Arsenal - Everton Preview: League leaders face tough test against in-form Toffees
Roberto Martinez's men head to the Emirates Stadium having beaten champions Manchester United at Old Trafford on Wednesday, but face a home side on a strong run
By Peter Hanson
Arsene Wenger's men have won 14 and drawn three of those encounters, and have lost none of the past 12 top-flight fixtures with Everton, winning eight.
But Roberto Martinez's charges can draw confidence after ending another hoodoo with a 1-0 triumph at Manchester United on Wednesday.
|15/2||Arsenal are 15/2 to beat Everton 1-0 with BetVictor|
Bryan Oviedo's close-range strike in the dying stages secured Everton's first triumph at Old Trafford since 1992, heaping pressure on former manager David Moyes.
Arsenal - who top the table by four points from Chelsea - will be confident of avoiding the same fate after keeping six clean sheets in their last seven fixtures in all competitions.
A 1-0 defeat to Manchester United on November 10 was the last time Wojciech Szczesny's goal was breached, and Arsenal have responded with three consecutive Premier League victories, including Wednesday's 2-0 success over Hull City.
Wenger will be without Bacary Sagna, who remains sidelined with a hamstring injury, while Lukas Podolski (hamstring), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Abou Diaby (both knee) remain long-term absentees.
Everton's away record against Arsenal may not bode well for their hopes, but Martinez's side have only lost once in the Premier League this season, and have kept three straight clean sheets on their travels for the first time since August 1995.
But Martinez believes his side are coming up against the best attacking outfit in England's top tier.
"Arsenal as an attacking team is as good as it gets," he said. "It is one of those teams (where) you need to be at your best. We're ready for that test and that challenge. We're excited about challenging the best teams in the league."
The Spaniard confirmed centre-back Antolin Alcaraz is fully fit following hamstring trouble, but Leighton Baines (toe), Arouna Kone and Darron Gibson (both knee) are all unavailable.
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Top 3 Predictions
Arsenal FC 2-0 Everton
- 21 %
Arsenal FC 2-1 Everton
- 16.28 %
Arsenal FC 3-1 Everton
- 13.67 %
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