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Everton vs. Arsenal match preview

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Kickoff: 9AM EST
Goodison Park, Liverpool
Coverage: Fox Soccer Plus, (for subscribers), the Fox Soccer app for iPhone
Everton perspective on SBN: Royal Blue Mersey

Arsenal take the coach northwards to Merseyside to take on the People's Club, Everton, tomorrow in an English Premier League clash of the 1920s.  Or 1930s.  Or now.

On the injury front, there is no news except that Kieran Gibbs will be back in the squad.  One would hope that he can find a way to ease back into the game again, because every time he seems to start, someone treads on his metatarsal or his ankle and he has to sit.  Gael Clichy will no doubt get the start, but it's good to know that a willing and able deputy waits in the wings.

Of course, in the corresponding fixture last season, which opened proceedings, Arsenal hammered a listless Everton into submission, 6-1.  The reverse fixture in the snow at the Emirates didn't go quite as well, finishing 2-2 as Tomas Rosicky rescued a late point for the Gunners.

A win tomorrow would see the Gunners leap past Manchester United into second place again, the Red Devils having been held to a draw today by an unlucky Aston Villa side.  The Premier League table this year resembles something like a massive car crash; there is Chelsea, Manchester United, Arsenal, and Manchester City at the top, but then Bolton (fifth) through Birmingham (18th) are separated by a measly six points.  Wolverhampton and West Ham bring up the rear.

Everton sit in 13th place at the moment with fifteen points, but a win would vault them all the way to at least eighth place.  Their last three matches have resulted in a draw, a win, and a draw.  While they have not always troubled Arsenal, David Moyes is a tactically clever manager, and Tim Cahill has always proven to be a bit of a thorn in the Gunners' sides.  Steven Pienaar has also proven troublesome against Arsenal in recent years.  Michael Cox (he of Zonal Marking) points out that since Arsenal have moved to two holding midfield players, having a man sitting in the hole just behind them as Cahill might could prove a bit troublesome in comparison with having on dedicated holder to man mark him, so that is something to keep an eye on.

Possible lineup:


Sagna            Squillaci           Djourou          Clichy

Song          Denilson


Nasri            Chamakh          Arshavin

With Tomas Rosicky, Jack Wilshere, Theo Walcott, and Nicklas Bendtner likely subs at some point, in no particular order...