Written by: Ash Handelaar
Follow Ash on Twitter here: @handelaar101
Two teams who won during the mid week fixtures will clash on Sunday as Arsenal welcome Everton to the Emirates Stadium. Both teams have earned plaudits for their style of play this season with both also performing a lot better than people had though in pre-season.
Everton have been brilliant this season. They made some very good signings in the summer and strengthened their shad very well all over the field. The loan signings of Romelu Lukaku, Gareth Barry and Gerard Deulofeu have all paid dividends as all have blended very quickly into Roberto Martinez’s new style of play at Goodison Park. Their 1-0 win at Old Trafford against champions Manchester United will only have helped the clubs confidence all round.
Everton’s man to watch in my opinion will be Romelu Lukaku. He is the club’s top goal scorer in the league and a real force up front. I have been a fan of his for many years going back to his days playing as a young teenager for Belgian side Anderlecht. His game is similar to that of Didier Drogba (formerly of Chelsea) who you can tell has an influence on his style of play. Many Chelsea fans are still wondering why they loaned out the young target man, but Chelsea’s temporary loss is Everton’s gain. Mertesacker and Koscielny will both have to be on top of their game as he is as fast as he is strong.
Arsenal’s player to watch on Sunday in my opinion is Aaron Ramsey. It may appear lazy for me to choose the same player as last game, but Ramsey is in such form, that any game he plays in, he makes an impact. Between Ramsey and Ozil, they can create something out of nothing. The Welshman has just as many goals in the league this season as Everton striker Romelu Lukaku, which shows the leaps and bounds he’s come on this year. The central midfield will be a big battle to win as Barry, Barkley and McCarthy have proven to be no slouches.
Arsenal will believe they can win this game, whilst Everton will think they have a chance to get something out of this game. One clash which could be key is the potential one between Kevin Mirallas and Carl Jenkinson. Kevin Mirallas when playing on the left loves to cut inside, and whilst Jenkinson might be a good defender, when put on his weaker foot usually needs some help. The clash between the skilful Santi Cazorla and Seamus Coleman also looks to be an interesting one.
Everton look to be their strongest they’ve ever been under Martinez. Both sides have played attractive football this season, but both teams can’t have the ball, so to get the better of the other, it could be about playing the game better than your opponent or just winning ugly.
Arsenal have won eight and lost none of their last 12 Barclays Premier League games against Everton.
Everton have only managed more than one goal in a league game against Arsenal on one occasion in the last 21 meetings.
The Gunners have won 14 and lost none of the last 17 Premier League home games against the Toffees (D3).
There have been just four goals scored in the last four Premier League meetings between Everton and Arsenal.
Howard Webb will officiate Arsenal v Everton on Sunday. The Gunners have won their last eight Premier League games with him as the man in the middle.
Arsenal are unbeaten at home in the Premier League with Howard Webb as referee (W10 D4 L0).
Arsenal have scored in 13 of their 14 games and have led in 12 of their 14 games this season, both Premier League highs.
Mesut Ozil has three goals and six assists in 11 Premier League appearances.
The Gunners have kept six clean sheets in their last seven games in all competitions, conceding just one goal in the other match (0-1 at Man Utd).
Everton have lost only Premier League game this season, fewer than any other side.
The Toffees have kept three away clean sheets in a row for the first time since May 2009; they have not recorded four or more in a row since August 1995 (had a run of five).