Setbacks and responses have been the theme of Arsenal’s season thus far. If they can repeat that feat, as they did against Newcastle after the Liverpool loss, Mikel Arteta’s side will need to do something they’ve struggled with so far this season, winning on the road. To date, Arsenal has two road league wins, 2-0 over Leicester City and 1-0 over Burnley. To keep pressure on West Ham and the likes of Manchester United and Tottenham behind them in the race for fourth they have to find a way to take full points from these difficult away fixtures.
Arsenal has not had great success against Everton in recent seasons, winning just once in the last five Premier League matches between these two sides. Last season Arsenal lost 2-1 at Goodison Park and 1-0 at the Emirates. In fact, the Gunners have only won at Everton once since 2016, that being a 5-2 goal fest which saw Monreal, Ozil, Lacazette, Sanchez & Ramsey all get on the scoresheet. Only one of those names is still around today, in what could be his last season at Arsenal, will Alexandre Lacazette lead the line?
Make sure to check out the Q&A for this match with Royal Blue Mersey, SB Nation’s Everton site where we asked about the season’s ups and downs, Alex Iwobi, Monday’s match, and how Andros Townsend is the team’s leading scorer.
- Bernd Leno
- Nuno Tavares
- Rob Holding
- Calum Chambers
- Granit Xhaka
- Thomas Partey
- Emile Smith Rowe
- Gabriel Martinelli
- Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
- Left Out: Mohamed Elneny, Eddie Nketiah, Pablo Mari, Cedric, Folarin Balogun & Arthur Okonkwo.
- Out: Sead Kolasinac (left ankle).
- December is a packed slate of matches that will require rotation, but this away match against Everton looks like a particularly difficult one, despite their place in the table. With Arsenal’s struggles on the road this season, I’d prefer to rotate the attack, maintain much of the defense and then bring in the likes of Rob Holding once the Gunners are back at home versus Southampton.
- Arteta noted that Emile Smith Rowe is recovering from a minor issue, but with so many games over the next few weeks, players need to be rested regardless. Bukayo Saka’s absence from the starting XI last match can be to Arsenal’s advantage now as Arteta begins to mix and match the attacking front four. I’d stick with the 4-2-3-1 once again, even with Arsenal’s road woes, especially if Arteta sticks with primary defenders. If ESR is completely unavailable Monday, I’d have Eddie Nketiah added to the bench.
- Up top Lacazette can fill in for Aubamenyang, who he himself has noted in the past few days needs to refind his form. Saka returns to one side of the attack with Pepe finally getting another start, expecting those two to interchange sides throughout the match. And with Smith Rowe’s issue, it’s fairly straightforward to give Odegaard the start once again in the #10 spot.
- In the midfield, the big news over the weekend has been Granit Xhaka’s return to full training and the possibility that he could be back in action quite soon. If the backline remains, I’ve gone with the younger midfield pairing of Maitland-Niles and Sambi. But perhaps Arteta will prefer to pair one of them with Partey on Monday and then the other with Elneny against Southampton. Ideally, Xhaka gets a late sub appearance and could even be in contention for a start in the next match or two.
- The backline and Ramsdale will feel quite disappointed having let in three against United and eager to respond, quickly. I’ve kept everything the same except the return of Kieran Tierney, who surely finally gets back into the starting XI on Monday. If that lineup holds, it’ll be interesting to see how many are able to stay away from the fitness red zone and how deep Arteta rotates from the Pablo Mari and Calum Chambers area of the squad in the next match. Hopefully, that is a problem for after the match, and after Arsenal have picked up three big road points.
How to watch
Monday (12/6) at 3:00 pm ET / 12:00 pm PT on NBCSN.
Arsenal - 2
Everton - 1
Beyond just responding to the disappointment from Thursday’s match, Arsenal needs to pick up three points here (and ideally at home against Southampton) before they clash with the primary competitor for fourth place at the moment — West Ham on the 15th. As the team begins to rotate how will players respond during this crucial time of the season?