Everton v Arsenal Preview: A weekend of opportunity?

Last season’s matches against Everton were eventful contests.

We blew the Blues away 6-1 on opening day at Goodison Park but they gave us a much better game in the early-January snow, almost stealing the points before Tomas Rosicky’s late equaliser snatched a 2-2 draw.

A quick glance at the league table shows them lagging in 12th on the table, yet a quick glance at their team sheet tells another story. Packed with quality players like Mikael Arteta, Tim Cahill and Steven Pienaar, Everton have the quality to give any team in the league problems, particularly on their home ground.

Cesc will lead the side again

It has to be said that personnel-wise we go into tomorrow’s game in good shape.

Arsene Wenger has indicated that no new injuries were picked up during mid-week action, while Kieran Gibbs returns. It is doubtful that the Englishman will go straight into the starting team but with Gael Clichy struggling for his best form, competition in that position is most welcome.

The manager also suggested there will be some slight shuffles in the team, as expected, with one or two changes in the midfield. If I had to hazard a guess at the team it would be something like below.

Fabianski; Sagna, Squillaci, Djourou, Clichy; Song, Fabregas, Wilshere; Nasri, Chamakh, Arshavin.

In saying that it would not be a surprise to see either of Denilson or Theo Walcott get a spot in the starting team for Song or Arshavin respectively.

Despite the fighting victory at Wolves the simple fact of the matter is that we are not in good form at the moment. Losses against Newcastle and Shakhtar Donetsk have been surrounded by two nervy victories over West Ham and Wolves and despite having plenty of quality and depth in the squad, things feel quite difficult at the moment.

The silver lining is that our defence has been impressive: one goal conceded in the past four league games is an impressive record. There have been some rocky moments but generally Djourou and Squillaci have done well when paired together and despite his error at Newcastle, Fabianski has been excellent.

Everton away is the sort of fixture that demands a certain level of effort and intensity. Our players must be up for it or they risk being run over in midfield by Arteta, Pienaar and Co.

With Chelsea and Manchester United both facing difficult away fixtures this could be a weekend of real opportunity. At the end of last week there were feelings of desperation around the place but just a week later, we could be within striking distance at the top.

An interesting weekend of football awaits.


Have your say on Arsenal v Everton by leaving a comment.



  1. Yes, you’re right – a great opportunity for our lads but unfortunately, also for the Toffees with a win against us theoretically taking them as high as 6th in the league. Apart from the fact that after a tortuously slow start, Everton are rapidly improving. That it is us they are playing will give them even more incentive to ‘prove’ themselves especially in front of their own fans.

    We on the other hand are blundering through our ‘traditional’ dark November having started so brightly and full of confiidence. Injuries have left us feeling our way back into the competition.

    Despite all that, the good news for us is we are hovering in 3rd, close on 2nd with a very healthy goal difference and a diminishing injury list. And though we won’t get a full game out of RvP ahead of him collecting his next injury with Holland, we should see him come on around the 60th minute with a bit of luck, replacing either Song or Arshavin, depending on the score. The one player I don’t expect to see is young Nick Bendtner who brings new meaning to the phrase “walking on ice” following his ill-advised complaints against the manager during the week.

    Further good news in the absence of Fellaini and hopefully Heltinga for Everton also will give us a great chance if we can ride out the early storm.

    Fingers crossed; as I write, Manure are looking laboured against Aston Villa and Chelsea might just slip up with a draw against a Sunderland side badly stung recently by their arch enemies Newcastle but who have since rebounded with determination and resolution.

    Potentially a very interesting weekend…

  2. I hope we can win at Everton and providing Man U and Aston Villa draw we will go back into second place. I just hope that Wenger doesn’t decide to bring Almunia back for the gam if he is fit, I would prefer to have Fabianski or our other young Polish goalie playing.

  3. Are we going to see a different season? And by this I don’t mean just Arsenal but also how our rivals are doing this season so far.

    To try and answer this I suggest that we start with the league table as it is now (after the Wolves game) and compare it with the league table as it was last season after the first 12 games.

