Former Celtic striker Chris Sutton has backed Arsenal to beat Everton 2-0 at Goodison Park in the Premier League tomorrow (February 4).
The leaders are five points clear of second-placed Manchester City and have a game in hand. They lost 1-0 to Manchester City in their most recent outing in the FA Cup, but manager Mikel Arteta had rested many of his key players.
Everton, meanwhile, are on a three-game losing streak in the Premier League. The Merseysiders, who're languishing in 19th place in the standings, recently replaced manager Frank Lampard with Sean Dyche, hoping for a change of fortunes.
Sutton, though, does not think that the managerial switch will do them any good and has predicted the Gunners to beat Dyche on his Everton dugout debut. In his BBC column, Sutton wrote:
“Arsenal rested a few players in their FA Cup tie against Manchester City and paid the price. They still played pretty well at Etihad Stadium, though, and I think they have had a really good window - signing Jorginho, Cedric Trossard and Jakub Kiwior to strengthen their squad for their title push."
“Everton, in contrast, did not sign anyone, and it looks like their new manager Sean Dyche has got a huge job on his hands to keep them up - he's actually lost a player, with Antony Gordon moving to Newcastle.”
Sutton added that while Dyche’s management and the Goodison crowd would give Everton a boost, they simply don't have the Gunners' quality:
“We know the Goodison Park crowd will get behind the team, and the way that Dyche manages, he will be trying to extract every last ounce of effort out of his players. So, the endeavour will be there, but I still don't see Everton getting a win or even managing a draw."
“Arsenal are just far too good for them, and as I said on the Monday Night Club, getting the Everton job now is like being made captain of the Titanic, a couple of hours after it hit the iceberg.”
Sutton's prediction: Arsenal 0-2 Everton
Takehiro Tomiyasu reveals secret behind Arsenal’s Premier League title run
Last season, Mikel Arteta’s side lost their way in the final stretch of the season. They dropped crucial points to finish outside the top four. Arteta was criticised by a section of fans for letting their Champions League slot slip, but the board chose to keep faith in the Spaniard.
Everything has seemingly fallen in place in north London this season, with the Gunners emerging as genuine contenders for the Premier League. In a recent interview with GOAL, right-back Takehiro Tomiyasu explained what has changed at Arsenal in such a short span.
The Japan international said:
“We understand more (about) Mikel’s football. We’ve got depth; we’ve got some new players, but the biggest thing is we understand Mikel’s football more than last season. Last season we understood. But we couldn’t express it. But this season we understand, and we are showing how he wants us to play. This is the big difference.”
Arsenal last won the Premier League in the 2003-04 season during their memorable 'Invincibles' campaign nearly two decades ago. They won 26 of their 38 games, becoming the only Premier League team to accomplish that feat.