Prediction: Both Sides to Score and Draw
Two sides who have endured a somewhat rollercoaster season so far this season go head-to-head on Sunday as Arsenal and Everton clash at the Emirates Stadium.
Both teams have changed managerthroughout the course of the campaign and have enjoyed slight recoveries under Mikel Arteta and Carlo Ancelotti. As a result, they are now on the coat tails of the European places so a victory could be a huge morale boost.
Whilst the Gunners are still yet to totally to convince under their former midfielder, they are in good form as of late. They have not actually lost a game in any competition since their 2-1 reverse at the hands of Chelsea in December. As a matter of fact, following their 4-0 thumping of Newcastle in the Premier League and the slender 1-0 success against Olympiakos in the UEFA Europa League, the North Londoners now have a great chance to chalk up three successive wins in all competitions. Surprisingly, for a club the size of Arsenal, they have not managed to do that since September. One of the main aspects to their improvement has been their defensive solidarity. The Gunners have chalked up three successive clean sheets in all competitions and should they win to nil on Sunday, it would be the first time that they have kept four shutouts in a row for the first time since October 2016.
The Gunners’ woes in relation to injuries in their defence has worsened in recent weeks with Sokratis having suffered a knee injury and is likely to miss the game. He joins fellow stoppers Kieran Tierney, Calum Chambers and January signings Cedric Soares and Pablo Mari on the sidelines. Elsewhere, midfielders Mesut Ozil and Lucas Torreira are both set to be assessed ahead of the clash.
Since replacing Marco Silva at Goodison Park, Ancelotti has certainly masterminded an upturn in fortunes for the Toffees. In his nine matches in charge so far, Everton have only fallen to defeat on two occasions and they came at the hands of Manchester City and Liverpool. They are also enjoying a run of five games undefeated and have the chance to make it three Premier League wins in a row for the first time since May. That better form really has seen the Toffees throw themselves into contention for European football. With a win at the Emirates, they could cut the gap to fifth-placed Tottenham Hotspur to just three points and with clashes against the likes of Chelsea, Manchester United, Liverpool, Leicester City, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Spurs and Sheffield United to come, a few victories really could see them high up the table come the end of the campaign. The only problem is that their form when travelling to some of the league’s traditional big hitters is not fantastic. Everton have not beaten any of the ‘big six’ since a 1-0 win against Manchester United in 2013.
The Toffees side could potentially be boosted by a few significant returnees on Sunday. Fabian Delph, Theo Walcott and Bernard are all back in contention after recovering from respective knocks. Meanwhile, Andre Gomes, who suffered a horrendous leg break against Tottenham Hotspur some months ago has returned to training and could play a part. However, Jean-Philippe Gbamim remains ruled out until at least the end of March.
Key Facts To Consider
- Arsenal have a significantly better head-to-head record between the two sides (W106, D46, L61)
- The first game between the two this season ended 0-0
- Everton have not won away from home against Arsenal since January 1996
- Carlo Ancelotti only lost once against Arsenal in the Premier League as Chelsea boss
- Mesut Ozil has had a hand in nine goals in 12 matches in all competitions against Everton (three goals, six assists)
With both sides enjoying an upturn in form recently, they will both be keen to earn another positive result at the weekend. However, it’s difficult to predict what kind of performances each side will turn in. One deciding factor could be the Gunners long unbeaten home record against the Toffees. As a result, supporters should expect a draw with goals.
Prediction: Both Sides to Score and Draw
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