    Chelsea are top with 28 points and this is the same number as they had after 12 games last season. So a status quo one could say. Last season they had a goal difference of 32 goals and this season is is down to 23. After some impressive wins in the first games the results don’t come as easy for the moment.

    In second place we have United with 24 points and last season they had the same number as Chelsea (28) so this means that they have 4 points less compared to last season. Their goal difference was 17 then and now 11. So both in points and goals they have gone backwards.

    Arsenal are in third place and last season after 12 games we had 23 points and we were in 4th place. This season after 12 games we also have 23 points but are in third place. This season our goal difference is 13 and last season it was 11. So slightly better but not much. And I would like to point out that United has conceded more goals than Arsenal so far. And I must say this surprises me a bit.

    In fourth place we find Manchester City with 21 points and last season they also had 21 points. So much money spent once again and still only the same amount of points. But a better place in the league table is something one cannot deny. Last season they had a goal difference of 13 goals and this season only 5. Again, so much money spent and not much improvement.

    In fifth we have Newcastle United with 17 points. I will leave them out as they are new this season and I cannot compare them.

    In sixth place we have…. Bolton Wanderers with 16 points and that is the same amount as last season in points. And this 16 points was good for 11th place last season. So an important improvement in the league place but not in points. And a positive goal difference of 1 (one) goal.

    And in seventh place we find our friendly neighbours from the Lane. They also have 16 points so far. But if you compare this with the 27 points and the third place they occupied last season you don’t need to have a high IQ to come to the conclusion that they are doing not as good as last season. Dropped 11 (eleven) points compared to last season. And their goal difference which was +7 last season has turned in to a negative of 1 goal. I think for the moment they are starting to realize and maybe we should also keep in mind that playing in the CL and competing at the top of the EPL is not an easy thing to do.

    Sunderland have also 16 points and last season they had 18 points so they also have got not as many points as last season.

    And in 9th place we find Liverpool who also have 16 points and last season they had 19 points so this is also not as good as last season. And also their goal difference is bad compared to last season when they had +10 and now -2.

    The same story goes for Aston Villa who also had 19 last season and this season 16. Their goal difference is the same -3.

    Next we find WBA but no material to compare them but like Newcastle they have made a very bright start. As we have found out if I may add.

    In 12th place we find Everton with 15 points and last season they had 23 points. So this is an 8 point deficit compared to last season. Last season they had a positive goal difference of 10 goals and this season it is 2. Also note that last season they were in 5th position with the same amount of points as Arsenal. So one could say that together with Tottenham they had a bad start of the season.

    In 13th place we find Blackburn with 15 points and last season they were in 8th place with 19 points. So also not as good as last season.

    Next team is Blackpool which I cannot compare but they also are not doing too bad I think.

    Fulham in 15th place with 13 points and last season were in 16th place with 12 points.

    Next are Stoke and they have the same amount of points as last season and I not going to talk any more about them. The same goes for Birmingham who are 17th with 12 points compared to the 13 points and place they had last season. Good to see those kicking teams low in the table.

    Next is Wigan with 11 points and that is the same as last season. Wolverhampton have 9 points and last season had 12 so they are in trouble. And at the bottom of the league we find West Ham with 8 points and that is the same amount as last year but then they managed to survive.

    So in general we can say that only a handful of teams have the same amount of points as last season: Chelsea, Arsenal, Man City if you allow me to focus on the top teams only.

    All the other teams have less points and some of them really have a lot of points less like Tottenham and Everton.

    Overall one could say that the league has become more difficult. A feeling I had before I started my research and which is being confirmed with the actual numbers. It could also mean that the champion will have not as many points at the end as last season. But we have to wait another 26 games to know that for sure.

  4. as I write this, manure are losing to villa. Hopefully, Chelsea won’t get more than a point tomorrow.
    As you said Andy, this week is pivotal & it may make up for our slip up of last week. Bring on the toffees!

  5. Goodison is a difficult venue these days so to come away with anything is a bit of a result. However Villa threw away a 2-0 lead against manure utd so a win would be a very good result. I agree Andy we are nervy and not playing at our best but both manure and chelski still manage to get results when they are “off form”! Defensively we have been ok but I think when Vermalen returns the defence will be better, he seems to organise them more effectively and leads by example when the team isn’t playing too well.

