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Arsenal vs. Everton

Emirates Stadium

8th December, 2013

4pm

On Sky

Arsenal v Everton Match Preview

With all of their rivals dropping points, Arsenal know a win against Everton will see them go seven points clear at the top of the table. However, Everton will be no pushovers, as Wednesday night's victory at Old Trafford proved.

Martinez has made Everton a more expansive and varied outfit. With clean sheets in each of their last three away games, they've maintained the solidity which Moyes was renowned for instilling. Their average tackles are even up by one a game.

Whereas the used to rely heavily on the partnership of Pienaar and Baines down the left, with Baines delivering wicked crosses for the likes of Cahill and Fellaini, now Everton are more balanced.

The introduction of Gareth Barry and James McCarthy has seen their average possession stats rise by 4% and their passing accuracy rise by an impressive 4% too according to whoscored.com.

In Romelu Lukaku, Everton also have one of the league's form strikers. It's no surprise that Everton's shooting accuracy has risen by some 6%. Moyes struggled to find Everton a prolific lone striker, with the likes of Beattie, Johnson, Bent, Yakubu, Saha and Jelavic never fully convincing.

Arsenal have built their season from the back, with Per Mertesacker having not conceded a goal in over 10 hours of football for club and country. The big German will deal with a slightly different threat tomorrow in the strong and pacey Belgian.

Arsenal offer a varied threat of their own. If you are occupied battling the physical presence of Olivier Giroud, Aaron Ramsey can sneak into your area unnoticed.

You want to put two men on Ozil? That leaves Santi Cazorla free. Overcommitted to attack? Theo Walcott is sprinting into open space. I suspect this game will rest on the first goal. Everton haven't conceded for three consecutive away games. However, Arsenal have opened the scoring 12 times this season, winning 11 of those games overall.

Vital Quotes:

Arsene Wenger knows Everton will provide a stern examination for his league leaders, ' 'We are lucky as we have been given a big warning by their win at Manchester United.

'That win will give them confidence for sure. It keeps us on our toes and for us it's a big game.

'We are hungry, we want to win and put together a run of results that will make us more ambitious.

'It is a big week in front of us.'

Meanwhile, Roberto Martinez thinks this game will provide the acid test for his team's top 4 credentials, 'I don't think we've played with fear at all this season,' said the former Wigan boss.

'We beat Chelsea at home and to beat Manchester United away showed an incredible improvement to our performance from Manchester City [Everton's only defeat of the season back in October].

'I felt when we went to City, we didn't have the right belief in our performance but I think we showed that at Old Trafford.

'Arsenal deserve a lot of respect because if you win 11 of your first 14 games, you are the outstanding team in the competition.

'We are looking at ourselves to try to use this as a terrific test to see how quickly we can improve and challenge these sides.

'The Emirates Stadium is one of the hardest places to go and be yourself.

'Arsenal as an attacking team are as good as it gets and their movement and forward play requires maximum concentration in everything you do.

'From our point of view, we are ready for that test. We are excited about challenging the best team in the league so far.'

Arsenal Team News:

Arsenal are still without Bacary Sagna with a hamstring strain, whilst Lukas Podolski has returned to full training, but is unlikely to be included.

Alex Oxlade Chamberlain (knee), Yaya Sanogo (back) and Abou Diaby (knee) are long term absentees.

Arsenal (from): Szczesny, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Koscielny, Rosicky, Arteta, Wilshere, Ozil, Giroud, Walcott, Ramsey, Monreal, S.Cazorla, Flamini, Fabianski, Bendtner, Jenkinson, Gibbs, Gnabry.

Player to watch: Santi Cazorla

An early season injury, pre season exertions in the Confederations Cup and a technical shift in Arsenal's midfield have meant a slow start to the season by Cazorla's exalted standards. However, signs of the Spaniard's best form were apparent on Wednesday night against Hull City.

