Gunners Must Avoid Bayern Hangover
Match Preview – Arsenal vs Everton – Premier League – 24.10.15
After stating in my last preview that I didn’t want to get my hopes up Arsenal pulled out a superb performance to beat Bayern 2-0 and get my bloody hopes up!
What a performance that was and I feel truly blessed to have watched it in person, so thanks to @simeonp for that. Some pundits have tried to call it lucky but it was a tactical masterclass. We restricted Bayern, defended well and used their pressure against them with two sucker punches to take the points. I don’t think Bayern underestimated us either, they played a strong team and deployed tactics that have swept all other sides away this season.
Bayern Munich were on a great unbeaten run and hadn’t lost a single match before playing us. We cannot underestimate the confidence that will instil in the players.
However…. This match against Everton feels like going to work after getting completely smashed at a mate’s party. We had a great night out, we only planned to stay for one drink but things got interesting and we ended up dancing vigorously to Eric Prydz at 4am tanked up on Jägerbombs and pro plus. Now we have to go to work and do normal things surrounded by normal people who don’t have hangovers. How are we going to get through the day?
Everton are the normal day and we might have a massive Bayern hangover if that bacon sandwich and pint of Berocca doesn’t kick in soon. Everton will feel they have a point to prove after losing to Manchester United and our recent escapades may have sapped us of energy and the ability to make good decisions. It’s a worry but only a small one. Half the UK goes to work with a hangover at least once a week and the country hasn’t crumbled yet.
Sadly we are missing Aaron Ramsey and that is my big concern. It’s a huge opportunity for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain if he can apply himself properly and plays for the team rather than himself as Tim Stillman recently wrote.
I think Chamberlain is a fantastic player but I also find him erratic and far too eager to impress. The crowd loves him because he is exciting but I sometimes feel his fanboys don’t see the wood for the trees. Yes, he is exciting but it comes at the cost of basic defensive positioning and fundamental ball control. Far too often he tries to skip through two or three players in his own half only to lose the ball. It’s infuriating beyond explanation. He also has a tendency to throw away good attacking advantage with the wrong decision.
Theo Walcott was often accused of not having a footballing brain but statistically he has massively improved in the past 4 years and the years before that, when he was the same ages Ox has been whilst at Arsenal, his contribution was greater too. In short he was a more effective player then and has since improved. How anyone would think he should be dropped for Ox is beyond me.
That said I feel Ox’s problem is a combination of injury, lack of game time and confidence. His exciting play may look like confidence but I think he’s actually quite unsure of himself. Being in and out of the team doesn’t help so when he comes back in he does what Ramsey did a few years back and tries to impress. I’m certain he knows the crowd loves his explosive runs and take-ons so tries to do more of them which means he neglects a lot of other stuff.
This injury to Ramsey may give him the opportunity to play up to 10 games and possibly knowing he will get a decent run will calm him down and make him less eager to impress in the fear of being dropped. I believe Alex can be one of the best players at the club, he just needs to believe in himself and cut out the unnecessary flash-play.
I’m really looking forward to seeing Özil today. I feel he is coming into his own and is ready to prove his talent to the doubters and wider footballing world. Mesut is an incredibly hard working player who gets a lot of unfair stick for being lazy. His game is about more than just assists and anyone who loves football should love him. He is a truly special player who is majestic to watch. We’re lucky to have him.
Having looked tired for long stretches of the Watford game and then putting in the effort to help shackle Lewandowski and co Koscielny might benefit from starting on the bench today and being replaced by Gabriel to avoid being run into injury like Ramsey.
Alexis has been in great form recently but he too looks tired and Bayern wasn’t exactly his best game, largely owing to the extensive travel for Chile and playing against Watford as well. Selection is a tough one for this match but you have to feel that whomever Wenger picks will do the job.
Arsenal from; Cech, Macey, Bellerin, Chambers, Debuchy, Gabriel, Koscielny, Gibbs, Mertesacker, Monreal, Cazorla, Coquelin, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Özil, Ramsey, Campbell, Giroud, Alexis, Walcott
Cech, Bellerin, Mertesacker, Gabriel, Monreal, Coquelin, Cazorla, Özil, Alexis, Chamberlain, Walcott
I expect to see substitute appearances from Giroud, Gibbs and Campbell.
“If you tell him to do that he will do it for you. I think his talent is exceptional. His talent is fantastic. Sometimes I think he sacrifices himself for the team. He plays in the link between the low midfield and the striker. He is the vital part in that” – Arsène Wenger
Last 3 Meetings
- Arsenal 2-0 Everton (01.03.2015)
- Everton 2-2 Arsenal (23.08.2014)
- Everton 3-0 Arsenal (06.04.2014)
Arsenal Last 5
Everton Last 5
Romelu Lukaku has enjoyed a prolific start to the season, scoring seven times in 11 games in all competitions. Despite their up and down start to the season the 22-year-old Belgian’s goals have seen Everton climb to ninth place. Lukaku is now Lewandowski but he has more than enough in his locker to cause trouble for the Arsenal defenders, especially after a busy week. His weakness is his first touch so as long as the defenders are quick to him the pressure should be suitable enough to nullify him. Confining Everton to long shots and half-chances will completely take Lukaku out of the game.
Brendan Galloway has earned a first-team spot for the Toffees and whomever plays on the right in front of Bellerin will have to keep him busy. He is a good defender with great fighting spirit who loves to attack as well. He is fairly quick and possesses a decent cross.
Everton are likely to set up to frustrate Arsenal as they’ll want to avoid another heavy defeat. Arsenal would be best served by staying the course with their counter-attacking system.
- Everton are winless in their last 21 league and cup games away to Arsenal (D4, L17)
- The Gunners have not conceded a Premier League goal at home since the 2-0 defeat by West Ham on the opening day
- Everton have conceded just two away goals this season – the joint lowest total in the division
- Arsenal are two goals away from scoring their 900th Premier League home goal
- The Gunners have had 329 touches in the opposition penalty area – more than any other Premier League team this season
- The Toffees are unbeaten in their last five Premier League away games (W3, D2)
- Alexis Sanchez has netted 10 times in his last seven games for club and country
- Olivier Giroud has scored his last four goals for Arsenal as a substitute
- The handsome Frenchman has scored four goals in his last four league and cup games against Everton
- The Toffees have already kept three clean sheets in Premier League away games in 2015-16, compared to just two in the whole of last season.
2-0 to Arsenal. Theo and Giroud.
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