Everton vs. Arsenal
Saturday 23rd August 2014 – 5:30pm
Sky Sports 1
Already touted as the first six pointer of the season, 90 minutes at Goodison Park this Saturday could go a long way in deciding which club hosts European football next campaign. Arsene Wenger takes his men to Merseyside off the back of European qualification 0-0 draw with Turkish side Bestikas, whilst Roberto Martinez has had over a week with his side to prepare after last Saturday’s draw at Leicester.
Arsenal will be hoping Alexis Sanchez can blossom in arguably his biggest game thus far at the club, whilst Everton will be relying on record signing Romelu Lukaku to show some of the bullying form and force he showed in a blue shirt last season. Arsenal having a real mentality brewing, and with winning becoming a habit, Arsenal will still fancy themselves to come up with the goods the later the game goes on. Midfield pair Gareth Barry and James McCarthy will have their hands full trying to stem the flood of late runs from Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshire. McCarthy incidentally has already notched up 150 Premier League games for Wigan Athletic and Everton respectively, at the tender age of just 23.
A huge match on only the second weekend of the brand new Premier League campaign – Arsenal left it late to pull away from Everton last season, claiming fourth sport by seven points in the process. Everton, without European football at Goodison Park for ten years, will be desperate to bring some continental cheer to Merseyside this year.
Arsenal could rotate their starting eleven after their first leg Champions League qualifying round match in Turkey on Tuesday evening. The Gunners are expected to recall German trio Mesut Ozil, Per Mertesacker and Lucas Podolski following their World Cup exploits. Theo Walcott is still not ready to return to first team action whilst Serge Gnarby, David Ospina and Ryo Miyaichi are all expected to miss out. Aresne Wenger must decide whether to recall French striker Oliver Giroud, or persist with young Frenchman Yaya Sanogo.
Everton’s crown jewel Ross Barkley is set to miss up to six weeks following a knee injury sustained just days before the Premier League kick off and boss Roberto Martinez could again opt for Aiden McGeady to sit alongside Steven Naismith and Steven Pienaar in midfield. Bryan Oviedo is still recovering from the broken leg sustained last January.
Probable Line Ups
Everton: Howard, Stones, Jagielka, Distin, Baines, Barry, McCarthy, McGeady, Naismith, Pienaar, Lukaku
Arsenal: Szczesny, Gibbs, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Debuchy, Cazorla, Ramsey, Arteta, Wilshire, Sanchez, Giroud
Stats and Facts
Everton could only draw with newly promoted Leicester City last weekend, while Arsenal needed a late Aaron Ramsey goal to seal all three points at home to manager-less Crystal Palace.
Aaron Ramsey has scored in three of Arsenal’s last four Premier League games, whilst Everton have conceded at least two goals in the same amount of games.
Head to Heads
Last season’s corresponding fixture saw Everton turn over the Gunners 3-0, with goals from then loanee, Romelu Lukaku, Steven Naismith and a Mikel Arteta own goal. The Toffees stunned Arsenal, who despite having the majority of possession, struggled turning their dominance into goals as Roberto Martinez’s men posted a fantastic win at Goodison.
06/04/14 Premier League – Everton 3-0 Arsenal
08/03/14 FA Cup – Arsenal 4-1 Everton
08/12/13 Premier League – Arsenal 1-1 Everton
16/12/13 Premier League – Arsenal 0-0 Everton
28/11/12 Premier League – Everton 0-0 Arsenal
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