Match Preview: Everton v Arsenal (Premier League)
Arsenal’s bid to secure a top-four finish faces a stern test when the Gunners head to Goodison Park to take on Everton.
Arsene Wenger’s side are currently fifth in the table and are five points ahead of their opponents, but are three points adrift of fourth-placed Aston Villa – a margin that could be doubled before Arsenal take to the field.
Everton’s lack of fit strikers was expected to see them struggle to maintain their top-four challenge, but boss David Moyes has guided his side to an eight-match unbeaten run in all competitions.
Their last two games have seen them secure back-to-back 1-1 draws at Anfield against Liverpool, with Moyes delighted by the spirit shown among his injury-hit squad.
“We’ve had it now for four or five weeks and we could have gone under because we didn’t have any forwards, but they haven’t half mucked in and got around it well.
“The boys at the back have given us that opportunity by keeping clean sheets and defending very well and we have to base ourselves on that until we can get some of the forwards back.”
Moyes still has Yakubu, Louis Saha and James Vaughan all sidelined, but record signing Merouane Fellaini returns after a two-match suspension.
Arsenal were held to a goalless draw by Cardiff City in the fourth round of the FA Cup at the weekend, with the Gunners’ strikers failing to find their shooting boots.
Wenger still has Mikael Silvestre, Theo Walcott and Cesc Fabregas sidelined by injuries, but Gael Clichy should return at left-back after suspension.
“We are very short at the moment and cannot rotate very much,” Wenger admitted after the weekend stalemate. “I could rest a few players today but not as many as I had wanted.”
However, things are not as bad as they may seem for the north London outfit, who are unbeaten in their last eight league games.
Earlier this season Arsenal won 3-1 against the Toffees at the Emirates Stadium, thanks to goals by Samir Nasri, Robin van Persie and Walcott.
Gooner Talk’s Predicted Starting XI
Sagna – Djourou – Gallas – Clichy
Eboue – Denilson – Diaby – Nasri
Adebayor – van Persie
Match Prediction: Everton 1-1 Arsenal
Gooner Streams will provide live stream links of this Premier League clash on GoonerStreams.com. Post-match highlights will be avaliable at midnight on Gooner Talk for those of you who were unable to watch the game.
Leave your views and predictions of tonight’s game – which kicks off at 20:00 BST time – in the comments section below.