Arsenal v. Everton PreviewBy: Perry | November 27th, 2012
5th place on the horizon.
Let me start with a quote from our beloved Gigi via Arseblog:
“There’s obviously been lots of discussion about Villa and where it all went wrong over the last few days. And perhaps it’s a sign of the times that it all going wrong is a 0-0 draw. As frustrating as it was it’s not the worst result in the world, and maybe at a time when Arsenal fans can find the cloud in every situation, we need to look at the silver lining a bit.” Moving on from that draw and the angst that ensued from some, I’d like to fiddle this little fact your way: Arsenal, fresh off a scoreless draw with Aston Villa Saturday, are unbeaten in their last five matches. To add, even though we did not score against Villa, we have scored 10 goals in our 3 prior matches including the thumping of the Spuds and the end-to-end win against Montpellier.
So while we sit in 6th place right now, “the season of no defending” has us sitting only 1 point behind 5th, 5 points behind 4th, and 6 points behind 3rd. Doom and gloom? I think not.
Moving on to tomorrow’s matters then, shall we…
Everton has again shown they have a fighting spirit. A favorite of mine led by who I’d like to succeed Arsene at some point, Moyes’ club started off in the league with a scintillating start at 4-1-1 start, but have since tapered off and have the Gunners and Spuds right behind them. A win and the Toffees can buy some breathing room. Everton have not lost in six home EPL matches this season, but their recent run in the league (just one win since September) could soon put a notch in the loss column.
Belgian star Marouane Fellaini without a doubt has been the shining start at Goodison Park and will be the main man our boys will have to mark. Considering after playing us, Everton have to deal with the likes of Manchester City and Tottenham, this match will have a significant level of importance for them, so I fully expect them to be at their best.
For our boys, coming off a hard-fought & frustrating performance on Saturday, I expect the squad to be ready for this big match. A win here obviously moves us up the table and a step closer to 4th, but will be significantly important since this will be the start of a 4 match crunch of matches. Everton first up tomorrow, then Saturday we’re home against Swansea, come Tuesday we’re away in Greece for our final group match in the UCL, and then finally conclude the crunch that Saturday against current 3rd place holders, West Brom. So take all of that in, and then realize that this could be the most difficult stretch of matches for us thus far, so starting off with a win is vitally important for: standings, morale, and overall momentum.
The biggest problem I see of late is the struggle to find room to roam for Arteta and Cazorla, our Spanish wonders. If they can unlock some space, then the trouble with scoring away from home – just two all season – should start to be resolved. On our side is the current form of Giroud and Poldi, both showing they are finding their footing in the EPL after a slow start to the season. Giroud, in particular, has been incredibly impressive not only on the front, but his defensive acumen is blatantly apparent. Nothing more I love than seeing a big, tall striker being involved on both ends of the pitch. On the defensive end, it’s great to see Gibbs back giving us a better distributor on crosses than we’ve seen of late, and showing solidarity with our other boys back there. With Gibbs healthy, we are now able to field our strongest back 4 since the start of the season, and also have additional, quality depth on the bench.
The greatest challenge for our boys at this pivotal point in the season is finding the right balance between attack and defence. If we’re able to find this balance, then we’ll surely find the form and start gathering points in heapings, hopefully starting that “W” tally tomorrow.
In health news: It sounds like Walcott may be back in contention for tomorrow’s match after suffering a shoulder injury against the Spuds which held him from play against Montpellier and Villa. Rosicky is back in training (YEAH!) and will be back with the first team in the next 2 weeks after getting a few matches with the reserves. Diaby is still a month out, so nothing new there and there are no other injury concerns that I am aware of at this time. *KNOCK ON WOOD* if you read that.
Perry’s (bold) prediction: Arsenal 3 – Everton 1. Goodison Park is one of the toughest grounds to go to in the Premier League, but we have a great record there, winning our last three visits. In fact, Arsenal have not lost a league game at Merseyside since March 2007.
Match starts at 2:45 EST. Streaming will likely be found @ atdhenet.tv. LiveBlog will be up and running tomorrow during the course of the match, so I look forward to your comments below and your participation in the LB!
UP THE ARSE!!