  6. Every game is an important game.
    Whether playing with Stoke City, Wolves,Blackpool or any other team that anyone can deem not strong given a particular record. Every point counts. It would be good to win every game, and Arsenal can certainly do that.

  7. I wouldn’t say our defense has been impressive. The lack of goals conceded feels down to good fortune and some great saves from Fabianski. Most of us I think would rather see Kosh & Vermaelen than Squilch & Djorou. However they are a totally new pairing so perhaps they can improve. Clichy seems to have some kind of defensive nightmare every game we play, sometimes with dire consequences and sometimes not…At least Gibbs is back again but I doubt he’ll start today. Sagna’s been good though. Song’s not quite Mr Reliable this season as he was last, probably due to his attacking forays – but I find it hard to criticise him for that when his goals have won us matches recently. And didn’t he plant that fantastic cross in for Chamakh last game?
    All in all though we’re vulnerable and I think every one knows it – I’m just hoping Moyes opts for the cautious approach. Ordinarily I’d say I’d settle for a draw but with our home form going awry I think we do need all 3 points here – and If we play with our heads screwed on we can do it. Bendtner to come off the bench and get the winner? Whatever. Up the Arsenal!

  8. They should play with passion to win against everton.arsene should start theo no arshavin

  9. Great win by the squad! Should have been at least 3-1 with Chamakh’s miss in front of goal. It seemed like a whole different squad out there. The squad seemed less concerned with playing football and more concerned with defending like crazy. I wonder if this is a new strategy by Wenger. Great effort by everyone!

  10. 2 – 1 to the Arsenal!! Fabianski was fantastic making those saves to keep us in the game at the end but we hung on for a great result. Good one Gunners and Chelsea getting beat too means we gain ground. Clichy wasnt that bad I think today and the return of Gibbs might have had something to do with it. Yes, it was a weekend of opportunity and boy didnt Arsenal make the most of it. Good away result

  11. That was the most enjoyable, satisfying Arsenal game Iv watched in a long time…absolutely loved it.
    All the stuff Iv been moaning and annoying everyone about that we lacked was there today, it was a real team effort, it looked like a team that really knew what it wanted to do and were rowing in for each other….what a result.
    Iv slated Nasri a bit on here, I stand by it for the way he was playing at the time, but my god hes a totally different animal this season, I think maybe he was struggling with fitness and injury for the earlier part of his Arsenal career but now after a sustained run in the team hes looked SUPERB, maybe the switch to the right has helped aswel, he and Sagna seem to have a great understanding and the fact that he now works very hard defensively (which was my biggest problem with him) means that when he wins the ball deep, or is available deep for a pass, leaves him with the whole pitch in front of him to link up and have a go, super stuff.
    For me Song was immense again today aswel, relentless, a little bit headless chicken but you cannot fault him, hes a tryer.
    Wilshere is top quality, hes won more tackles than the rest of the team put together so far this season, the more I see the more he amazes me….well done Denilson who slotted in seemlessly for the second half.
    Cesc is just Cesc.
    Fabianski was impressive again, he coming in to his own.
    Stll unsure about the CBs but when your missing Verm its hard.
    Lastly, what a bench we have at the moment, great options to call on, not least one of my fav players Rosicky, Iv said for ages this guy has something to offer and even if it is to be from the bench hes top quality when fit……you know its good when your in a pub full of irish manu and scouse dogs and their saying thats some lad to bring on as sub that your strong…..even though the resevoir of these guys football knowledge is miniscule, it feels good.
    Im not saying well win anything but the last two performances have shown me that when these guys get it right and play for eachother they can achieve…..happy out!
    Nonny, agree with you about Clichy, hes gone back, but its too soon to put Gibbs in….youll end up losing one if they both think their first choice.

  12. Fantastic weekend results-wise. Our problem has been indifferent home form against crappy mid-table teams like the Baggies and Newcastle. Oh shit,we have another one next weekend!

    Great team effort Nasri is in the form of his life. I thought Denilson over Wilshire was an improvement – Wilshire wasn’t having his best game. Arshavin still a worry as he started well but faded badly again. Djorou had his best game but Squillaci looks off the pace to me. And did I really see Sagna score?!!!

