After our Europa League adventures, we return to the pleasures of the Premier League. We face Everton at The Emirates, and we have a few clues in regards to team selection after the heavy rotation we saw on Thursday.
Everton will be a stiffer test than our Ukrainian opponents, but home advantage and a fluid attack should give us an edge over the Toffees. A win over Marco Silva’s team would be a good gauge as to where our expectations should lie in terms of finishing position this season. Should we win, we can keep looking skywards. A loss and we know there is still fundamental work that hasn’t been completed yet.
So, what can we expect in terms of our eleven?
We are still bereft of Laurent Koscielny, Sead Kolasinac and Ainsley Maitland-Niles, which presents a problem with the left side of our defence. Nacho Monreal will need to play every game, which is a surefire route to injury. The Spaniard will most likely play this game after featuring on Thursday, but we could do with another who can cover. Stephane Linchtsteiner showed earlier this season that he can fill in if necessary.
Mohamed Elneny and Lucas Torreira started in the Europa League win, and both may well be benched, with Granit Xhaka and Aaron Ramsey taking their spots. This is despite Torreira having a stormer versus Vorskla.
In attack, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang playing and grabbing two goals, it would make sense to play the Gabon man again and make use of his hot streak, but the fact he played may point out that Lacazette, the man who made a recliner of the subs bench on Thursday, may just get the nod to lead the line. Mesut Ozil and Matteo Guendouzi were also on the bench, and should get back their places.
Marco Silva saw his side lose out to West Ham last time out. The Hammers had no wins before that game, and the Toffee’s duly obliged and rolled over far too easily. West Ham were far more resilient in this game than before, but Everton should have had too much in the tank.
He may ring the changes, and new signing Yerry Mina could make his debut in defence with Michael Keane still not quite fit. In attack, Richarlison is now available after suspension, and he could come straight back into the side, especially after his blistering start to the campaign.
Everton haven’t beaten us at our home ground since 1996, and they will have to be wary of Aaron Ramsey, who has scored six goals in his last four games against the Toffees. They also need to arrest a horrendous away run that sees them with just three wins from 29 away games.
How will this go?
If we can keep Richarlison quiet, then we might be able to outscore them. With the likelihood being Mustafi will come back into the side as well as Petr Cech, our best chance won’t be to nullify our opponent, it will be to score as many as we can so we don’t have to rely on a clean sheet.
Speaking of Mustafi, he may make the difference at the other end too - Everton have conceded more set-piece goals than any other side so fat, so the aerial ability of Mustafi could make a big difference.
Lacazette will need service, if Ozil can free himself of any shackles aimed at him by Tom Davies, he can give Laca the ammo to score.
Predicted Lineup - Cech, Bellerin, Mustafi, Sokratis, Monreal, Xhaka, Guendouzi, Iwobi, Ozil, Ramsey, Lacazette
Predicted scoreline - 3-2 to The Arsenal