90 of his 99 passes came off against Hull, 47 of them in the attacking third. Nobody has used the ball that prolifically in the attacking third all season in the Premier League. His short bursts of one twos around City's box caused havoc all night.

Everton Team News:

Everton continue to be without Leighton Baines, after a broken toe. As well as Darron Gibson and Arouna Kone, both out for the season with knee injuries.

Everton (from): Robles, Hibbert, Heitinga, Jagielka (c), Jelavic, Oviedo, Deulofeu, Mirallas, Diston, Naysmith, McCarthy, Lukaku, Barry, Gueye, Barkley, Osman, Pienaar, Coleman, Howard, Alcaraz.

Player to watch: Gareth Barry

Tempting as it is to opt for Lukaku, Gareth Barry has become a vital component in this new, comfortable in possession, Everton model.

Barry wins the ball back for his team with the minimum of fuss before looking for more creative teammates such as Deulefu, Barkley and Pienaar.

In this sense, he performs a similar role to that which Arteta does for Arsenal. In fact, Barry revealed in the press this weekend that Arsenal had contacted him about a loan deal this summer before Flamini came on the radar.

Match Facts & Stats

Arsenal have conceded the fewest goals in the league and Everton have scored more than once on only 1 occasion in the last 21 meetings.
The Gunners have had under 2.5 goals in 9 of their 10 previous home encounters with top-six sides.

9 of Arsenal's 11 wins this season have been by two goals or more.

Mikel Arteta plays against his former club.

Arsenal have won eight and lost none of their last 12 Barclays Premier League games against Everton.

Arsenal are unbeaten at home in the Premier League with Howard Webb as referee (W10 D4 L0).

The Gunners have kept six clean sheets in their last seven games in all competitions, conceding just one goal in the other match (0-1 at Man Utd).

Ref Watch:

The referee will be Howard Webb.

Match Prediction:

I think Arsenal will pinch this with a narrow 2-1 victory. Lukaku to score for Everton, but goals from Cazorla and Giroud to win it for Arsenal in a tense, tight affair.

Next Fixtures:

Arsenal are away at Napoli on Wednesday evening. Everton play at home to Fulham next Saturday.




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The Journalist

Writer: Tim Stillman Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Saturday December 7 2013

