Arsenal face a tough away trip to Everton, who have proven terrible at home despite their fantastic away form that has seen them lose only once this season – away to Arsenal in the October reverse fixture. This will not be a walk in the park and with tired legs throughout the squad after the 3-1 loss away to Barcelona on Wednesday, Arsene Wenger has to ensure he gets his men up for this one.
A loss or even a draw today will essentially end the Gunners title challenge – sitting 11 points behind Leicester City with a game in hand is a big enough gap as it is. Here is our predicted lineup:
GK) David Ospina
Ospina has certainly made an impression since the injury to Petr Cech, producing some memorable saves including the fantastic stop of Lionel Messi’s goal bound shot on Wednesday night. Cech is likely to return after the international break, but for now all Ospina can do is keep producing top quality performances to keep hold of the No1 jersey.
RB) Hector Bellerin
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The Spaniard looked exciting in patches against his former employers on Wednesday night, having been rested for the FA Cup ties, he looks nailed on to start once again and will hope to give Evertons defence a tough afternoon.
LB) Nacho Monreal
Monreal looks nailed on to start again after coming through 90 minutes at Nou Camp in midweek unscathed.
CB) Laurent Koscielny
Koscielny returned to the fold against Barcelona and certainly suffered a baptism of fire after his recent injury troubles, losing the ball while running it out of the backline only for Neymar Jr to put the tie beyond doubt moments later. Still, he is our best defender as is expected to start once again today.
CB) Per Mertesacker
The BFG was overlooked against Barcelona but you cannot argue that the Mertscielny partnership is not the strongest and most reliable in the squad. Gabriel has been inconsistent and suffered some criticism in recent fixtures, his inclusion at the Nou Camp was most likely in order to rest Mertesacker for the season run-in.
DM) Francis Coquelin
It appeared Arsene Wenger wanted to rest our best defensive midfielder against Barcelona, in true Arsenal style Mathieu Flamini pulled his hamstring shortly before half time forcing Wenger to field Le Coq. He should be relatively fresh and is an important cog in this Arsenal midfield.
CM) Mohamed Elneny
Elneny scored a stunning debut goal for the club against Barcelona, and was one of the few positives from a disastrous but predictable night at Nou Camp. His work rate and box to box roaming supplements the more defensively minded Coquelin in the heart of the Gunners midfield – it seems a promising partnership is blossoming there.
CAM) Mesut Özil
Ozil was visibly unimpressed by Arsenal’s Champions League exit and appeared to lose interest after Luis Suarez’s goal ended any hope of a comeback. He is cutting a very frustrated figure at present, despite creating bags and bags of opportunities for his team mates they’re not finishing the job. The German is instrumental for any title hope we have and will resume his duties as a No10 as usual.
RAM) Danny Welbeck
Welbeck is a sure starter but I just can’t see him leading the line for this one, a place on the wing seems more certain. More on that below. It also speaks volumes that Alex Iwobi started ahead of Theo Walcott on Wednesday night. The Englishman hardly needs a rest considering his lack of playing time recently and he appears to be badly out of form.
LAM) Alexis Sanchez
The Chilean looked more up for the tie against his former employers on Wednesday night and he claimed an assist for Elneny’s goal after a neat cutback. Hopefully he can push on and rekindle his form that has faltered over the last few months.
ST) Olivier Giroud
It’s possible Arsene Wenger will opt for Welbeck ahead of his compatriot with either Joel Campbell, Walcott or Iwobi taking the right wing slot. But Giroud appears to always play well against Everton and his physicality will be a useful asset at both ends of the pitch. He may well be out of form, but if he enjoys a good run out against the Toffee’s then it could transform the rest of his season.
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