Arsenal v Everton: Premier League Match Preview
Arsenal host Everton in the Premier League at the Emirates Stadium this afternoon (5.30pm kick-off UK time).
The Gunners are in 6th place in the Premier League table, with 42 points from 25 matches.
Their pursuit of a top 4 finish was dealt another blow with the 3-1 defeat to Swansea City at the Liberty Stadium on Tuesday.
It has left them 8 points behind 4th place Liverpool in the table.
The defeat to the Swans continued Arsenal’s abysmal away league form this season.
They have only taken 13 points away from home this season, their second fewest at this stage of a Premier League season (2005-06, 12 points).
Arsenal took the lead against Swansea, but have now lost 15 points from winning positions this season in the Premier League – only Watford have dropped more (Arsenal have won all eight Premier League home fixtures this season against teams below them in the table.16).
The Gunners home form has been more impressive and they have won all eight Premier League home fixtures this season against teams below them in the table.
Arsenal Wenger will also hope that new signings Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Henrikh Mkhitaryan will make an immediate impact.
A busy transfer window has seen Alexis Sanchez, Olivier Giroud, Theo Walcott, Francis Coquelin and Mathieu Debuchy depart.
There will be concern that Arsenal’s defensive deficiencies weren’t addresses during the transfer window.
They failed in a late move to sign West Bromwich Albion Captain Jonny Evans on transfer deadline day.
Arsenal will hope that home comforts help them to the three points.
They have never lost a Premier League match at the Emirates Stadium in February (P21 W17 D4 L0). Their last home defeat in this month came back in 2006 against West Ham at Highbury.
Overall though they have won only three of their last 11 league matches (D5, L3).
The Gunners began that run fourth in the table, two points ahead of fifth. Going into this weekend they are sixth, eight points adrift of fourth
Only Watford (16) have lost more Premier League points from a winning position than Arsenal’s 15 in 2017-18.
They have scored in their last 26 league games at the Emirates Stadium since a 0-0 draw against Middlesbrough in October 2016.
The Gunners have conceded the same number of goals as bottom of the table West Bromwich Albion.
They have made 11 errors leading to goals this season, the most in Europe’s top five leagues.
Sam Allardyce has steered Everton into 9th place in the Premier League table, with 31 points from 25 matches.
He, like his predecessor Ronald Koeman, has received significant financial backing in the transfer market.
Theo Walcott and Cenk Tosun have been signed in the January transfer window to boost the Toffees attacking options.
Walcott has made an immediate impact and his double earned the Toffees a 2-1 win over Leicester City on Wednesday.
It their first victory in eight games in all competitions.
The Toffees are winless in their last 27 Premier League away fixtures against clubs that finished in the top six last season.
Everton have though won a league-high 13 points from a losing position this campaign.
Everton have played more Premier League matches at the Emirates Stadium without winning (11 – W0 D4 L7) than any other club.
The Toffees have registered only two wins in 22 meetings in all competitions, most recently in December 2016.
Arsenal have scored 100 goals against Everton, the only club to do so against another Premier League team.
Mesut Ozil signed a contract extension on Thursday until 2021. He could today become the fastest player to reach 50 Premier League assists, having so far set up 49 goals in 136 appearances. The quickest player to reach the milestone was Eric Cantona, in 143 matches.
Theo Walcott makes a swift return to the Emirates Stadium. He’ll want to continue his positive start to his Toffees career. He scored twice in the 2-1 win over Leicester City at Goodison Park on Wednesday.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is suffering from a virus and may have to wait for his debut.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan is in line to make his home debut.
Jack Wilshere faces a fitness test after missing the defeat to Swansea City on Tuesday due to illness.
Danny Welbeck remains out.
Seamus Coleman returned to action on Wednesday against Leicester City after recovering from a broken leg.
Loan signing from Manchester City Eliaquim Mangala is in line for his debut.
“We lost a game we should not have lost, January was a very difficult month for us. As much as it was disappointing on the pitch-side, on the transfer side it worked well for us and that is what we have to show on the pitch in the coming months.
“Our defensive numbers aren’t good enough, that is where we need some strengthening.”
“It is a big gap (eight points behind 4th place Liverpool) but if we had won at Bournemouth and Swansea we would be two points behind.”
Allardyce is winless in 13 Premier League away games at Arsenal, losing the last eight in a row.
He took charge of his 1,000th game managing an English club against Leicester City on Wednesday (W389 D263 L348). He will today become the fifth manager to reach 500 Premier League matches. Only Arsene Wenger won his 500th match in charge. Harry Redknapp drew, while Sir Alex Ferguson and David Moyes both lost.
“The win over Leicester eases the pressure and the players were starting to feel that after a few games without a win,” he said. “When that happens the pressure mounts on all of us. Getting the result against City was very important because we had done so well when I first came.
“Even though we hadn’t won in our previous seven, we have stayed ninth. That we hadn’t moved in the table kept the pressure off us but it was getting to a point where had we not won and others did, we could have dropped four or five places. That would have put that pressure back on us.
“Looking at it from the other side, we are only three points off Leicester [in eighth]. So it’s a case of can we push on and be more consistent with our results? It’s a big ask ahead of Saturday because Arsenal’s home record is one of the best in the Premier League.”
This is what Allardyce had to say about Theo Walcott’s return to Arsenal.
“He will be doing the team talk tomorrow.”
On Arsenal he added:
“I have always thought Arsenal are defensively weak because they commit so many players forward.”
Referee: Neil Swarbrick
Assistants: Constantine Hatzidakis, Daniel Cook
Fourth official: Craig Pawson
Arsenal to win 3-1.