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Everton versus Arsenal: midweek preview

By Phil Gregory

Arsenal are off to Goodison Park for our midweek game, after a weekend devoid of Gooner-related activity. This probably went in our favour despite our excellent recent run of performances, with tired legs benefitting from a bit of an extra breather, those carrying knocks better rested and the chance for some of our injured players to get back in contention for the match day squad.

Indeed, Everton were in action at the weekend perhaps giving us a slight edge in that regard. We’re not talking about terrible fixture congestion here for the Toffees, with a rest from Saturday to Wednesday perfectly reasonable, but it can’t hurt Arsenal’s chances going into the game.

In regards to injuries, the squad is slowly edging back to health. Santos was on the bench recently and Wenger has confirmed he is fully fit and ready to play, while Diaby made a return for the reserves versus Liverpool. Wilshere seems to be fit with the question mark remaining over when he will return to match fitness: given the length of his absence to date, it could be some time. Long term absentees Mertesacker and Frimpong remain out, however young midfielder Francis Coquelin should be back in the near term.

Szcznesy

Sagna Koscielny Vermaelen Gibbs

Song Arteta

Rosicky

Walcott Van Persie Chamberlain

Don’t change it if it isn’t broken and, with the way recent results have been, the Arsenal first eleven is certainly not broken. With a nice breather between this game and the last, I can see no reason why any member of the previous eleven wouldn’t keep their place for what is likely to be a tricky tie up at Goodison Park.

Everton don’t have too many men injured, with the biggest losses being wide player Coleman and the defensively minded Jack Rodwell. Everton’s height and aerial ability in midfield could cause us problems in contesting the long balls, with the likes of Fellaini and Cahill likely to dominate Arteta and Rosicky in the air. As ever with Arsenal, the best course of action will be to keep it on the ground and play it out from the back: Everton may look to press from the front to tempt us into the long ball however. Arsenal will need to be at their fluent best to play around any such pressure, though I’d certainly back the likes of Arteta, Song and Rosicky to deal with such an approach.

Mikel Arteta’s first return to Goodison will be interesting, given his lengthy service there. The slightly last minute nature of his departure may not have pleased Everton fans, but I imagine that largely came down to Arsenal’s late approach than any inconsiderately timed desire to leave on the part of Mikel. Hopefully Arteta gets a reception his lengthy and committed service to Everton deserves but if not, the best way to silence fans is with a performance!

Clearly then this game is a tough one, everybody knows Everton are a solid, committed side. It wouldn’t be the end of the world if we drew here as it is a fairly tough fixture, but a win would do fantastic things for our chances of overhauling Spurs. Any dropped points could be made up in the remaining games, but allowing Spurs to extend the lead between us once again – assuming they win their game at home versus Stoke – would take off some of the pressure that has been building on them.

I’m going to go for a narrow 1-0 to the Arsenal. Hopefully we score early and it’s not too nail-biting: I can’t get to a screen for this one as I’ll be travelling back from London so I don’t fancy an evening of anxious live text refreshing! Enjoy the game Gooners.


38 comments to Everton versus Arsenal: midweek preview

  • Mandy dodd

    Agree with you on a narrow win. We need to keep this run going, not only catching spurs, but also the nuclear option of Chelsea winning the Cl and finishing out of the top four, unlikely it will happen but we need third for many reasons.

  • ak47

    im worried the extra bit of rest might see us start a bit slow and pursue another record. but i feel confident that “every game is a cup final’ has been absorbed by this platoon. although its no shame if it happens, as this has been an abnormal season. but…what arsenal player really would like to be remembered as part of the team that finished below the twitch project.
    that kind of written history i dont need.
    sharpen your teeth unit 12. tomorrow……we eat toffee.

  • Goona Gal

    @ Phil, you make some very good points about Everton. After a couple of bad results (they were mugged on Sat), I am sure they will be looking to take their frustrations out on Arsenal. For the first time in what feels like a very, very long time, we have competition for places in the team. I think Everton will be looking to capitalise on home advantage and so I would make changes to the squad. I would put Santos back into the starting line up, if he really is fit then I think we need him in what is going to be an agressive and physical match. Gibbs is better off starting in the Villa home game. I would start Gervinho instead of Alex OC as I think he is due a massive performance, he should now be well rested and ready to exorcise a few demons. I have a funny feeling that he will get an assist and/or goal tomorrow.

    All being well, my subs are Gibbs, Ramsey and Alex OC.

    The game is massive and I hope the players are up for it and focused after the big gap without a game. At the same time I hope they are not too nervous and just go out there and play with belief and intensity. Everton will be cautious and looking to hit us on the counter, so we need to be defensively tight. I will be suprised if they have fully recovered from their FA Cup game so we could exploit this by moving the ball around quickly.

  • Goona Gal

    @ ak47 – agreed!

  • Jerry

    I don’t see AW changing the line up. But I want to see Gervinho, Benayoun and Ramsey at least mid way into the 2nd half, that means the 1st 11 has to get the job done early. With two 1st half goals and two second half goals, the gunners would paint goodison park red. And I pray Arteta isn’t booed, it will affect his performance if that happens.

