Would you look at that? Turns out that Arsenal are a football club that plays matches and not just a bad idea factory and target of extreme supporter ire. Arsenal host Everton at the Emirates today in a proverbial 6-pointer — a match where if the Gunners lose, I think you can kiss finishing above the Toffees goodbye.
Fortunately, Everton are stumbling into the closing matches of the season. The Toffees are winless in their last five Premier League matches. Their struggles are almost certainly linked to Abdoulaye Doucouré fracturing a bone in his foot at the beginning of March. The central midfielder is expected to be out at least another three weeks, and there are concerns he might be out for the season.
When the clubs met at Goodison in December, Everton prevailed 2-1 on a Rob Holding own goal and a Yerry Mina tally. Looking at the Arsenal starting lineup from that one — yikes. A back three with Holding on the right. Ainsley Maitland-Niles at RWB. A midfield duo of Mohamed Elneny and Dani Ceballos. A front three of Willian, Eddie Nketiah, and Nicolas Pépé. So I don’t think you can take anything away from that result. Arsenal have changed pretty much everything since then — formation, tactics, personnel.
Arsenal’s availability is mostly unchanged. Martin Odegaard has an outside shot at being available. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is still out but hopes to resume training soon. Alexandre Lacazette has a hamstring injury, and there has been no word on how long he’ll be on the shelf. David Luiz is back in light training but a ways away from availability. Kieran Tierney is still out long-term, with the best hope being that he might be available for the Europa League final should Arsenal make it that far.
As previously mentioned, Everton will be without Abdoulaye Doucouré. Jean-Phillipe Gbamin, who has only played one match on the season, is also out. Dominic Calvert-Lewin is available for selection coming off an abductor injury. Yerry Mina, Andre Gomes, Fabian Delph and Bernard are all dealing with minor knocks but in contention to play.
Arsenal - Leno, Chambers, Holding, Mari, Xhaka, Ceballos, Partey, Saka, Smith Rowe, Pepe, Nketiah
Everton - Pickford, Coleman, Godfrey, Holgate, Digne, Allan, Andre Gomes, Sigurdsson, Calvert-Lewin, Rodriguez, Richarlison
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