Ox, Theo and Alexis’ pace will be too much for Everton
Match Preview: Everton vs. Arsenal – Premier League – 13.12.2016
There’s something different about this Arsenal team. The Gunners seem to be thriving on a diet of pressure and expectation which is a welcome change from previous seasons. Of course, there are more pressing times to come but nothing I’ve seen this season suggests Arsenal will let themselves down. That is not to say they cannot be beaten but I believe even in the face of defeat they will have acquitted themselves well.
Tonight is another chance to keep the momentum going and I’m a touch concerned by my confidence. Everton looked poor at the weekend and Arsenal are scoring goals for fun at the moment. Wenger’s team is on a 14-game unbeaten run in the league. Goodison Park is never an easy ground to visit but The Gunners haven’t lost an away game in any competition since March and that was at the Camp Nou!
Losing Mustafi makes thing a little tougher but the timing of Bellerin’s return is most fortuitous and Gabriel is looking much more assured. The preferred midfield partnership at the moment is Xhaka and Coquelin with offers great balance between protecting the defence and moving the ball swiftly to our attacking players.
Alexis is in fine form, as is Theo Walcott, and their pace will cause a lot of problems for a slow Everton central defence – especially with Mesut and Granit playing fast, accurate balls behind the Toffees’ defence to run on to. Everton are not without attacking talent, with their fullbacks being particularly potent on their day. Theo should keep Leighton Baines busy enough to nullify his wide threat and you have to trust whomever starts out of Oxlade-Chamberlain and Iwobi to do the same with Coleman.
Ian Wright said on MoTD that Ox deserves a run in the team and a full 90-minutes and I fully agree. If the fitness is there I’d like to see him start and stay on for the whole match. Alex looks as though he is following Theo’s example and showing us why the crowd craved his introduction when we first bought him to the club. If he plays tonight I believe he’ll be influential.
Everton should not be underestimated but if we play with the same intensity we’ve shown in almost every match this season it could be a routine game.
Cech; Bellerin, Gabriel, Koscielny, Monreal; Xhaka, Coquelin; Özil, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Walcott; Alexis
I expect to see substitute appearances from Giroud, Elneny and Iwobi.
“I don’t expect any weakness from our opponents. I’m more focused on our process, on our performance.” – Arsène Wenger
Last 3 Meetings
- Everton 0-2 Arsenal (19.03.2016)
- Arsenal 2-1 Everton (24.10.2015)
- Arsenal 2-0 Everton (01.03.2015)
November is notoriously a difficult month for Arsenal and that’s a pain Everton understand fully this season. The Toffees picked up just one point in November and haven’t won a game since beating West Ham on the 30th October. We’re it not for Everton’s strong start to the season their situation would be looking pretty dire.
Everton haven’t lost a home game since March but Arsenal were the last team to take all three points away from Goodison Park. Koeman could welcome back Ross Barkley tonight but the real danger man is Romelu Lukaku. The ex-Chelsea player has a little bit of everything – pace, power, technique, finishing – and on his day he can be unplayable. Arsenal’s fullbacks will need to be alert to their Everton counterparts on the overlap whipping in crossings from Lukaku to attack in the air.
- Everton’s only win over Arsenal in the last 18 Premier League meetings was by 3-0 at home in April 2014.
- The Gunners have more wins over Everton than any other Premier League side – victory tonight would be their 30th over the Toffees in the league.
- Everton won four of their first five league games but have only earned one victory in 10 subsequent matches.
- Arsenal have the division’s only unbeaten away record this season and have gone 12 games without defeat on the road since March.
- The Toffees are unbeaten in 10 league games at Goodison Park since April.
- Wenger’s team could remain unbeaten in 15 consecutive Premier League games for the first time since a 16-match run from December 2010 to April 2011.
- Ronald Koeman’s side have kept just one clean sheet in their last 11 Premier League fixtures.
- Arsenal haven’t lost on a Tuesday in the Premier League since February 2006, winning 10 and drawing seven.
- Koeman is unbeaten in all five home matches as a manager against Arsene Wenger for Ajax, PSV, AZ Alkmaar and Southampton (W3, D2).
- Romelu Lukaku has scored nine and set up three of Everton’s last 15 goals.
- Olivier Giroud has scored five goals in his last six games against Everton.Alexis Sanchez has been involved in 26 goals in his last 26 league appearances for Arsenal – scoring 18 and providing eight assists.
Courtesy of Opta & BBC Sport.
3-1. Theo, Ox and Alexis to score for Arsenal.
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