Arsenal will host Everton in Saturday’s late kick off, as they look to continue their good form – following a morale boosting 2-0 win over Bayern Munich in midweek.
Kick Off: 16:00 Saturday 24th October (BST)
Venue: Emirates Stadium
Last Season: Arsenal 2-0 Everton
Arsenal: Arteta (unknown), Ospina (shoulder, 21 Nov), Ramsey (hamstring, 21 Nov), Rosicky (knee, Jan), Wilshere (leg, Jan), Welbeck (knee, Jan)
Everton:Besic (hamstring), Baines (ankle), Hibbert (knee), Pienaar (hamstring, all 1 Nov)
The Gunners must be wary of fatigue going into this one, especially for those players who were used extensively over the international break. When Aaron Ramsey pulled up with a hamstring injury on Tuesday night, it showed how some players are simply one step away from being out for a month.
With Everton, Sheffield Wednesday (League Cup) and Swansea all to play in the next seven days, Wenger needs to try and carefully rotate and still take maximum points from the games.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is likely to come in for Aaron Ramsey on the right wing, that may in turn see Olivier Giroud come in at centre forward to replace Theo Walcott. The Frenchman keeps scoring off the bench and maybe deserves a start, whilst Walcott looks a little jaded. In Ramsey’s absence, Giroud can offer the front three link up qualities that Theo is yet to master.
One to watch: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
Chamberlain has looked brilliant in parts this season, but has sometimes really let down the team. His concentration and consistency is still lacking – he needs to prove himself. With so much potential, we are yet to see much of it translate into quality in a first team match. Perhaps with Aaron Ramsey out for a month, this is when we will see the best of the Ox.
Arsenal XI (4-2-3-1): Cech; Bellerin, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal; Coquelin, Cazorla; Chamberlain, Ozil, Alexis; Giroud
Currently in a respectable 9th position, ambitious Roberto Martinez will want more. After a drubbing against Manchester United last week, they will be looking to bounce back. Everton have won just two of their last seven league games, whilst the Gunners have won five, and lost just once in their last eight. It won’t be easy for Martinez and Everton, but in Naismith, Lukaku and Deulofeu, the visitors have weapons that are capable of severely hurting the Gunners backline.
What’s important for Everton is that they are solid defensively, as Arsenal are are scoring for fun lately, averaging over 3 goals a game in their last 5 games, despite those games including the likes of Manchester United and Bayern Munich.
One to watch: Steven Naismith
Naismith is always the man for the big occasion. His hat trick against Chelsea earlier in the season proved that, and he will be hoping to cause similar damage to Arsenal on Saturday night.
Everton XI (4-2-3-1): Howard; Coleman, Stones, Jagielka, Galloway; McCarthy, Barry; Deulofeu, Barkley, Naismith; Lukaku
Prediction: Arsenal 2-0 Everton
It’s never easy when Arsenal play Everton, but I’m confident that we have enough quality to see this game through, I’m going for 2-0 in the end. I think Giroud will get on the scoresheet again, and have a weird feeling Koscielny might score from a set piece.