the three letters tar inside a cannon
article banner
WizardOfOzil avatar


Arsenal v Everton: Auba's Ill and Walcott's Coming Home

Arsenal will need to pick themselves up to face Everton on Saturday afternoon. In football, a great deal can happen in a short space of time - since Tuesday's harrowing defeat at the Liberty Stadium against Swansea, Arsenal have broken there club record transfer fee to sign Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang; sold their highest scoring player over the past few years in Olivier Giroud; and held onto perhaps their star player in Mesut Ozil with a new contract.This doesn't really take away from poor league form, though - especially with the sides above Arsene Wenger's side gaining points, such as Liverpool at Huddersfield and especially Tottenham's convincing victory against Manchester United. Usually a week in which United and Chelsea drop points - with the Cherries victory at Stamford Bridge making Arsenal's recent defeat by Eddie Howe's side a LITTLE bit less embarrassing - but that's not the case in this week.The Swansea defeat highlighted how poor Arsenal's defense can be at times and none of the new additions will change that; but if there's one thing to be drawn from Carlos Carvalhal's tenure at Swansea so far, it's that new additions aren't integral to success - a different coaching approach can have a far more notable effect.Arsenal are in a good position to reinvent the way they play at the moment due to the departures, additions and form of recent weeks. When Carvalhal took over from Paul Clement at Swansea, his new side were in free-fall. By the time they had beaten Arsenal on Tuesday evening, they had earned 10 points from 5 matches and without bringing in a single player - the same squad that had been so bereft of confidence before Christmas was now winning matches.Arsenal's defense is in need of invigoration, with Petr Cech having perhaps his worst game as a Gunner midweek - although Nacho Monreal and Granit Xhaka didn't exactly help his cause with their defensive performances in Wales. When Everton make the trip south from Merseyside on Saturday, they will be coming as a side that have found new confidence under Sam Allardyce, and will be looking to continue adding to the pile of misery that has been Arsenal's league form.The ninth place side are currently 11 points behind Arsenal, who sit 3 places above them - which may seem like a large gap, but with the bridge between Arsenal and the top 4 widening to 8 points, it's not as intimidating for the toffees.Everton ended a seven-match winless run with a 2-1 victory over Leicester on Wednesday. Theo Walcott, who joined from Arsenal in January, scored both goals for the Toffees and if the Englishman can bring this form into Saturday's encounter against his former employer's, Allardyce will be very happy.In terms of the home side’s new additions, supporters will be eager to see Aubameyang in action, but he may unexpectedly be unavailable - due to illness.The 28-Year-Old Gabonese international has come down with fever and although he trained on Thursday, Wenger said in his pre-match press conference on Friday that his new player will need to be assessed before being introduced to the team.One player who likely will be getting his first start is Henrikh Mkhitaryan, who featured from the bench in the loss against Swansea, but is expected to start the game against Everton. If Aubameyang does not feature, then Mkhitaryan will snugly fit into the gap in the attack left the departed Alexis Sanchez alongside Ozil and Alexandre Lacazette. If the Armenian's former Dortmund teammate does feature then Lacazette may be a little worried about his position.Lacazette has scored nine goals since signing for Arsenal from Lyon in the Summer, and it is still unclear as to how his new colleague and himwill play together, or will they alternate the position. It's not the worst headache for Wenger to have, but it something that will need to be addressed in the coming matches.In terms of absentees, joining Aubameyang in the sick bay is midfielder Jack Wilshire, who is also ill. Longer term absentees are midfielder Santi Cazorla and forward Danny Welbeck.Back for the away side is talismanic Irish left back Seamus Coleman, who played the entire match against Leicester City, although his manager may decide to give him a rest as he has only just returned from a horrific leg injury that kept him out of action for 319 days. Out for certain is his compatriot James McCarthy who suffered a double leg break against West Bromwich Albion.In the running to make his first appearance for Everton is new on-loan defender Eliaquim Mangala, who could be involved after joining from Manchester City on transfer deadline day.There are two long-standing statistics that may offer slight hope for an improvement from the Swansea performance. Firstly, Everton have played more Premier League matches at the Emirates without winning than any other club playing 11 matches - of which 4 have been draws and 7 have been losses.Secondly - and this feels like a record that is there to be broken - Arsenal have never lost a Premier League game at the Emirates in the month of February (P21 W17 D4 L0), with their last home defeat coming against West Ham at Highbury in February 2006. Hopefully for Arsenal's sake, one record will be broken - goalkeeper Cech has been on the precipice of breaking the all-time Premier League clean sheet record following the 1-0 win over Newcastle in mid-December.Wenger and his side will be hopeful they can bounce back from poor results against Bournemouth and Swansea and earn a win in the league, especially with important Europa League matches, a League Cup Final and next week’s North London derby against Tottenham on the horizon.Everton travel to the Emirates on Saturday the 3rd of February to play Arsenal in the Premier League, with kick-off scheduled for 17.30pm.