Can the Gunners beat the Toffees to earn their first away win of the Premier League season

Everton host Arsenal in the Premier League at Goodison Park this afternoon (1.30pm kick-off UK time).

The fixture will be used to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Pink Ribbon and raise money for the Breast Cancer Care Charity, with all supporters encouraged to wear an item that is pink to support the campaign.

The Toffees start the day in 16th position in the Premier League table, with eight points from eight matches.

It has been a poor start for Ronald Koeman’s side, particularly after spending heavily in the summer transfer window.

Everton spent £140m on players last summer, but sit two points above the relegation zone and have two wins from eight Premier League games.

Everton have eight points from eight games – their worst start to a Premier League campaign for nine years.

The Toffees have registered only two wins in 12 games in all competitions.

They have scored just five league goals – only Bournemouth and Crystal Palace have fewer prior to the latest round of matches.

Only in 2005-06 have the Toffees netted fewer than six goals in their opening nine matches of a top-flight campaign.

Everton could go 17 home top-flight matches without a draw for the first time since 1932.

They could also lose five consecutive Premier League games against London opposition for the first time since 2005.

Koeman has been given the dreaded vote of confidence by majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri and chairman Bill Kenwright.

Another defeat today will further test the level of confidence that the Dutchman retains.

Wayne Rooney’s 90th-minute penalty earned Everton a 1-1 draw at Brighton last Sunday.

Everton were beaten 2-1 by Lyon in the Europa League on Thursday night.

The Toffees remain at the bottom of Europa League Group E, without a victory in the group stage.

They are without a win in four games in all competitions.

Arsenal start the day in 7th position in the Premier League table, with thirteen points from eight matches.

The Gunners have lost three of their opening eight Premier League matches (W4, D1).

Arsenal are yet to win on their Premier League travels this season (L3, D1).

Despite taking the lead last time out Arsenal were beaten 2-1 by Watford at Vicarage Road.

The defeat against Watford last weekend is the Gunners only loss in their last nine league and cup games (W7, D1).

However, a defeat would mean they equal Wenger’s lowest points tally (13) after nine league fixtures.

Arsenal could go five away league matches without a win for the first time in 10 years.

The Gunners have conceded an unrivalled 11 goals from penalties since the start of 2016-17.

Only Crystal Palace (29) have conceded more Premier League away goals than Arsenal’s 26 in 2017 (prior to the latest round of matches).

The Gunners got back to winning ways in the Europa League with a 1-0 victory away to Red Star Belgrade on Thursday night.

It maintained Arsenal’s 100% record in Europa League Group H, with three wins.

Head-to-Head

Everton have just two wins in the last 23 meetings between the sides, but those two wins have been in their last four Premier League home matches against Arsenal (D1 L1). Having failed to win any of the previous six against them at Goodison Park.

The Toffees won the corresponding fixture against the Gunners last season, with a 2-1 success in December 2016. A result that brought to an end a run of just one win in 10 games for Everton.

Arsenal have beaten Everton more times than any other club has beaten another in English Football League history (94 wins).

A 12th Arsenal victory at Goodison Park would match their record of away wins against a Premier League rival.

The Gunners have already won more Premier League matches against Everton (30) than against any other opponent.

There has been a red card in three of the last four Premier League meetings – most recently the 14th minute dismissal of Laurent Koscielny during Arsenal’s home 3-1 win in May.

Key Men

Everton

Wayne Rooney’s first Premier League goal was against Arsenal in October 2002 – he has scored more goals against the Gunners than any other player in the competition (11).

Arsenal

The Gunners record signing Alexandre Lacazette has yet to score away from home for his new team. His four Arsenal goals have all been scored at the Emirates Stadium.

The Managers

Ronald Koeman

Koeman could become the first manager to win his first four home Premier League matches against Arsene Wenger. He won the first three by an aggregate score of 8-1.

This is what Koeman had to say about his future.

“The final decision is by the board not myself,” Koeman said of his position.

If the board thinks I am not the right man they will tell me.

Of course. If the team is not winning and if the team is not performing when maybe they can, then it’s always the manager (who takes the blame).

If you look back to last season, we had some great games against some of the big teams in the Premier League. And why not against Arsenal?

Arsenal is not unbeatable, it’s also not the strongest team away from home this season.”

Arsene Wenger

This fixture marks Arsene Wenger’s 400th Premier League away match, making him the second manager to reach the milestone after Sir Alex Ferguson. Arsenal are one short of 1500 Premier League goals under Wenger.

“It’s very difficult for me to assess the situation of our opponents. I believe Everton are a good side and it’s always very difficult at Everton. We just want to focus on ourselves and our own performance. That’s all we can do.

We are in the position as well where we want to strengthen our position in the league. After a negative result, we want to respond very quickly. Is it a good or a bad time to play Everton? I can give you the answer at the end of the game. Before the game you never know how difficult the game will be, but you prepare to give your best and you prepare in your mind to play against a team who will play well.”

Team News

Everton

Wayne Rooney should start after being rested for the Europa League defeat by Lyon.

Gylfi Sigurdsson, Leighton Baines, Idrissa Gueye and Phil Jagielka could also return, whilst James McCarthy has overcome a knee injury and may feature.

Arsenal

Arsene Wenger will make wholesale changes to the side that beat Red Star Belgrade in the Europa League on Thursday. Only Petr Cech from that starting eleven is guaranteed to start.

Alexis Sanchez is fit to return after being left out of the squad for the Premier League defeat to Watford.

Aaron Ramsey (fatigue) and Laurent Koscielny (cramp) are also fit to return.

Danny Welbeck is out for three weeks with a groin injury.

David Ospina is out for two weeks with a grade 1 groin problem.

Shkodran Mustafi is out for up to six weeks with a hamstring injury.

Match Officials

Referee: Craig Pawson
Assistants: Lee Betts, Eddie Smart
Fourth official: Bobby Madley

Prediction

Arsenal to win 2-1.

 

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