Arsenal travel to Goodison Park for their first away game and with memories of last season’s drubbing still fresh in the memory, it’s no wonder that Arsenal fans are skeptical about the game. The season has hardly begun and the knives are already out at Arsene Wenger and Arsenal. The midweek performance against Besiktas was flat at best and the Gunners have to rise their game several notches to get a positive result. Everton on the other hand are coming off a rather disappointing draw against Leicester and will be looking to win their first game of the new season. Matches at Goodison are always tough and it will be interesting to watch how the Gunners cope with Everton’s pressing and intensity. Roberto Martinez’s team will ask serious questions than Besiktas or Palace, will Arsenal answer them?
Arsenal will be without their captain Mikel Arteta for atleast 2 weeks and it is a massive blow. Despite the reservations some fans have about Arteta, he is one of Arsene Wenger’s most trusted man and more often than not he has been excellent for us. On the positive we have our Germans back. #AHA#PER#OZIL#POLDI. (Poldi it seems hasn’t travelled)The Germans are such a positive influence in the group and it is a major relief for Arsene Wenger. However with such an important game on Wednesday, it makes sense to bring them on from the bench if needed or just to give them some game time in case we take a 5 goal lead! Flamini will be a straight replacement for Arteta and although I prefer Chamberlain to the increasingly ineffective Cazorla, I don’t see Wenger making that change. Last time we were murdered down the left by Lukaku. His physical presence caused Monreal all sorts of problems and he had an absolute nightmare. Monreal looks a bit more assured than he was last season and his battle against Lukaku is one to watch today. Giroud was hapless in midweek and if I were Arsene, I would start with Alexis in the centre, Ozil in the No. 10, Chamberlain and Rosicky in the wings.
Everton boss Roberto Martinez surprised us all with his tactical flexibility especially in the away game when he put Lukaku on the left, Naismith as a false9 and Mirallas on the right. Martinez may once again opt for the same formation this time around, with a slight change in personnel. Barkley is out so Osman or Mcgeady may come in for him. The midfield is where the game will be won and lost. Barry and Mccarthy have to stay back and help the defence otherwise risk exposing them to Arsenal’s nippy midfielders. Everton broke their transfer record for Lukaku and can the Belgian respond under pressure?It remains to be seen. Distin and Jagielka are experienced but they are slow and if Sanchez or Chambo can stretch the backline it leaves us with that extra space in the middle which we thrive on.
It is already being billed as our biggest game and with a €20million game in midweek, an Arsenal win today will go a long way in repairing last season’s damage and give us an early season boost.