This Saturday Arsenal take on Everton at Goodison Park in what will be both sides’ second game of the new Premier League season.
Having undergone a tough test against Besiktas in mid-week, Arsenal’s attentions now turn to an away trip against Everton at Goodison Park, as both sides look to kick on following wins against Crystal Palace and a draw against Leicester respectively on the opening day.
Last season threw up some very interesting matches between the two as Arsenal met Everton not just in the league but also in the FA Cup, which of course the Gunners went onto triumph in. The league game at the Emirates was an entertaining draw as Mesut Ozil who is set to return this weekend scored the opening goal, before loanee Gerard Deulofeu equalised with just six minutes remaining.
However, it was Arsenal who got the better of their weekend opponents in the FA Cup as they thrashed the Toffees 4-1. Once again Mesut Ozil was on the score-sheet along with Arteta and Giroud, who was at the double. That partciular fixture was one of the Gunners most impressive performances at home but their next meeting was far from impressive. A month later, in April, they met at Goodison Park but Everton got revenge for their past meeting by comfortably winning 3-0 thanks to goals from Naismith, Lukaku and an own goal from Arteta.
Previous meetings therefore suggest that it will once again be a very close match between the two and could come down to one or two goals either way.
Arsenal’s squad for the weekend is bolstered by the return of their German trio. Per Mertesacker, Lukas Podolski and Mesut Ozil are back after being given extended leave folloing their World Cup exploits in Brazil. How many of them feature remains to be seen though. Kieran Gibbs remains out injured following the game against Palace which means Nacho Monreal will step in once more. Mikel Arteta will miss the game against his former club after picking up an injury against Besiktas.
Arteta’s injury is further evidence of Arsenal’s need to strengthen in the defensive midfielder department as Flamini and Coquelin may well feature against Everton. The suspension Aaron Ramsey picked up in the week is only applicable to European ties meaning he’s available for the Premier League. Meanwhile, Yaya Sanogo looks set to miss out with the same hamstring problem that ruled him out of Besiktas.
As for Everton, Irish duo Seamus Coleman and Darren Gibson are both set to return to immediate action. Coleman came off the bench against Leicester last weekend but Gibson hasn’t played since injuring his anterior cruciate ligament last October. Everton’s record signing Romelu Lukaku will no doubt cause the Arsenal defence problems as he did so often last campaign so it’ll be a tough test for Calum Chambers, if he once again starts despite Mertesacker being back. Monreal suffered a tough time against Lukaku at Goodison last season so he’ll have to massively improve on that display if Arsenal are to remain solid at the back and stop the fast flowing attacking play of Everton.
Both sides have reasons to be encouraged going in to this game. Arsenal are off the back of two far from convincing displays against Palace and Besiktas whilst Everton struggled against newly promoted Leicester City on the opening day, which means if the two have looked at what their opponents have been doing they’ll think there’s plenty of reasons as to why they can go out there and win on Saturday evening.
Match Venue: Goodison Park
Kick-off: 17:30 pm.