Arsenal welcome Everton to the Emirates this weekend for a Premier League match that is always full of action. “Memorable” is the word I would use when I think of Arsenal vs. Everton over recent years, but “forgettable” may be a more accurate way to describe an Everton supporter’s view.
The fixture has been full of scoring the past few meetings, including a 10-3 aggregate score from last years home & away fixtures. The Gunners have won 5 out of 6 against Everton in their recent Premier League meetings. Arsenal fans will be hoping for a repeat of the dominance against Everton, while Toffee supporters will hope the roles are reversed.
The first match in the 2017/18 season at Goodison park saw Rooney put Everton ahead in the 12th minute. Everton would go onto hold that lead for 28 minutes, when Arsenal finally decided to open the floodgates. Monreal, Ozil, Lacazette, Ramsey, and a Chilean player who will not be named all got on the score sheet before the final whistle.
The second match was even worse for Everton. Aaron Ramsey got his first career hat trick, Henrikh Mkhitaryan got a hat trick of assists, and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang got his first Arsenal goal in a 5-1 smacking by the Gunners.
Click on the stadium names to see the respective highlights from last year.
Goodison Park (5-2, October 2017)
The Emirates (5-1, February 2018)
Unai Emery has kept the Gunners in the winning ways after a difficult start to the season. After opening losses to Manchester City and Chelsea, Arsenal have taken 3 straight wins in the Premier League (including 2 straight away wins for the first time in over a season). Now sitting in 7th place, Arsenal have a chance to rewrite the season on match day 6.
Despite the recent success in the last 3 games, some Arsenal fans would welcome a few changes to the starting lineups.
The first change that comes to mind is in the defensive midfield. Lucas Torreira has still not been able to break into the Arsenal starting XI. The tackling maestro was [statistically] Serie A’s best defensive midfielder last year, but Guendouzi and Xhaka have gotten the nod over the Uruguayan in Arsenal’s midfield.
Arsenal have yet to keep a clean sheet in any competition, and Torreira could be the answer. The stats speak for themselves when Torreira gets subbed on. Here is a
shameless plug of my editor’s tweet that makes it easy to see Lucas’ impact on the Arsenal team.
Arsenal (when Torreira is off the pitch)— Travis King (@TravisEKing) September 15, 2018
Arsenal (when Torreira is on the pitch:
The low points of Arsenal’s defensive woes were letting in 2 goals against both Cardiff and FC Vorskla Poltava. Neither of those teams scored while Lucas was on the pitch.
With the Europa League starting, other changes may be in the works as well. Sokratis, Iwobi, Monreal, and Aubameyang played on Thursday. Additionally, Mkhitaryan has been scratched from squad as well after picking up a knock on Thursday.
This could mean that Arsenal fans see a few changes to rest these players as the team begins their cup matches in both Europe and the domestic league.
Sam Allardyce’s “don’t-get-relegated” philosophy lacked entertainment, and was a large subject of criticism at Goodison Park last year among the supporters. New Everton [and ex-Watford] manager Marco Silva’s attacking brand is a welcomed change to his predecessor, but there have only been glimpses in the first few matches of that brand.
The return of Richarlison will hopefully be just what the Portuguese manager is looking for after a tough loss to West Ham last weekend. Richarlison was suspended after a scuffle with Bournemouth’s Adam Smith led to a straight red card on August 25th. After serving his 3 match ban, Richarlison has to be eager to get back on the pitch with his club. 3 goals in his first 3 games of the season had the media raving about the attacker. During his suspension he got his first Brazil call-up, which consisted of 2 goals against El Salvador. The Brazilian is in inspired form, and keeping him away from the goal will be key for Arsenal this weekend.
Theo Walcott will be a familiar face as well this weekend on the Everton side. After 397 appearances, 108 goals, and 2 FA Cup trophies - Arsenal and the Englishman parted ways last January. Since then, Theo has been getting the first team action he sought after during his last few months in North London. 2 goals and 1 assist so far in 5 games mean that he is a big part of Everton’s attack. Look for Walcott to be opposite from Richarlison on Sunday.
Everton was also quite noisy in the transfer market, which saw big names Richarlison, Lucas Digne, Bernard, Andre Gomes, and Yerry Mina move to Merseyside this year. The diversity in those players and what positions they play highlight the revolution of the team by Marco Silva. The revolution has been a bit stagnant though, as the team has not had time to gel. Mina, Gomes, and Bernard have yet to start a game for the Toffees, while Richarlison and Digne have only played in 3 games out of a possible 6. Everton fans know the class these players bring, but are forced to be patient before they will see the true impact of the signings.
Suspensions and injuries have also been an issue for Silva’s Everton thus far in the campaign. 2 red cards in 5 games and a harsh injury record have led to a depleted and inexperienced Everton lineup in recent weeks. Per Marco Silva’s update yesterday; key personnel such as Seamus Coleman, Phil Jagielka, Andre Gomes, and Michael Keane are apart of the injury list and will not be able to play at the weekend. Yerry Mina will attempt to get his first game in an Everton kit, but his fitness is still being assessed by Everton’s training staff.
Arsenal will look to leverage their experience and quality to dominate the injury-plagued Toffees like they did last season.
Arsenal: Cech; Bellerin, Mustafi, Sokratis, Monreal; Xhaka, Torreira; Ramsey, Ozil, Iwobi; Lacazette.
Everton: Pickford; Kenny, Holgate, Zouma, Digne; Walcott, Schneiderlin, Sigurdsson, Gueye, Richarlison; Tosun.
WHAT: Arsenal vs Everton
WHERE: Emirates Stadium, London
WHEN: Sunday, September 23rd, 8 AM PT | 11 AM ET | 4 PM BT
US TV: NBCSN
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