  • Damien Luu

    Yeah, I would also play Gervinho at the start and save The Ox for second half, when legs begin to be tired and he could make something special. I am afraid that we will only take our winning goal in the second half, too, but I hope it won’t come too late. Not good for (our) hearts, guys.

  • T2T

    For the first time in a very long time, we have actually real competition for several places in the starting XI. I kind of agree with Goona Gal regarding AOC and Gervinho. However, I would be careful about starting with Santos as he´s been out for so long and I wouldn´t want to have a forced sub again (as with Diaby). I also think Ramsey getting a bit of rest and less pressure will do him good as when he came on and scored with practically his first kick on the ball.

    An interesting article in The Independent (http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/premier-league/the-fight-for-the-top-four-7579374.html). The prediction is Spurs 72p, Arsenal 75p and Chelsea only 66p. In the same article, they predict Everton will win.

  • Gord

    In a couple of articles I seen today, there was talk about Park and his delay for joining the armed forces. I guess the approval to delay was given quite a bit before we seen it announced. But the articles both mentioned some kind of ongoing negotiation that Arsenal has been involved in, that involves Park. And it is because of those negotiations that Park hasn’t been playing. I don’t know if it makes any sense, it could just be more babble like the endless transfer talk. But, if it is real, we might see Park at some point as well.

  • Johny Come Lately

    oh man, we have to win soo bad… Is having 9 days rest too long a rest period? or is Everton in a better place cos they are still feeling the Sunderland game so still feel like footballers, where as we have been sitting back playing play station and eating japanese food on sat night?
    I dont care, we need to take all 3 points this game…
    Comon you Arsenal, by far the greatest team….

  • Jim

    A big shout to my arsenal supporting fellow-countrymen. For many years, sports channels in India have been unfair to arsenal matches, rarely showing them live while broadcasting live matches of other teams, even Spurs. Finally gooners across India opposed this unfair treatment and signed online petitions and now these channels relented. From now on, we’ll get to see live arsenal matches, beginning with today’s Everton game. I really hope we win tonight just like my fellow gooners won. Up Arsenal.

    http://arsenalindiasupporters.com/2012/03/21/gooners-outrage-against-espn-star/

  • RedGooner

    Not sure but I think Arsenal will win this comfortably enough maybe even 3-0.
    I think Everton have one eye on the cup and are safe in the league….. despite the fact they played well against City and Chelsea at home we should be a little more rested and we also have more to gain from league points.
    Our history of always doing well at goodison park hopefuly will continue.

  • Tasos

    After nine days rest and recovery Arsenal should be raring to go at Goodison Park tonight. The rest will help the team perform to the required level, and the required level should be good enough to beat Everton on most occasions.

    Agree with Phil, if it aint broke don’t fix it, I’m expecting the same team, or at least the same defensive unit tonight. Its no coincidence our recent good run has come about once we have been able to field a consistent defence, with continuity comes confidence and that confidence has undoubtedly helped us to our recent victories.

    The one thing that does irritate Me tonight though is the appearance of Lee Mason in the middle.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Arsenal 3-1 for me .We really need this !

  • Arun

    @ Jim, it is more down to their ‘idiot’ pundits than anything else. Some of whom claim that s*** spuds have been better than us for some years now and they discuss the ref decisions in the reverse fixture of tonight while editing out the rvp goal against manc in the same week. In my opinion, the coverage of ten sports and ten action is far better than theirs. Great work done by the lads at arsenal india supporters. But you can always catch a stream live on the internet. There are a lot of good sites for this thing.

  • Chowdhury

    @Jim –> Man, you must be the Santa Claus.

    This morning I checked the local paper and saw “Spuds vs Stoke” scheduled at StarSports. Made me sick. Who on earth wants to see Stoke play? Do they even play football? I thought they just kick it around until the opportunity comes to break someone’s leg.

    A new petition should be started to bring the person to trial who made the schedule. Forcing the audience to see “Spuds vs Stoke”. Must be someone with lots of “issues”.

    I checked the ESPNStar site few minutes ago and they are showing “Arsenal vs. Everton” for now. Sanity at last. 🙂

  • Mahdain

    @arun the pundits at espnstar are a joke..their monday night verdict is on par with MOTD shitness and always negative about Arsenal…and how could they even think of showing spuds v stoke when the mighty Arsenal are playing? Its good that they finally came to their senses albeit with gooners pressure

  • Although I can’t speak for India, there is a good reason why Arsenal must be put down by pundits in the UK.

    As Walter’s articles have shown for a long while, and as his latest article confirmed our research and detailed research from another source shows, Arsenal are on the losing end of bad ref decisions – more than any other club.

    That is fairly self-evident on TV – and so raises the issue “why is the ref biased.”

    TV stations cannot get into this because they need to EPL to be seen as open and fair, otherwise the audience starts to drift away. So the TV stations must put the blame somewhere – and they put it at Arsenal’s own door.

