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Everton vs Arsenal – Match preview

Venue: Goodison Park

Referee: Michael Oliver

Kick-off: 1.15 AM (IST), Thursday, 29th of November

In the past few seasons, whenever these two sides have met in the League, it hasn’t been anything more than an easy win for the Gunners. However, it won’t be that easy for Wenger’s side as they face a resilient Toffees side at Goodison Park.

Everton, on the other hand, have had a dip in performances in the past few games but still find themselves above Arsenal in the league table which reflects the quality of football they’ve treated the fans with this season. If Moyes’s side could finish even a couple of the enormous amount of chances they are bound to create tonight, then Arsenal will find it increasingly tough to claim anything out of the game.

Form guide

Everton (Last 5 PL games DDWLD)

It’s been a frustrating last month for David Moyes who has seen his side losing their way and vital points at will against the likes of Reading and Norwich. A run of injuries to his midfield unit hasn’t helped him either, with key players like Marouane Fellaini, Phil Neville, Darren Gibson and the promising Kevin Mirallas being on the sidelines. With Fellaini returning, Everton fans will hope for another inspired performance from the Belgian that has the ability to snatch the game away from their North London visitors.

Arsenal (Last 5 PL games WLDWD)

On the back of a derby win and an stuttering performance at Villa Park, Wenger’s side has been on an indifferent run of form and he would know that the side will need to play much better to stay in contention for the Champions League spots. A visit to Goodison Park haven’t been a cakewalk for any side this season, and Arsenal will need to produce their best football to earn those vital points that could take them above their Merseyside rivals on the league table.

Squad sheets

Everton probable starting XI: Howard, Coleman, Jagielka, Distin, Baines, Naismith, Hitzlsperger, Osman, Pienaar, Fellaini, Jelavic

Injured: Phil Neville

Doubtful: Coleman, Mirallas, Gibson, Anichebe

Arsenal probable starting XI: Szczesny, Sagna, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Gibbs, Wilshere, Arteta, Ramsey, Cazorla, Podolski, Giroud

Injured: Santos, Rosicky, Diaby, Walcott, Fabianski

Stat-check

- Everton are undefeated in 20 of their last 22 matches in the Premier League.

- Arsenal have a good Premier League record at Goodison Park. They are unbeaten in their five visits, winning four including the last three.

- Arsenal have been winning at both half time and full time in their last 3 away matches against Everton in all competitions.

Key clashes

Baines-Pienaar vs Sagna

With Leighton Baines being one the best creator of goals this season for Everton, Bacary Sagna should expect a difficult night at Goodison Park. Steven Pienaar, whose form has been rather inconsistent of late, would also try and impose his presence as Everton will look to tee up some deliveries to Fellaini, who has been more than handful for most travelling sides this season. Sagna may need some help from his defensive midfield to counter the numbers game, as this contest on the left flank could play a huge part in the match.

Fellaini vs Metesacker

Everton has been wasteful with their opportunities and that has reflected in their league standing in the past few weeks. With Marouane Fellaini returning for this crucial clash, all eyes will be on his opposite number Mertesacker to keep the Beligian quiet for as long as he can.

What to expect

With both sides struggling to string favorable results, expect this game to be the pick of the midweek fixtures. The head-to-head record suggests that Arsenal will start as favorites, but David Moyes’ side have been a handful in the big games this season and it won’t be surprising if they clinch all three points at home.

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