Yes it’s official we are embroiled in yet another scramble for champions league spots. It ain’t nail biting yet but a win over Everton would give us that little bit of confidence going into the FA cup semis. The Toffees are a tough opponent and at Goodison they always upset the odds against the big sides. The home side have won five in a row and our form of late well, less said the better. Having said that the second half performance against Mancity would have lifted the morale of the squad going into the Everton game.
Roberto Martinez has done exceptionally well in his first season in charge and his loan signings have proved to be astute. Martinez approaches the game in a positive way and it won’t be surprising to see them press us high up the pitch and not allow Arsenal to set the rhythm. It is a tactic that destroyed us at Anfield, Stamford Bridge and hopefully we are better prepared this time around. Phil Jagielka is out and Stones will deputise for him. Ross Barkley has a late fitness test. Everton’s fullbacks bomb forward and it is a double edged sword. Coleman and Baines forward forays will have to be checked by our men on the wing otherwise we will be overrun. On the flip side this leaves space for Podolski and Cazorla who can capitalize on the spacial advantage. Barry and McCarthy will anchor the midfield and we have to repeat our FA cup performance(last15 mins).
First of all a top 4 finish and a FA cup would represent a successful season in my opinion. But with the start we had and our run until Christmas, our current status is a bitter pill to swallow. After weeks of whining about our injury list, there is some good news, Rambo and Monreal returns and how have we missed our midfield dynamo. It ain’t Arsenal if the law of equals isn’t satisfied, Monreal and Rambo in, Gibbs major doubt and Gnabry out. So Arsenalish. I believe Wenger will go for Arteta and Flamini just to offer that little bit of security at the back. Rosicky’s drive and Cazorla’s guile is important in slicing open an Everton defence that has recently tightened up at the back. And finally lets cut out our mistakes and not shoot ourselves in the foot, head and heart.
Man to Watch
Everton- Ross Barkley
Barkley if he passes the late fitness test will be a major threat to the Gunners. Flamini will have to be in his game and if it is entirely needed get a touch physical with him. He impressed on both the occasions he played against us and is so crucial to Everton’s play.
Arsenal- Santi Cazorla
The Spaniard hasn’t yet returned to his best but put in a much improved performance against Citizens especially in the second half. It is imperative that he shares the creativity burden with Rosicky in the absence of our creator in chief Mesut Ozil. And Santi please run rings around Barry in particular.