Gunners at the last chance saloon
Gunners at the last chance saloon

Everton are out to end Arsenal’s rapidly fading Premier League title challenge at Goodison Park, at lunchtime today.

The Gunners haven’t won a Premier League fixture since beating leaders Leicester City 2-1 on the 14th February.

Arsenal go into the weekend round of fixtures trailing Leicester City by eleven points. They are now six points behind second placed Tottenham Hotspur. And the poor run of results has left them looking over their shoulders at Manchester City, who are one point behind, and fifth placed West Ham United who are three points behind.

Arsenal haven’t finished outside of the top four in the Premier League since Wenger took over in September 1996. The season before under Bruce Rioch when they came 6th.

Since Danny Welbeck’s last-minute winner on Valentine’s Day against Leicester City, the Gunners have exited the Champions League and the FA Cup.

The defeats in those competitions to Barcelona and Watford this week have turned up the pressure on Arsene Wenger and the players for tomorrow’s match.

Arsenal’s title challenge has faltered in recent weeks with the Gunners taking just 10 points from the last 27 available (W2 D4 L3).

The Gunners have also been struggling away from home winning just two of their last nine Premier League matches on the road (W2 D4 L3).

Arsenal have failed to win on their last three Premier League trips to Goodison Park (W0 D2 L1).

They can though take some comfort from Everton’s poor Premier League home record. The Toffees have won just one of their last eight Premier League games at Goodison Park (W1 D2 L5).

The Managers

Roberto Martinez

“I think we will approach it in the manner of the last eight games,” he said.

It doesn’t matter what competition we go in, we have to perform. We need to replicate the consistency and every game is vitally important.

I know what Arsene Wenger has done as a manager – bringing a very clear way of working, a completely different, new approach into football. The management that he brought into the British game has changed British football.

What he has achieved at Arsenal is a model that many, many football people have been inspired by. The short-term situation of one or two results sometimes overshadows the incredible work over the years.

The style that Arsene Wenger represents shouldn’t just be put aside. It’s just a reflection of the modern times when we are easily led to criticise a manager who has done incredible things in the game.”

Arsene Wenger

“I would say we have to go step by step,” Wenger said. “Let’s get back to winning habits first, that starts tomorrow… if we win tomorrow, we’ll see. That’s our target.

But at the moment, the only way to achieve something special is first to be realistic and humble enough to deal first with Everton.

Things will change until the end of the season, that’s for sure. We have to take care of our own destiny, and that’s by producing the performances we expect from ourselves.

It’s very tight, but I believe the Premier League is far from over. We are in a position where we hope for the best. I agree that a negative result would be very bad for us, but we focus on a positive result. We know now is the time for us to produce the result we want.

We also have to look behind us because things can change very quickly. We want to move forward, but I’m conscious that our position is not secure, even where we are.”

Key Men

Romelu Lukaku has scored twenty-five goals in all competitions this season, including eighteen in 28 Premier League appearances.

Olivier Giroud has scored five goals in his last five games in all competitions against Everton, including in each of the last three Barclays Premier League meetings.

Team news

Everton

Gareth Barry is suspended following his red card against Chelsea in the FA Cup last week and will begin a two-match ban, while Kevin Mirallas will also miss out as he completes a suspension.

Muhamed Besic has been declared fit and could replace Barry in midfield and Bryan Oviedo (chest infection) has a chance at returning to the squad following his illness too. 

Provisional squad: Robles, Howard, Jagielka, Funes Mori, Stones, Coleman, Oviedo, Baines, McCarthy, Barkley, Cleverley, Besic, Osman, Lennon, Deulofeu, Kone, Lukaku, Niasse.

Arsenal

Mathieu Flamini will miss the match, with a hamstring injury he picked up against Barcelona on Wednesday and is replaced in the squad by Calum Chambers.

Provisional squad: Ospina, Macey, Monreal, Gibbs, Gabriel, Chambers, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Bellerin, Elneny, Ozil, Reine-Adelaide, Iwobi, Sanchez, Campbell, Walcott, Welbeck, Giroud.

Prediction

Arsenal to get a much-needed 2-1 win to keep their season going for a little longer.

Key match statistics (supplied by Opta) 

Mesut Özil has scored two goals and assisted four more in five appearances in all competitions against the Toffees.

Everton have won just one of the last 18 matches in all competitions against the Gunners (W1 D6 L11).

Arsene Wenger’s side have won none of the last three Premier League trips to Goodison Park (W0 D2 L1).

Everton have won just one of their last eight Premier League games at Goodison Park (W1 D2 L5).

Arsenal have won just two of their last nine Premier League matches on the road (W2 D4 L3).

Arsenal’s title challenge has faltered in recent weeks with the Gunners taking just 10 points from the last 27 available (W2 D4 L3).

Arsenal have fired in the fewest shots on target from outside the box this season (25) and scored the joint-fewest goals from long-range (two along with Watford and Leicester).

Roberto Martinez’s team have committed the fewest fouls in the Premier League this season (235).

Only Arsenal (33) have picked up fewer yellow cards than Everton (36) in the top flight this season

Match Officials
Referee:
Mark Clattenburg Assistants: S Beck, R West Fourth Official: J Moss