Everton face Arsenal in the English Premier League on Sunday. The hosts have just one point from four matches and have scored in two matches at Goodison Park this term. Arsenal travels to one of their bogey grounds hoping to end a five-match streak without victory at the Toffees.
It has not been a good start to the season for Sean Dyche’s team. They largely dominated Fulham on the opening day (2.73 xG and 19 shots) but were beaten 1-0 at home. A humiliating 4-0 defeat followed at Aston Villa as they were totally outclassed in allowing 3.00 xG and five ‘big chances’.
A week later, they were burgled again at home as an 87th-minute goal conceded saw Wolves leave with a 1-0 win. Everton had only allowed 0.60 xG up until that moment. A morale-boosting 2-1 win at Doncaster followed in the League Cup before a 2-2 draw at Sheffield United in the league. With 2.59 Expected Goals created, Dyche’s side arguably deserved the three points on the day.
Everton Team News
The Toffees have quite a few injuries right now but will be hoping that many of those players can shake off knocks. James Tarkowski should be fit to play after a facial injury whilst Jarrad Branthwaite could partner him despite withdrawing from England under 21 duty.
This match comes too soon for Seamus Coleman and Dele Alli but Dominic Calvert-Lewin should return to contention after concussion. Beto could lead the line anyway with the former featuring as a substitute. Jack Harrison is another who is nearing a return and Dwight McNeil should now be fit enough to start after Alex Iwobi was sold to Fulham.
The same approach is expected as we saw in this fixture last season. Everton will press aggressively in midfield and will target corners and freekicks as their main route to goal.
The hosts will play initially to be solid and try to nick a 1-0 win. A draw would also be a good result considering their poor start to this season.
The Gunners began this season by beating Nottingham Forest 2-1 at home. They only managed to create 0.83 xG from 78% ball possession in a toothless display at times. A 1-0 win at Crystal Palace followed as they defended excellently with ten men for the final 23+ minutes.
Arsenal then totally dominated Fulham at home with 3.20 xG, 19 shots, and 71% of the ball. However, an 87th-minute goal conceded from a corner saw the match finish 2-2 in a poor result at the Emirates. Arteta’s side bounced back to beat Man Utd 3-1 at home last week. They netted goals in the 6th and 11th minutes of added time but they dominated the match stats (2.27 xG for, 0.94 xG against).
Arsenal Team News
Mikel Arteta is without defender Jurrien Timber after a long-term injury. Thomas Partey is another absentee with a groin problem so it’s expected to be Ben White at right back and Gabriel starting centrally. Gabriel Jesus is fully fit again and could be preferred up front to Eddie Nketiah.
Kai Havertz has been struggling to find his best form and Fabio Vieira is pushing hard to take his place in the XI. Takehiro Tomiyasu is also someone who is hoping for a recall with Oleksandr Zinchenko or even Gabriel the ones under threat.
The Gunners will play every game as a must-win as they look to make up two points on Man City.
They will have been warned about Sean Dyche’s set-piece routines in the defeat at Goodison last season. All focus should be on this match with PSV in midweek not being an immediate distraction.
Everton have failed to score in 2 home matches this season
Everton are unbeaten in 5 home matches vs Arsenal (4 wins, 1 draw)
Arsenal have won 2 of their last 6 away Premier League matches
Arsenal have leaked 21 goals in their last 14 matches
There have been over 2.5 goals in 15 of Arsenal’s last 18 EPL games
Everton have lost 3 of their last 5 home matches, all by a 2+ margin
This should be an interesting match considering how much Arteta struggles when returning to his former club. The Gunners get an extra day to prepare after the FIFA break and that could make all the difference. If they score first, Everton may lack the goal threat to turn things around. A win to zero looks like the best bet. If Gabriel Jesus starts, he could be worth backing to score.
Best Bet: Arsenal win to zero at 2.70