Everton host Arsenal at Goodison Park in Saturday’s early kickoff in the Premier League. The Toffees sit in the relegation zone and appointed Sean Dyche this week. The Gunners sit five points clear at the top of the table and could hand a debut to some new signings. The hosts are four matches unbeaten against Arsenal at home with three wins.
The Toffees have won just once in 12 league matches. Their last seven matches in the Premier League have seen six losses and one draw, a shock 1-1 point on the road at Man City. After a 3-0 win at home to Crystal Palace in October, they drew 0-0 at Fulham. It proved a false dawn as the side has been in freefall since then.
Their last seven have seen just four goals scored and three blanks fired. Frank Lampard survived a 3-0 loss at Bournemouth before the World Cup. His side were then beaten at home by Wolves (1-2) and Brighton (1-4) on either side of the Man City draw. A fourth home loss in a row saw a 2-1 loss to bottom-placed Southampton. After losing 2-0 at West Ham last time out, a change of manager was finally made.
Everton Team News
The January window saw Anthony Gordon sold for £40m to Newcastle but not a single new signing arrived. In defence, Michael Keane, Ben Gordon, and Nathan Patterson are all out injured. Sean Dyche is expected to use a back four with former player James Tarkowski at centre-back.
Andros Townsend and James Garner remain absent with long-term injuries. If his favoured 4-4-2 is used, then Neil Maupay could return from the cold to partner Dominic Calvert-Lewin. Former Burnley man Dwight McNeil is set to start under his former manager.
Dyche has been running the players hard on the training ground and he will expect effort and aggression. A tight, compact 4-4-2 is expected but his Burnley side did press on occasion, usually on second balls from direct play from the back.
A draw would be a fantastic result and Everton could effectively play for one from the first whistle.
Not much more can be said about Arsenal’s league season so far. They’ve lost just once and their last 13 matches have brought 11 wins and two draws. Those dropped points at Southampton and home to Newcastle were frustrating results, showing how well the Gunners have played this season.
Those two surprising draws sandwiched five successive wins with some convincing displays. Since the draw against the Magpies, it’s been a 2-0 win at North London rivals, Tottenham, and a 3-2 win over Man Utd at home. Although it took a last-minute winner, Mikel Arteta’s side put up 2.99 xG more than the Red Devils in a convincing victory. Their last match saw a 1-0 FA Cup loss at Man City with a few players rested.
Arsenal Team News
The big injury concern is over Thomas Partey. He has an abdominal injury and is touch-and-go to feature in this match. If he misses out, then deadline day signing Jorginho from Chelsea will play the number six role. Gabriel Jesus remains injured up front, and both Mohamed Elneny and Emile Smith Rowe join him in missing this match.
January signing Leandro Trossard is set to feature from the subs bench. Centre-back Jakub Kiwior will have to wait for his debut with Gabriel and William Saliba remaining in central defence.
Nothing less than a win would be seen as a good result for Arteta against his former club (as a player). Arsenal will attack and look to impose themselves on Everton.
Arsenal will expect some aerial balls to deal with and don’t be surprised to see Rob Holding or Kiwior thrown into the action in the second half to assist in defending crosses.
Arsenal have won 11 of their last 13 PL matches (D2)
Arsenal have kept 6 clean sheets in their last 7 away PL matches
Arsenal are winless in 4 trips to Goodison Park (losing 3 of those)
Everton have lost 6 of their last 7 PL matches
Everton have 4 goals in their last 8 PL matches
Everton have lost 4 home matches in a row (in the EPL)
This match got a lot harder for Arsenal after Sean Dyche took over. The crowd will be behind the team and a direct style is expected. The Gunners have plenty of steel now and should be able to take a narrow win in this match to end their Goodison hoodoo.
Best Bet: Arsenal win and under 3.5 goals at 2.15