538 gives Arsenal a 4% chance to pull off the incredible on Sunday. Four percent that the Gunners defeat Everton at home and that Tottenham fails to pick up a point at the last-place club in the Premier League, Norwich City. It would be quite the ending to Arsenal’s season, but highly unlikely and mostly out of their control. Regardless Mikel Arteta will be hoping for a response after two defeats in a row, a win in front of the home crowd at the Emirates, and a positive note heading into the summer.
Arsenal was handed a slight boost on Thursday when Everton came from behind to win 3-2 against Crystal Palace, ensuring their safety in the Premier League for next season. After several months of dealing with the pressure of possible relegation, Everton can finally enter a match on Sunday with more freedom. If Arsenal is to do their part at the weekend they will need to reverse recent results against Everton. The Gunners have lost three straight to the Blues and only found one win in the last six in the series.
Make sure to also check out this match’s Q&A with the Royal Blue Mersey where we discuss Everton’s switch to Frank Lampard, their Premier League survival, the summer transfer market, and a weekend prediction.
- Alexandre Lacazette
- Emile Smith Rowe
- Bernd Leno
- Albert Sambi Lokonga
- Takehiro Tomiyasu
- Zak Swanson
- Charlie Patino
- Left Out: Kieran Tierney (injury) & Thomas Partey (injury)
- Smith Rowe or Martinelli? Next season will one be established as the Premier League starter and the other in Europe? Smith Rowe has 11 goals and two assists, outperforming his 5.8 xG. Meanwhile, Martinelli has five goals and assists with a slightly higher xG+xA/90 than Smith Rowe (0.43 vs. 0.37). Take your pick really. Either has had moments of delight this season, but both still have loads of more potential to develop in the years to come.
- Speaking of performing against your xG let’s look to the front. Lacazette has an xG of 7.8 but has only scored six times. Aubameyang before he left had an xG of 5.8 and managed seven goals. But Eddie Nketiah, who only finally got a consistent run in the final months of the season, has matched Auba’s xG number of 5.8 but has scored nine times. Arsenal’s lack of a productive forward throughout the season is a key reason they didn’t easily finish in the top four. Eddie’s been the best lately and the best on average for the Gunners this season. As such he should start again for Arsenal, regardless of his future at the club.
- The biggest question mark for the starting lineup remains Arsenal’s backline. Does Tomiyasu’s early exit on Monday end up ruling him out? Will Arteta give Rob Holding a chance to end his season on a positive note? If Gabriel and White are fit, both start. On the left, I believe Nuno Tavares deserves another go. I thought he was having a solid match against Newcastle before being subbed off and given Arsenal needed goals Tavares should have been left on to help push up in the attack. Let’s see Nuno back on the left, allow him to push up at times with Martinelli, and shift to a back three with Holding in the middle when Arsenal goes on the offensive.
- This match will hopefully be the last time Arsenal’s bench looks as such. By the time the 2022-23 season kicks off Partey and Tierney will be healthy, U23s will no longer fill out the 18, the likes of Pepe, Lacazette, Nketiah, Leno, and/or Cedric may have left the club, and numerous summer signings will be added to the squad. Arsenal took a risk with a thin squad to start the season and doubled down on that gamble in January. It nearly worked out, but critical injuries at the wrong time and that lack of depth significantly hindered their top-four chances.
How to watch
Sunday (5/22) at 11:00 am ET / 8:00 am PT on CNBC and Peacock Premium.
Arsenal - 2
Everton - 1
The pressure is off for Everton, how might that impact their starting XI and performance? And for the most part, the pressure is off for Arsenal as well having missed their chance twice over the past ten days. Now of course Arsenal wants to win, win at home, end with a win, and do their part in that potential overtake of Spurs. But knowing those odds they can hopefully play with a sense of freedom and end the season on a positive note. It’s been a really good season for Arsenal and they should carry that momentum through the summer.