Arsenal’s push for a Champions League spot takes them on an away trip to Goodison Park on Sunday. The Gunners are currently fourth in the Premier League table, one point behind third-placed Tottenham. However, Arsenal have an extra game on hand, and they would want to capitalise on that advantage over their rivals with a win against Everton
However, Arsenal’s opponents for the day, Everton, have seen a recent rise in their form, which has seen them win back-to-back league games against Chelsea and West Ham without conceding any goals. The resilient Toffees defence will be tested against an in-form Arsenal frontline, who are unbeaten in six league games.
Arsenal are yet to keep an away clean sheet – the only Premier League club with that record; Marco Silva’s side will know that they can upset the Premier League table on Sunday yet again.
Arsenal, however, have a good record in the Goodison Park, where they won 5-2 last season. Arsenal have won 97 times in this fixture, which is a record for an English league fixture. They have also scored 107 goals against the Toffees, which is another English league record.
Unai Emery knows that his side will need to replicate that performance to realise their top four dreams. Emery said,
“For us it’s a big challenge. We want to achieve the same good performances as when we play at Emirates Stadium. We have confidence now but we know it’s very difficult and I think it’s a long way until the last matches.
Each match is worth three points, like Sunday against Everton, which is the most important. We know other clubs will take a lot of points.”
Arsenal’s injury list presents a very grim look, with the Gunners missing a host of first-teamers from injuries. Long term absentees are Hector Bellerin, Rob Holding, and Danny Welbeck, who miss out due to knee and ankle injuries.
Granit Xhaka and Laurent Koscielny are a doubt as they are yet to be cleared for the Everton game by the medical team. Aaron Ramsey, who was suffering from a groin problem, is expected to be back for the Everton game.
Lucas Torreira was sent off against Tottenham, and is serving out a three-match ban.
Arsenal Possible starting XI:
After a lot of mixing-and-matching, Unai Emery has finally settled for a backline that suits his play. Sead Kolasinac and Ainsley Maitland-Niles will slot in at the respective full-back roles, as they have for the majority of the season. The centre-back position will surely be filled by Nacho Monreal and Sokratis.
The third position will provide a bit of headache to Emery, though. Koscielny is yet to be cleared by the medical team, but is expected to be fit for this game. However, it is up to the Spanish manager to decide whether to throw the French defender straight into the battlefield, or stick with Shkodran Mustafi.
Aaron Ramsey has been declared fit, and he will most likely slot in the midfield with Matteo Guendouzi, who has been a mainstay for Arsenal throughout this season. Ramsey has six goals in five games against Arsenal, and he will look to provide a strong performance ahead of his move to Juventus.
Further front, Arsenal have three in-form players in Mesut Ozil, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, and Alex Iwobi. However, Ozil’s recent brilliant form will make him hard to replace for Unai Emery, despite reports of worsening relationship between the two.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette is sure to lead the Arsenal front-line, given the exploits in front of the goal this season.
Everton will have the privilege of going into this match without any real injury problems. Their only injury is centre-back Yerry Mina, who suffered a nasty injury during international duties.
Everton has no suspensions for this match.
Everton Possible starting XI:
Jordan Pickford will retain his place in goal, despite being fined by the club for his recent brawl outside a bar. Marco Silva is expected to field an unchanged XI, as the team has performed brilliantly.
In the midfield, Bernard is expected to start, after he scored his first goal with his first shot on target in 28 matches last weekend. His midfielder partner, Gylfi Siggurdson, has scored 16 goals and assisted 7, which is a team-high statistic, and he needs to perform for the Toffees to stop Arsenal.
The Everton side will be leaded by Dominic Calvert-Lewin, who has been a revelation this season, and has kept Cenk Tosun out of the side.