  13. @Terry. I agree about Squillaci. He has been a great addition, but he has played way more than expected. He’s probably running out of gas. Djourou is getting better with every match and needs games to continue. Maybe next week’s pairing will be Djourou and Koscielny.

  14. Gotta credit the arsenal for playing defense all over the pitch. It is refreshing to see arshavin helping out clichy on the left flank. I saw AA23 tracking runs from players all the way back to our 1/3 of the pitch multiple times today. I agree with the others who are saying that it looked like Arsenal had a real focus on playing defense. Djourou seems to win almost every header that comes his way, and he is composed when playing passes out of the back line. Screw the media and all those who doubt the Arsenal. Our time will come very soon (maybe this season) and we will once again find ourselves wearing the Premiership crown.

  15. Also thanks to Howard Webb for giving a booking to our own Cesc Fabregas when it was in fact fabregas who got his foot stamped on. This is the ref who gets the nod as best ref in the UK and i think he also did the CL final and WC final.

  16. Great weekend and nasri played the game of his life today. But there is still a problem with a lack of shooting from Chamak. He is costing us and thats why i would fancy a pairing of Persie and Bendtner.We must win games at all costs and do away with this shit of nit passing in the box.The thumping of Chelsea is a clear sign that the premiership is the best in the world. Lets give the Spuds a lesson to learn next.

  17. A near flawless and fabulous Fabianski performance coupled with a rare Song’s goal was the icing on a fantastic display by the brilliant Fabregas led gunners. Kudos.

  18. Our away form is SURPRISINGLY the best in the league…

    Looking at the current top 4;

    we have played 7 away games out of our 13 so far this season and we currently sit with 4 wins (Blackburn, Man City, Wolves, Everton) 2 draws (Liverpool, Sunderland) and 1 loss (Chelsea). Thats 14/21 points, 2 points per game average.

    Chelsea have played 6 away games, 3 wins (Wigan, West Ham, Blackburn) 1 draw (Villa) and 2 losses (Man City, Liverpool). Thats 10/18 points, 1.65 points per game.

    United have played 7 away games, 1 win (Stoke) and 6 draws (Fulham, Everton, Bolton, Sunderland, Man City, Villa) with 0 losses. Thats 9/21 points, 1.28 points per game.

    Man City have played 6 away games, 3 wins (Wigan, Blackpool, West Brom) 1 draw (Spurs) and 2 losses (Sunderland, Wolves). Thats 10/18 points, 1.65 points per game, same as Chelsea.

    We’ve clearly played the tougher games too, we have been to 2 of the 3 other current top 4 teams and picked up 3 points out of 6, we won at City and lost at Chelsea, but Chelsea lost to City dropping 3 points to City and Utd and City could only share a point each between them.

    We’ve gone to Blackburn, as well as Chelsea, and won which is not an easy place to go…we won at Everton, again not an easy ground and where Utd could only get a draw. We won at Wolves, where City have lost. We got a point at Anfield where Chelsea left empty handed. We got a point at Sunderland (should have been 3) where City got zero…

    We’ve played what is considered 7 difficult away games and got an average of 2 points at each…while we have yet to visit Wigan, Villa, West Ham, Fulham, Bolton, Blackpool, Spurs and West Brom which the other 3 top 4 teams have been to, some expected wins in there (Wigan, West Ham, Blackpool) [i know you shouldnt expect wins] and difficult places to go (Villa, Spurs, West Brom, Fulham) an unknown entity in Blackpool as well as West Ham who can cause us problems but are struggling this season.

    Looking back over the past few seasons, our home form has been good, except against Utd and Chelsea with the odd draw or unexpected slip up (West Ham 06/07, Hull 08/09 for examples) but perhaps we can beat Chelsea and/or Utd this season at home which will defunct the losses to West Brom and Newcastle and this season we could see some glory at the end of it.

    I know theres lots of IFs and BUTs, however, anything is possible.

    Lets keep the faith people and get behind our team thats coming of age finally.

