, Everton too have turned things around under Ancelotti. In Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison they possess a deadly attacking duo that is bound to cause problems for the Arsenal defence. However, the Toffees haven’t been all too secure at the back, managing just two shut-outs in their last nine games.
Unlike their previous meeting, there will be goals on Sunday. However, given Everton’s poor record away from home against Arsenal and their problems at the back, we at The Hard Tackle are predicting a victory for the Gunners this weekend.