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Arsenal vs. Everton match thread: payback

Three points at home are a must.

Arsenal FC v Everton FC - Premier League Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images

Arsenal have a score to settle. Everton visit the Emirates this evening, having taken points off the Gunners far too frequently of late, including beating them at Goodison Park at the start of February. If the Gunners want to win the Premier League, they have to be taking full points from the Toffees. Arsenal have won two on the bounce. Everton won two and lost two in February.

Today’s match is Arsenal’s game-in-hand over Manchester City. A win restores the five-point cushion and means that the Gunners would control their own Premier League fate no matter the result at the Etihad in late April, all else being equal. A draw or a loss essentially means that Arsenal need to take points off City on the road to guarantee the PL title.

The key to today’s match will be whether Arsenal have a better response to the now familiar tactic of double-teaming the wide attackers. Copying Newcastle, Everton used it to great effect a few weeks ago against the Gunners. Arsenal should expect to see it again this evening and regularly in the Premier League going forward.

One of the ways to beat it is to have Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli start on the touchline and run inside to receive the ball with momentum towards the middle of the pitch. That takes them away from the “third defender” that is the sideline. Saka in particular has been making those runs the past two matches and will continue to do so today. It’s also important for Granit Xhaka and Martin Ødegaard to play well. They both will have more time and space in the middle, Xhaka in particular, and they need to punish Everton for allowing it to them. Finally, Leandro Trossard leading the line instead of Eddie Nketiah should help. Trossard is more likely to come wider to support his teammates with combination passing.

Everton will be without Dominic Calvert-Lewin (who just cannot stay healthy), Nathan Patterson, and James Garner. Michael Keane makes his first start for the Toffees since November. Arsenal’s injury list is unchanged. Mohamed Elneny is out for the season. Gabriel Jesus is progressing in his recovery and could return before the upcoming international break. Thomas Partey and Emile Smith Rowe are both on the bench once again. Reiss Nelson is dropped for numbers reasons.

Arsenal - Ramsdale, White, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko, Xhaka, Jorginho, Ødegaard, Saka, Martinelli, Trossard

Everton - Pickford, Mykolenko, Keane, Tarkowski, Coleman, Gana, Doucoure, Onana, Iwobi, McNeil, Maupay

WHAT: Arsenal vs Everton
WHEN: Wednesday, March 1st, 11:45 am PT | 2:45 pm ET | 7:45 pm BT
WHERE: The Emirates Stadium, London
HOW TO WATCH: Broadcast live on the USA Network. Streaming on

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