  19. Where was Walkcott and RVP? well done to the boys for a good away win but frankly I wasnt satisfied with our attitude during the last 25mn of the game, we really played cowardly…… to me AW shud have thrown in RVP and Theo for more pressure on Everton..rest Nasri and Chamakh… and who knows??? .. might have had a win of 3-0 instead of 2-1 which is really a good good point add up for Goal Dif.
    Andy..do you know why Theo and RVP arent playing for the last two games??? even on subs?? do you guys have any info about this??? I was really P**d off yestday.

  20. @radads: Walcott and RVP were both on the bench – no need to bring them on at 2-0 up – away from home and especially not when we were towards the end of the game only 2-1 up

  21. I thought Arsenal were worth their win, and it was one of the better performances i’ve seen from them this season. Still think they’re too inconsistent to win the league though. It’s no good beating City and Everton, then losing at home to WBA and Newcastle.

    Everton were pretty poor though. Gave the ball away in midfield far too often, missed what good chances we did create up front, and looked calamitous in defence for their goals, especially the second. Real head in hands stuff on that one. And too many of our key players – Arteta, Baines, Saha – underperformed. Although to be fair to Arteta, he’s been playing through injury, which might perhaps explain why he put in one of the worst performances of his Everton career, and was then substituted.

    The Everton players to come out of the game with credit were Seamus Coleman, who caused Arsenal no end of problems down the right flank, and is another excellent buy from Moyes (60k from Sligo Rover); Steven Pienaar, who worked hard and did as much as anyone to drive us forward, regular beating men with some excellent skill; and Tim Cahill, who managed to get himself a goal and give us a bit of hope. But i’m not sure we deserved anything from the game.

    Our first defeat in seven, and losing to Arsenal isn’t necessarily a disaster, even if it’s disappointing. But we need to start turning a few of our draws into wins if we’re going to challenge for a European spot this season.

  22. @Larry – Excellent stats and analysis
    The boys did excellently yesterday and finally played to win, we put up a very mature display. We could’ve beaten Chelsea if we played like that…..rather than attack attack attack and fail to shoot

  23. Yesterday was that time when I’ve said previously – I’d rather hang on to a win than salvage a draw. 3 points instead of 1 is a bigger advantage than 1 instead of 0. And those 3 points were put into sharp perspective alongside United, Chelsea and Citeh all stumbling (or in Chelsea’s chav scum place, falling flat on their big fucking faces).

    For the second match in a row Fabianski helped secure the points with some outstanding saves. Only once did he look like he’d cocked it up but thankfully Yakubu was nearly in row 3 by the time he’d headed the ball. Fabianski looks like he’s been reading the internet to, beggining to kick off when someone get’s near him on a set piece. At one point I thought he was going to punch Cahills horrible face.

    That’s not to say he won us the match as people seem to be suggesting this morning – you still have to score a goal or two to win, and we did, two very fine goals. Sagna scored the goal that will haunt Everton’s defence for years to come. He had enough time to perform Riverdance in its entirety before receiving the ball, reciting the entire works of Shakespeare forward and then backwards before he lashed the ball as hard as I think I’ve even seen him kick a ball ever. I’ve seen a few people criticising Howard for not doing better, but really, near post, far post, if the ball is travelling at you at 168mph from 3 yds you have approximately 0.000001 second to save it.

    The second goal was a lovely piece of work, stemming from a Denilson break. I’m not always the Brazilians biggest fan, I’ll be honest, but he’s improved massively. The old Denilson would have attempted a killer ball on the break and would have likely wasted the opportunity but yesterday he held it up and made a sensible pass to keep the ball moving. Chamakh/Fabregas did the rest.

    Throughout all this the ref was doing his best to fuck up every single decision he could. He ran around with his eyes closed I think. And I do mean every decision, which hurt both sides equally. In that respect I don’t think either side can feel too aggrieved as neither got preferential treatment – the ref was just flat out awful.

    The two main examples that spring to mind were Squillaci who should probably have seen red and Fabregas who got a yellow card for being trodden on. Squillaci was the last defender and I’m sorry to say it but if that had have happened against us at the other end we’d be demanding retrospective punishment right now. Clichy was not a covering defender, as Clichy can’t defend. That was evidenced by Everton sticking the ball in the net, another decision that the ref got wrong. If you don’t play an advantage there, scrap the fucking rule. He did it to us too though, when an Arsenal player broke through only to be hauled back so he could have a free kick. Seriously, do referees just smoke crack before kick off?

