Everton v Arsenal: PREVIEW
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Arsenal travel to Merseyside on Sunday to take on Everton. Read on for Layth Yousif’s in-depth preview of the crucial clash at grand old Goodison Park.
Unai Emery’s Arsenal face the challenge of Everton at grand old Goodison Park at the weekend as the race for a top four spot hots up.
Monday evening’s comfortable 2-0 victory over Newcastle at the Emirates saw the Gunners leapfrog bitter North London rivals Spurs, until the Lillywhites 2-0 win over Crystal Palace at the new White Hart Lane saw them regain third spot.
The win over Rafa Benitez’s Magpies was clinched after Alex Lacazette grabbed the second late on following Aaron Ramsey’s first half opener to make it ten wins on the bounce in N5.
Arsenal have seven matches left to clinch a coveted top four spot and the promise of Champions League football next term, but with five of their remaining fixtures away from home there is still much to be done.
Speaking about what he and his colleagues need to do to ensure rejoining the top table of continental football next season Lacazette said: “[We need] to play like we did [against Newcastle]
“To be good defensively by getting a clean sheet and to score a goal. If we do this, then we can secure Champions League football. I think we are more confident and everybody knows what we have to do.
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“When you win a lot of games in a row, of course there is a lot of confidence. We’re working every day to get into the third place so now that we are, we have to work hard to stay in this position.”
Arsenal’s 5-2 victory the last time the teams met at Goodison Park in October 2017 on Arsene Wenger’s 67th birthday resulted in incumbent Ronald Koeman being sacked the next day after the Toffees slipped into the relegation zone.
The Gunners attacking performance was superb with the goals shared around through Nacho Monreal, Ozil, Alex Lacazette, Aaron Ramsey and Alexis Sanchez.
Yet the same defensive frailties that blighted the final years of Wenger’s reign were all too evident. More of a pointer was the 2-0 win over Marco Silva’s side in September when an improved second half display sealed the points.
Plenty of the same at evocative Goodison on Sunday against the Blue half of Merseyside would go a long way to boosting hopes of ending the season in the top four.
Speaking ahead of the match Gunners boss Emery said: “For us it’s a big challenge. We want to achieve the same good performances as when we play at Emirates Stadium.
“We have confidence now but we know it’s very difficult and I think it’s a long way until the last matches.
“Each match is worth three points, like Sunday against Everton, which is the most important. We know other clubs will take a lot of points.”
On paper at least the omens are good for Arsenal as Everton could lose five consecutive Premier League matches against the North Londoners for the first time in 19 years.
The Gunners 97 wins in this fixture is an English league record for one side against another. In the Premier League era Arsenal have scored 107 goals against Everton which is a Premier League record against a single team.
The Emirates outfit have already matched their total tally of 63 points from last season with seven games left while Aaron Ramsey has scored six goals in his last five Premier League games against Everton, his best overall return against any team.
However, Arsenal are the only Premier League side without an away clean sheet this season and could concede a goal in 15 consecutive top-flight away matches for the first time since February 1985 while Emery’s side are winless in all five matches at top-half teams in 2018-19.
For live updates from Goodison Park follow Arsenal reporter Layth on Twitter @laythy29