Several banana skins have been carefully side-stepped by the Gunners this season, but the festive fixture schedule will post some tough tests of title credentials.
Everton will be awkward opposition this evening. Despite their faltering recent form they have been undoubtedly stronger under Ronald Koeman this season and will fight hard to get something from the game.
Their decent early season form has kept them anchored to mid-table, but they’ll be aware that picking up points is essential if they’re not to drop into the bottom half come January.
FORM GUIDE – OVERALL
Arsenal’s rich vein of form continued with a 3-1 win against a decent Stoke side at the weekend, while Everton laboured against Watford, losing 3-2.
Their third loss in the last six means they’ve only picked up five points in that sequence on games, with a heavy 5-0 defeat against Chelsea at the beginning of November a particular low point.
The stats tell that story, and Everton have scored an astonishing 20 fewer goals than Arsenal across those games, while also conceding nearly twice as many goals.
FORM GUIDE – HOME VS AWAY
A bright spot for Everton throughout this season has been their home form, with an undefeated record in the league at Goodison Park this season.
Despite three draws in the last six at home, they’ve shown their best form by far on Merseyside and will prove difficult for Arsenal to break down.
The Gunners are title frontrunners precisely because they’ve been so strong away from home this season, with 17 goals in the last 6 away games – an average of nearly three a game.
Everton have only beaten Arsenal at home once across the last six meetings. The last game in March saw Arsenal walk away with a 0-2 win.
Two draws in the last six hint at what could happen, though, with Everton already recording 5 so far this season.
Likely to be a low-scoring affair, Arsenal can ill afford to drop points if they are to continue pressuring Chelsea and close the three-point gap that has opened up.
Arsenals are by far the favourites coming into this game. Putting form aside, Everton are struggling with injury issues, particularly in defence.
Defence remains The Toffees most important attribute if they’re going to get anything from the game. If they get their makeshift defence working they could well pick up some points.
For Wenger’s men, the challenge is avoiding another potential slip-up. The reward is an excellent springboard into Christmas.
Football tips provided by KickOff
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