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Arsenal vs. Everton: don’t step on the banana peel

The Gunners can’t let off. Not even for one match.

Arsenal Training Session Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

Arsenal travel north to Merseyside to take on Everton in Sean Dyche’s first match in charge. Hopefully the Toffees will be more the team languishing in 19th place in the table and not one galvanized by the new manager bounce. A match between teams nearly as far apart in the table as they possibly could be should not be this anxiety-inducing.

But here we are. Pretty much every match from here on out will feel this way, I think. It’s a blessing and a curse to be trying to hold off a Manchester City title challenger. Such is life at the top. Mikel Arteta’s side have faced test after test this season, and thus far, they’ve measured up.

Part of the reason today’s match feels like a trap game is that Arsenal have not fared well at Goodison Park of late. You have to go back to October 2017 for the last time the Gunners won away to the Toffees. Since then, Everton have won three and drawn one against Arsenal on their own ground. Last season, Everton managed their only win against Arsenal at Goodison in the middle of a long winless stretch of their season. They did the whole “kick ‘em off the pitch” effectively, helped by permissive refereeing. And y’all, Sean Dyche is their manager now.

Thomas Partey faces a late fitness test to determine his availability. The reporting during the week was that he should be good to go, but Mikel Arteta played it coy in his press conference. The Gunners will be without Emile Smith Rowe, who isn’t fit after his latest slight muscular issue. Gabriel Jesus is back training on grass but still a ways away. Reiss Nelson returned to full training this week but likely isn’t ready. Mohamed Elneny is out for the season.

James Garner, Nathan Patterson, and Andros Townsend are all out for Everton.

Arsenal - Ramsdale, White, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko, Partey, Xhaka, Odegaard, Martinelli, Saka, Nketiah

Everton - Pickford, Coleman, Toarkowski, Coady, Mykolenko, Gana, Onana, Doucoure, McNeil, Iwobi, Calvert-Lewin

WHAT: Arsenal at Everton
WHEN: Saturday, February 4th 4:30 am PT | 7:30 am ET | 12:30 pm BT
WHERE: Goodison Park
HOW TO WATCH: USA Network. Streaming on

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