Everton head to Arsenal short on quality and quantity
Arsenal v Everton, Premier League, Emirates Stadium, Saturday December 10, 3pm
While there are plenty of managers feeling sorry for themselves at the moment, David Moyes probably has more reason than most.
Everton's mini-revival hit the buffers last weekend against Stoke, whose 1-0 win at Goodison Park left Moyes to reflect on just how much has changed for his side who, lest we forget, finished in the top four as recently as 2005.
The club's dire financial situation has left Moyes drastically short in both quality and quantity of players, and while it is a situation the Scot is desperate to rectify in January, he is unlikely to receive hefty funds to do so.
"We are short, undeniably we are short," admitted Moyes after a fourth home league defeat of the season and a seventh in total left his side in 10th place. "We need scorers of goals and creators of goals, but we know that."
Their former creator in chief, Mikel Arteta, will be wearing red not blue on Saturday, and without the Spaniard Everton have struggled woefully in midfield.
That may be rectified at the Emirates by the return of Jack Rodwell, who impressed on his full England debut against Sweden last month, but has not played for Everton since because of a rib injury.
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Club captain Phil Neville could also return, although it is up front where Moyes has a real shortage.
With Louis Saha and Victor Anichebe both sidelined, Greek teenager Apostolos Vellios was asked to lead the line against Stoke.
That would be passable if attacking midfielder Tim Cahill was in any kind of form, but the Australian has failed to find the net for Everton since December 20 last year. On-loan Argentinian Denis Stracqualursi is another option, but he is yet to start in the league.
Moyes can at least rely on the flying form of right winger Seamus Coleman, while at the back Phil Jagielka and Johnny Heitinga are a dependable pairing in front of American keeper Tim Howard.
They will expect a busy afternoon at the Emirates against the red-hot Robin van Persie.
Arsene Wenger has hosted Everton 15 times in north London, winning 12 and drawing the other three. Does that record look like ending here? In a word, no. Wenger rested most of his first team in midweek and they should be fit and ready to resume their unbeaten league run. A 3-1 home win.
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