Arsenal have had a fantastic month, barring a minor blip against Ipswich Town in the first leg of the semi-finals of the League Cup. But to their credit, the Gunners managed to trump the Championship side in the second leg to book a place in the final of the domestic cup tournament.
With silverware well within reach and the prospect of breaking a drought that has lasted six years, the north London club’s players are likely to be filled with positivity when looking back on their recent exploits. But the job is by no means done, as they still have to go on and win the final.
For now, however, the focus shifts to the Premier League, where Arsene Wenger’s men sit in second place – five points behind Manchester United.
Samir Nasri will be missing owing to a hamstring injury, while Sebastien Squillaci begins his suspension after seeing a red against Huddersfield.
The north London side will have to continue their positive run of results and get the three points against Everton, since the Red Devils could open up a huge gap if points are dropped at the Emirates.
Stuttering Strike Force
Everton have actually managed to play a good brand of football this season, attacking with purpose and intent and creating enough chances to win many games where they dropped points. The only real worry for manager David Moyes has been his strike force.
The Toffees' forwards have been unable to put away their chances on several occasions, which is arguably why they find themselves in 14th place. That they have lost fewer games than every other team outside the top six is in itself a reflection of their strength.
But much like their Merseyside rivals Liverpool, questions have been asked as to whether the team can actually manage to put together a protracted positive run of results and qualify for Europe.
At the present, 10 points stand between the Toffees and sixth-placed Sunderland, who have thus far amassed 37 points. But the Black Cats have played a game more than Moyes’ charges, which could potentially cut short the difference in points between the two sides.
But ifs, buts and maybes aside, Everton will have to snatch something from this game to continue to hope for a turnaround and secure European football when the curtain comes down on their current campaign.
Samir Nasri (hamstring) is sidelined after falling prey to injury during Sunday's FA Cup game against Huddersfield, while Sebastien Squillaci saw a red during the same game and will begin his ban by sitting this one out.
Thomas Vermaelen (Achilles) remains sidelined, while Bacary Sagna (concussion) is a doubt for this game.
Lukasz Fabianski (shoulder) is another player who is doubtful of making this fixture.
Possible starting line-up: Szczesny; Sagna, Djourou, Koscielny Clichy; Walcott, Song, Wilshere; Arshavin, Fabregas, Van Persie.
Phil Jagielka was on the bench throughout Saturday's FA Cup encounter against Chelsea, and should likely be fit enough to make his comeback against Arsenal. Victor Anichebe (groin) is a doubt for the trip to north London.
Louis Saha scored for his side and earned a few positive words from manager David Moyes, in a season in which the Scot has been generally unhappy with his strike force. The former Manchester United man should likely start the game despite having played against the west London club.
Possible starting line-up: Howard; Neville, Jagielka, Distin, Baines; Coleman, Arteta, Fellaini, Osman; Beckford, Saha.
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