    Everton finally started to threaten and as mentioned Fabianski made a string of great saves. Keeping us in the lead. If you want to be ultra critical, you’d have expected him to make most of them, but he got behind the ball and didn’t spill it once. The save where he dropped low to his left and got a single hand to it was world class.

    Call it a team effort then.

    Of course, Everton did eventually score which led to a nervy final few minutes. I watched the goal a few times and I still can’t understand how a) Song let Yakubu climb all over him and b) Yakubu climbing all over Song, using him as a ladder, wasn’t an infringement. Still, I guess it evened out with the goal they should have scored after the Squillaci foul.

    3 lovely points from a difficult game. Arsenal were clinical (less shot on target than the opposition) and resolute. And Fabregas/Wilshere were clearly both a little off colour. And we were missing TV and RVP.

    One team who didn’t keep a two goal lead at the weekend was Aston Villa. Seriously good stuff from Villa for 75 minutes, when they should have been 4-0 up against United, but actually only had 2 goals to show for their domination and then…. they self destructed. They literally shat themselves, sat down and cried – United wasting no time in scoring two goals. Thankfully with both Nani and Vidic in the fantasy league team, it wasn’t a total fucking waste of everyone’s time.

    Liverpool continued their hilarious descent into mediocrity. Seriously top stuff from the rat eaters. By all accounts they were totally dicked by Stoke. I read that Liverpool were trying to out long ball Stoke. And then I watched the highlights, well I say highlights, it was 4 minutes of Delap throwing the ball, and sure enough Liverpool just kicked it long and far. Great.

    Finally who will catch Chelsea now? They’ve got the league sewn up. They might go unbeaten. They have everything, power, strength, skill. LOLOLOL. Great stuff, back to back defeats for the chav scum mean everyone is back within touching distance. Except Man City who are within booing distance. Do you remember everyone saying Chelsea had the strongest squad? That they’d be the strongest team all season? Well they were totally and utterly outplayed by Sunderland yesterday, smashed into the fucking ground. Parasite Cole even put in his best cross of the season for their third.

    Sky took great pains in reminding us that they had four players out. But they still had Drogba/Malouda/Anelka upfront. How they’ll cope throughout the African Cup Of Nations I’ve no idea.

    So all in all a good weekend. Chelsea to keep losing but Drogba keep scoring likewise for City/Tevez please and this could be a great season. Bring on the spuds at the weekend!

  24. Kieron (and some others),
    Thank you for contributing something to this blog about the weekend. I didn’t expect to find it in the comments section, but I am glad I decided to give it a chance. Do you have a blog of your own because while I used to love reading here, the content is often late or missing recently so I probably won’t stick around much longer.

  25. @radads
    According to AW himself (ArsenalTVOnline), neither are 100% fit yet. To bring them on would not necessarily been the answer….hey we won the game and both players get extra time to hone their fitness 😉

  26. Hi mate,
    I may have something to interest you. I am in the process of creating a feed of all the Arsenal blogs I can find in the world, so the fans can check out the posts from every Arsenal site in the one place. I intend to only have sites from real fans, so there will be NO SkySports, Goal, Clubcall, The Sun, Mail, etc or all that “news” and rumours crap.

    I have been working on it for a while now, and already have 60 Arsenal Blogs on board. It is not a list of blogs but a feed of all the various posts on each blog. I am going to contact every Arsenal blog around that I can find to ask for permission to add them as well.

    All it has is a couple of lines of your post, and the headline will go straight to your website, so each post will link directly to you. You will also have a link to your home page on the contributors blogroll.

    If you would like your site added, please send me your feedburner or RSS feed url and I will get it added straight away.

    All I ask in return is a simple text link to “Just Arsenal Blogs” somewhere on your homepage or you can have my 120 x 40 button if you prefer?

    You can have a look at the site (and the button) here:

    Let me know if you want to join….

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