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Arsenal v. Everton preview: A New Hope

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See what I did with the title there? Also, no spoilers. Seriously.

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Arsenal FC v Manchester City - Premier League
Hopefully the Gunners acquit themselves well in Freddie’s last match in charge.
Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

A long time ago, in a city far, far away (from me),
(Coaching) Episode III, A NEW MANAGER
It is a period of change at the club.
The Gunners won the battle against the evil Galactic Empire.
Unai Emery has been defeated.
But the fighting took a heavy toll on Arsenal Football Club.
Morale is low and injuries have piled up.
Gooners’ hope rests in a new hero.
Mikel Arteta races home, with, hopefully, a secret plan.
A plan to save his club and restore glory in North London.

That plan, whatever it may be, will have to wait just a bit longer. The Mikel Arteta era does not officially begin until Sunday; Freddie Ljungberg will be at the helm for the Gunners one last time for Saturday’s trip to Goodison park.

The match is somewhat of an oddity in that the Toffees will also be managed by a caretaker in his final game. Interim manager Duncan Ferguson is expected to be replaced by Carlo Ancelotti on Monday. Ferguson has guided Everton to a string off impressive performances: beating Chelsea, drawing Manchester United, and losing to Leicester on penalties in the Carabao Cup. Those results, along with exaggerated reactions on the sideline, have made Ferguson somewhat of a cult hero at Everton. I expect the home side and the home crowd will be extra “up for” his last match in charge. I also expect him to give former Arsenal man Alex Iwobi the start tomorrow for Iwobi’s first match against his old club — managers are usually good about doing that.

Freddie Ljungberg has his work cut out for him in terms of squad selection. The Gunners are in the throes of the all-too-familiar December injury crisis. The club has no fit left backs. Kieran Tierney had successful surgery to repair a dislocated shoulder and is out until March. Sead Kolašinac is out for a few weeks with an ankle injury. Mesut Özil has unexpectedly cropped up on Friday’s injury report. The German apparently picked up a right foot injury against Manchester City and is being assessed ahead of the match. Héctor Bellerín and Rob Holding also face late fitness tests to determine their availability. Granit Xhaka has recovered from the concussion he sustained against West Ham and is available for selection.

My advice for Freddie and Arsenal: do or do not, there is no try.

(Sorry, that ending was the best I could come up with)

WHAT: Arsenal vs. Everton
WHERE: Goodison Park
WHEN: Saturday, December 21 4:30 AM PT | 7:30 AM ET | 12:30 PM BT
US TV: NBCSN. Stream here.
US Streaming: fubo, sling, NBCSports.com

For all your international streaming needs, check livesoccer.tv. Please do not discuss or share links to illegal streams here.

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