Arsenal are firing on all cylinders and Everton have lost their mojo, but the Toffees are still unbeaten at home far this season and their fans will demand nothing less than a win. If the Gunners are to get the victory they’ll have to call on all of their new-found resilience, while Everton will be desperate to get their season going again after a poor few weeks.
Gueye the Guy
After going down with Villa in one of the worst Premier League teams in recent memory, few people were tipping Idrissa Gueye to make a big impact for Everton this season.
But the Senegalese midfielder has been a revelation. He’s very switched-on in the middle of the park, and gets to the ball quicker than anyone else when it breaks down.
This is vital in a partnership that includes Gareth Barry, who can’t react as quickly anymore and needs the sort of service Gueye offers to keep the ball moving through the lines.
Yannick Bolasie had hardly missed a game under Koeman this season, and it seemed like he was building a rapport with his teammates. So it’s especially hard luck for Everton to lose the Congolese winger for the rest of the season after he suffered a cruciate injury.
His replacement will probably be Deulofeu, who, for all his undoubted ability, remains an enigma and as capable of being anonymous as lighting up the pitch with some magic.
But Toffees fans will recall the young Spaniard’s stunning goal against Arsenal at the Emirates in 2013.
Another player who has fond memories of playing against Arsenal is Romelu Lukaku, who gave Nacho Monreal a difficult time in the win at Goodison Park in 2014. That was a good day for Lukaku, but the Belgian striker is just as capable of disappearing from a match altogether.
In the first half against Manchester United last weekend he completed just three of his 14 attempted passes.In matches like this his contribution is also negligble.
Even if 7 in 12 is a decent goal-scoring record, you get the sense that Lukaku needs to work on bringing teammates into the game. Especially on those days when he himself is struggling in front of goal
Time to Back Robles?
When Stekelenburg showed up at Goodison in the summer most people thought the Dutch keeper would be a reserve and that Everton were planning a bigger capture to replace Tim Howard. But that hasn’t been the case, and once again Stekelenburg slipped up last weekend.
It was another unreliable performance to add to the defeats against Bournemouth and Burnley. Now Koeman must surely be tempted to opt for Joel Robles, who, while not the finished article, has put together some good spells during his time in the Premier League.
Predicted Everton Teamsheet:
Stekelenburg; Coleman, Williams, Jagielka, Baines; Gueye, Barry; Deulofeu, Barkley, Mirallas; Lukaku
So now we know that Santi Cazorla is going to be out with an achilles problem until the new year, the time is right for Granit Xhaka to make the deep-lying playmaker role his own. Really, he’s the only other midfielder at the club capable of distributing the ball forward from deep reliably.
This may come as news to people who assume Arsenal are packed with creative midfielders. But Rosický’s departure, Cazorla’s injury and Wilshere’s loan has all left them short of someone who can dictate play in front of the defence.
It hasn’t been an easy start for Arsenal’s summer signing. First came the transformation of Alexis Sánchez’ as an out-and-out striker, and then Lucas Pérez suffered an injury that kept him out of the squad for a few weeks.
But against Basel in the Champions League the Spanish forward showed up in the right positions time and again and got himself a hat-trick. He arrived at Arsenal with a strong scoring record in La Liga and could at least be a dangerous option from the bench against Everton.
When Bellerín picked up his injury last month, and Debuchy got injured soon after, Gabriel Paulista didn’t seem like obvious choice to fill in at right back. But with Carl Jenkinson out of sorts, the Brazilian has made good impression in the last few matches.
He was identified as one of the weak links in central defence last year, but on the right he’s able to stretch his legs and use his pace, while also having the security of a defender like Mustafi to back him up.
Reasons for Ramsey
Wenger admitted recently that Ramsey isn’t ready to start matches for Arsenal. As talented as the Welsh star is, it’s not easy to see how he fits into the Arsenal side.
Ramsey’s a tricky character to pin down, because he’s full of contradictions: He’s capable of moments of inspiration, but at the same time isn’t very technical or cerebral.
He often makes more tackles than anyone else on the pitch, but isn’t very good at sensing danger or taking up good defensive positions. Coquelin isn’t perfect, but for the time being is a better shout for the berth next to Xhaka.
It’s hard to believe there was a time when people were claiming that Özil and Alexis Sánchez couldn’t play in the team. Since the Chilean has been moved further forward the pair have complemented each other beautifully.
Özil now has more room to exploit between midfield and defence. But he also has the constant movement of Alexis giving him passing options. When these two are in the teamsheet it feels like Arsenal have a chance of beating anyone.
Arsenal Predicted Lineup:
Cech; Gabriel, Mustafi, Koscielny, Gibbs; Xhaka, Coquelin; Walcott, Özil, Oxlade-Chamberlain; Alexis Sánchez
When Will Everton vs Arsenal Take Place?
19:45 GMT on 13 December at Goodison Park. Everton’s ground has sold out for every fixture this season, bumping up the Premier League’s strong attendance figures.
Everton vs Arsenal Match Prediction
There are a few factors worth keeping in mind before making a prediction for this one. But top of this list is that Arsenal put a strong team out for their trip Basel to ensure top spot in their Champions League group. It’s a competition Arsenal have never won, as their fans prefer not to be reminded.
Everton did play at the weekend, but have had a much lighter schedule than their opponents on Tuesday. With this in mind we would veer towards a draw at Goodison Park, but Arsenal have found some momentum after a slow November and have enough to get the win.
We’re going or a 1-2 win for the Gunners.