Time: 9:14PM

Your Comments

Tough match in prospect, no doubt about that. Martinez's Everton should command a lot of respect. I'd be delighted if we picked up 3 points tomorrow. Come on Arsenal.
julieloveshenry4ever
Not a fan of the chant but this is HILARIOUS http://i.imgur.com/bzXxL3N.jpg
Sajit
That lady assistant referee hardly gets a call wrong. When he scored and she flagged, I just knew it had to be the correct call....and it was:-)
Naijagunner
The Arsenal midfield would have to work really hard tomorrow to deny Barry, McCarty and Barkley time on the ball; this would serve to reduce the number of balls to Belgium teammates, Mirallas and Lukaku and leave our CBs with only the mopping up job to do. We should win this game, even if it would demand our full concentration. I only hope the manager doesn't rotate for the CL game in midweek. This game is important.
Naijagunner
Pretty sure we will drop points. It can't all go perfect. Never does.
Sajit
A balanced and an informed preview. That two of our standout performers last season --- Cazorla and Theo --- are not firing on all cylinders this term speaks volume about the strength of the team. We would surely drop points but it is fairly easy to speculate that we would do so only after we have given as much as the opponent.
NYArse
Its my birthday today and my only wish is for arsenal to win everton without incuring any injuries.
nna
For some reason I'm feeling draw, dont know why! Like sajit says things seem to be going too well which makes me suspicious. Any who a win would really set the cat amongt the pigeons! Hopefully another win and another week of getting written off bring it on, seven points clear would really be slap in the face to our competitors (and Moyes har!). We could afford draws against Chelsea and City next week then, not that im expecting anything less than win! Good to be watching Arsenal at the moment COYG
Nwankwo25
Haha please don't anyone report me for abuse!
Nwankwo25
Arsenal win, all the way. Everton would make a game of it; may even get the first goal(s). But, we would keep playing till the end to win this. As nan says hopefully, no new injuries so we can play Napoli in fine fettle.
Naijagunner
*nna*
Naijagunner
4 changes made to the squad for the last game; Gibbs, Jack, Giroud and Arteta back in the squad, while Bacary Sagna isn't named, so Jenks continues at right back. Set up to be a cracking game. Good luck, lads! Let's do this.
Naijagunner
i am going for a 3-0 win. i think we are just too strong and cohesive for everton to stop us. as good as they are i cant see them stopping our midfield. i think lukaku will be shut out by koschie & the bfg. COYG.
supersof
*from the last game*
Naijagunner
Everton has come off the blocks and taken the game to us on our ground. We seemed surprised or are just taking it calmly and waiting for that chance to hit them on the counter. Not sure many of us, including Wenger, expected them to dominate possession on our ground. It looks like the classic "game of two halves" today. Our defence has held out well. Personally, I would have started Flamini and Arteta just because of the runs of Barkely and Oviedo's bursting runs. The manager knows, though.
Naijagunner
Some perspective, though. We are top of the table so Everton do have "more" to play for (4th place) so their rush is understandable. We also have that game in Italy on the mind while Everton have nothing else to worry about. We have to graft here.
Naijagunner
Very tense tight game. Everton really went for it. I thought Gibbs(?) could have done better to block the goal, but to be honest the toffees deserved the point. We looked slightly leggy, which is a concern going into this latest run of matches.
Wyn Mills
Wow! That was some game. Koscielny was outstanding along with Per. On the balance, a draw seemed fair. Martinez has turned Moyes' Everton into a much better side who are growing in confidence; now, I can understand why Wenger would find the need to speak against the flexible rules for loanees. Ramsey did look tentative and got his pocket picked too often. I think the players may have been guilty of looking beyond the "next game", which has been the bane of our challenge in the past.
Naijagunner
I'm really disappointed we didn't see this one through, if only giroud had scored with the last ball, now i'm feeling really nervous about the man city game.
princeoflove909
Not the end of the world but in our form I think all of us were expecting a win, 5 points clear isn't something to moan about. Don't know what happened in the first half we were a bit tentative with Giroud missing a few chances but that's being harsh. The draw could be rectified with good results in the next three games.
Nwankwo25
Karma you ******** bitch
Sajit
Good game despite a hugely disapointing 1st half. Gutted by the equalizer. Goodnews is that there are no new injuries but the bad news is that the players are already looking tired ahead of the next 3 big games in one week.
nna
We are still top. The onus is on the chasing pack to unseat us; that's the good news. The other is that very few teams can do the pressing game against us as Everton can and they would take points against a good many sides. The way I see it, while we have a midweek game to ponder, Everton has the whole week to prepare for their next game, so no surprises they were more energetic than we were. Of course, we also must consider the line up of EPL fixtures we have for the month. A draw isn't the end of the world, all considered.
Naijagunner
A draw was a good result, exciting high tempo game. Everton played really well, but did not trouble Szczesny in the 1st half. The conceded goal was disappointing coz I felt confident that we could hold out for the win which would have been huge. Overall, no complaints though.
prits
Just remarkable how much difference a manager can make. I always felt this would be a really tough game because even with Wigan the way Martinez sets his teams up seem to cause us problems and we always get a good game. Disappointing that the normal calmness we've had since going ahead wasn't there after taking the lead yesterday. You feel we needed both Flamini and Arteta to start the game. Everton also haven't been playing CL games so are probably fresher I guess. The good thing is that we're in December and everyone is dropping points. Just a shame we're playing City who would have had an extra day off compared to us. Hopefully Flam and Arteta can both start that game.
Gooner_Vin
 

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