Arsenal vs Everton
Barclays Premier League
Kick off: December 8, 2013 4:00 PM GMT
Without having even played yet Arsenal find themselves in an advantageous position after a number of major upsets saw Chelsea and Manchester United succumb to defeat, while Manchester City was held to a draw. Chelsea’s failure means Arsenal remains four points clear at the top of the table and have a golden opportunity to extend that lead to seven points if they can get the desired result against an Everton side that is exceeding expectations under new manager Roberto Martinez.
Unfortunately going into the match Arsenal remain without right-back Bacary Sagna who has not recovered from the hamstring injury picked up at Cardiff. While Jenkinson performed well against Hull in midweek, there was little actual defending to do so it will be interesting to see how he copes with the likes of Lukaku, Pienaar and Oviedo who will not doubt have more bite to them.
In terms of other line-up possibilities, as usual we are likely to see some changes in midfield with Arteta and Wilshere the likeliest to return to the starting line-up. While personally I would like to see the more combative Flamini retaining his role in midfield, Wenger seems to more highly value Arteta’s strengths in distribution. It is expected young Wilshere, who has been in form, will start back on the wing after being rested in midweek.
Looking at Everton, there is no doubt Martinez has done a great job with the Moyes’ former side. The Toffees have only lost one match so far in the Premier League and have a number of strong attacking outlets that could threaten Szczesny’s goal. The likely front three of Pienaar, Lukaku and Mirallas (and potentially Deulofeu) will no doubt test an Arsenal defence that itself has looked strong so far this campaign. Mertesacker and co will need to be on their toes against a dangerous Everton attack.
While Everton are looking strong, we must also remember that Arsenal are top of the league and remain favourites to win the match. However, after winning at Old Trafford in midweek the Toffees will be on a massive high and will be looking to continue the trend. Therefore the Gunners will need perform with absolute focus and take our opportunities against a defensive unit that has only conceded three goals in the past six matches. It will be a tough match, but it is certainly not an impossible task to beat Martinez’s men, particularly when you factor in Arsenal’s current form! COYG!
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Arsenal: Sagna (hamstring), Oxlade-Chamberlain (knee), Sanogo (back), Podolski (hamstring), Diaby (knee)
Everton: Leighton Baines (toe), Arouna Kone (knee), Darren Gibson (knee)
|ARSENAL – WWWWL||EVERTON – WWDDD|
|Arsenal 2 – Hull 0||EPL||Man Utd. 0 – Everton 1||EPL|
|Cardiff City 0 – Arsenal 3||EPL||Everton 4 – Stoke 0||EPL|
|Arsenal 2 – Olympique de Marseille 0||UCL||Everton 3 – Liverpool 3||EPL|
|Arsenal 2 – Southampton 0||EPL||Crystal Palace 0 – Everton 0||EPL|
|Man. United 1 – Arsenal FC 0||EPL||Everton 0 – Tottenham 0||EPL|
Jenkinson Koscielny Mertesacker Gibbs
Arteta (c) Ramsey
Arsenal 2 Everton 1