    They follow the “bad decisions even themselves out in the end” philosophy (which we have shown statistically is not true) because to do otherwise would damage the audience they have paid to get.

  • Ong Bing

    We will take 3rd place from Spud! This week!
    And Chelski will lose 3 points again.

  • Dan T

    Come on you gunners! A hard game to predict score but I am always confident, 4-1 (the one an 80th minute consolation).

    Oh and…

    Come on you potters! – Urrgh! I feel dirty now

  • ak47

    great link jim. indeed dan. ha, gonna need a wire brush scrub down.
    a s***cross winner would recover 1% on what he done to rambo.

  • Yommex

    I think we can be on to something bigger than finishing 3rd if we maintain this excellent run of form similar to the one we had earlier in the season. If Manchester City suffer an implosion which may not be unlikely given the recall of Tevez, then within the next 5 weeks we may get as close to them as we are to Spurs with 12 points becoming reduced to 3 with about 4 matches to go. The only advantage I can see here for them is their almost unassailable goal difference. One thing we must all be united about however is what the Captain, RvP, himself said that is to reenact this same attitude and spirit over a season.

  • Arvind

    Yeah a friend called and said they were showing Spurs vs Stoke on Star Sports. Sick. Hopefully our game gets shown and we win.

    Why do you guys even bother watching Monday night and other trash? Previously presentation used to be good with John Dykes. Since he’s left its that hugely narcissistic Andrew Leci who cracks jokes which only he understands, pokes fun at everyone and asks leading questions which answer themselves. I don’t think I’ve managed to hear more than 2 minutes of his junk.

    Paul Masefield used to be okay and PJ Roberts and Shebby at times are ok..the rest are just sick and talk utter utter drivel around 80% of the time. These days I mute the game, go sleep for 20 minutes from 2-2:20am and then come back and watch the second half. I boycott every other football show dilligently too.

    I recommend all you guys do the same; it’ll help you understand the game better too.

  • Mahdain

    @arvind yeah i can say shebby is the only decent of the lot..one thing im grateful for them is their showing of the PL…up until recently here in Tanzania the only way to watch PL was through Supersport channels which is bloody expensive but thankfully one of cable providers added ESPNStar to their listings and hence subscribed to them as it was relatively cheaper. other than that all their other programs are pathetic..

  • Damien Luu

    @Arvind: Have been doing that since I can’t remember when 😉

  • Damien Luu

    @Mahdain: Same here in Vietnam. Bloody expensive subscription if you want to watch games on Sat and Sun (and everything else is pathetic), otherwise you can only watch games on Sat. It used to be much better than this when I watch EPL the first time. God damn them, those cable companies!

  • Mahdain

    @damien used to be the same here in earlier years where the local channels were showing almost every match but alas it was deemed illegal to telecast them when sky sold the rights to multichoice and supersport….sky are the only ones to blame for this as they just dont seem to get enough of $$$ even though they milk people to the extreme..

  • Ong Bing

    Go Gunners! Go!
    85″ – Spud 0-1 Stoke
    85″ – MCity 2-1 Chelski
    73″ – Everton 0-1 Arsenal

  • Ong Bing

    What a week!

    Arry fail to make new record, Spud held by Potters.
    MCity comming from behind to break Di Matteo heart. (and Roman)
    We win again.
    And the fantastic QPR comming from behind from 2 goals down, no CL next season for Pool.

    We are above Spud!!!
    I love EPL!!!

  • Asif

    Wilshere hire me to count the cash off Defoe! Spuds have spudded and we move to third!!! WOW…its 3:30 in the morning here and all this has been worthwhile…i feel like screaming! What a defensive display, have never seen a more commanding performance from Kosc and TV5…who says we lack leaders, Rosicky was stellar…an overall team performance and the way stand for each other.WOW!!! Go Arsenal Go…

  • Asif

    Thanks ESPNStar…there is a Gunner fan in there somewhere!!!

  • Mandy dodd

    Sometimes that is the most beautiful score of all! Another great night. Wonder if king kenny will get the same treatment from the media wenger has suffered?

  • ak47

    ridiculous.

  • Mahdain

    a great night indeed…mason was a disgrace. im eagerly waiting for the ref review

  • Mihir

    The linesmen were with us though! I can predict the post match reports harping about the disallowed goal but then Rosicky had a clear cut penalty call denied! Shhhhhhh…… that’s not in the script!

  • Shakabula Gooner

    Phil got it right!
    An early goal and a watertight defese to the end.
    Chelsea is now 6points behind and Tiny Tots are a point behind.
    A very productive mid-week.
    Go Gooners!

  • Mandy dodd

    Is it possible our defence have been getting some coaching from the likes of bould or keown? Clean sheets, playing offside traps!!! Or do we just have a very good defence now in place?

  • That’ll do me just fine! Gerrin lads

  • Stuart

    Mandy, we had a fairly good defence anyway the problem was being able to play the same players together and/or the players we wanted in each position. I recall us having 4 centrebacks out for one game.