Arsenal - Everton Preview: In-form sides gear up for crucial top four race clash
The Gunners have won eight of their last ten league games as they look to secure Champions League football, with the Toffees also in the hunt and just three points from fourth
By Arthur Virgo
Sagna, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Gibbs
Ramsey, Arteta, Wilshere
Walcott, Giroud, Cazorla
Coleman, Jagielka, Distin, Baines
Mirallas, Gibson, Osman, Pienaar
Out-of-favour goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny looks set to return to the Arsenal starting XI, with Arsene Wenger admitting Lukasz Fabianski is a "major doubt" after taking a kick to the ribs against Norwich.
Per Mertesacker could return from suspension to the starting line-up in place of Thomas Vermaelen, who along with Nacho Monreal will challenge left-back Kieran Gibbs for the team.
Theo Walcott’s return from injury could see the forward start on the right flank in place of Gervinho, while manager Arsene Wenger faces a choice between keeping Aaron Ramsey in midfield and naming Santi Cazorla on the left flank, or moving the playmaker infield and adding Lukas Podolski on the left.
Tomas Rosicky (hamstring) is doubtful and could miss out along with long-term casualty Abou Diaby (knee).
Everton have no new injury concerns and could name the side that beat QPR on Saturday, with Seamus Coleman set to continue at right-back while Tony Hibbert lacks fitness after a long-term injury.
Striker Victor Anichebe has started the Toffees’ last four league matches and could again lead the line ahead of the recently returned Marouane Fellaini and Steven Pienaar, but Nikica Jelavic is another option.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Arsenal have reached the Champions League last 16 in each of the last 12 seasons and are currently third, a point ahead of rivals Tottenham and Chelsea, who have a game in hand.
- The Gunners have won eight of their last ten games and are second only to runaway leaders Manchester United in the form table.
- Since Christmas, Arsenal have scored in every game bar the 2-0 loss to Manchester City. When Arsene Wenger's side have scored first in the league this season, they have never lost a game.
- Each of Olivier Giroud's last ten Premier League goals this season have been scored at the Emirates Stadium.
- Everton have not finished in the top four since 2005 and are currently in sixth place, three points from Chelsea and Tottenham and four from the Gunners as they seek to qualify for the Champions League.
- The attacking contribution of the returning Marouane Fellaini (pictured right) has been vital for David Moyes' men this campaign. The Belgium midfielder's goals and assists have won the Merseysiders 12 points in the league.
- The Toffees have scored the joint-highest amount of headed goals (13) in this year's Premier League. The other side are league leaders Manchester United.
- Everton have failed to beat Arsenal in the sides' 11 most recent encounters, but went close earlier this season in the 1-1 draw between the two at Goodison Park in November.
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Top 3 Predictions
Arsenal FC 2-1 Everton
- 20.23 %
Arsenal FC 2-0 Everton
- 15.41 %
Arsenal FC 3-1 Everton
- 13.92 %
|England - Premier League (EPL)||Dec 9, 2013||Arsenal FC 1 - Everton 1|
|England - Premier League (EPL)||Apr 17, 2013||Arsenal FC 0 - Everton 0|
|England - Premier League (EPL)||Nov 29, 2012||Everton 1 - Arsenal FC 1|
|England - Premier League (EPL)||Mar 22, 2012||Everton 0 - Arsenal FC 1|
|England - Premier League (EPL)||Dec 10, 2011||Arsenal FC 1 - Everton 0|
|Dec 9, 2013||Arsenal FC 1 - Everton 1||EPL|
|Dec 5, 2013||Arsenal FC 2 - Hull City 0||EPL|
|Nov 30, 2013||Cardiff 0 - Arsenal FC 3||EPL|
|Nov 27, 2013||Arsenal FC 2 - Olympique de Marseille 0||UCL|
|Nov 23, 2013||Arsenal FC 2 - Southampton 0||EPL|
Times In SGT
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed