Arsenal will bid to make it four wins on the bounce when they host Everton at the Emirates in the live game on Sunday afternoon. They secured a 5-1 victory when the Toffees visited North London earlier this year in what proved to be a miserable homecoming for Theo Walcott. A similar result would be marvellous at the weekend, but most Gunners fans would settle for another tense, scrappy win. The Gunners lack cohesion at present but they have done enough to get the better of Newcastle, Cardiff and West Ham and they are starting to show some signs of progress.
Everton started the season in blistering form under new manager Marco Silva, but that has since tailed nosedived. First they could only draw at home with lowly Huddersfield, and then they lost 3-1 at Goodison Park against a West Ham side that sat bottom of the table, with four defeats out of four. That must have dented Everton’s confidence somewhat. They are yet to keep a clean sheet this season, but they will welcome back star striker Richarlison – whose suspension coincided with their downturn in form – for the visit to Arsenal and we should be in for an entertaining game.
If you check out a Betonline review and find market leading odds you will see that the Gunners are the overwhelming favourites to pick up another three points. That would give them crucial momentum and instil belief in players whose mental fortitude and backbone have often been called into question. Arsenal have also failed to keep a clean sheet all season, but fortunately the forwards have bailed them out in the past three fixtures.
They still look lopsided up front, as new manager Unai Emery struggles to fit star strikers Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette into the same team. Aubameyang looked pretty miserable when shunted out to the left in last weekend’s win against Newcastle, and he was unhappy to be substituted. But there is no easy solution for Emery, as Lacazette is too good to sit on the bench. Henrikh Mkhitaryan has recently found himself the odd man out, with Mesut Ozil starting on the right-hand side of an attacking triumvirate, and Emery is likely to persist with that system against Everton.
Both teams to score looks a given in this game. At times we have seen Hector Bellerin and Nacho Monreal as Arsenal’s furthest forward players, and that has left Sokratis and Shkodran Mustafi brutally exposed at the back. Sokratis is starting to adapt to life in the Premiership, but Mustafi still looks calamitous and the defence needs more protection.
The onus is surely on Emery to start Lucas Torreira ahead of the affable but limited French teenager Matteo Guendouzi. The Uruguayan changed the game against Newcastle last time out when he came on at half-time, and surely he is ready to start now.
Everton are not great in the centre of the park, but they are dangerous up front, so if Torreira can win the table against Idrissa Gueye it would set the tone for a handsome victory. This Everton defence looks shaky and Ozil, Lacazette and Aubameyang could have a field day if they see plenty of the ball.
Arsenal fans will hope that Ozil continues on an upward curve after showing signs of life against the Magpies, as he has the quality to tee up chance after chance for Arsenal’s forwards. Arsenal conceding almost looks like a given these days, but there is every reason to think that they can blow Everton away going forwards and surge up the table once more.