It seems strange that there is an Arsenal match tonight, after all the lulls that we have gone through after the past few weeks, since being knocked out of the Champions League at Bayern.
The last time there was a flurry of Arsenal games, was in January, where Arsenal had to make do with the Saturday-Tuesday/Wednesday-Saturday styled fixture list for 4 long weeks. With the recent resurgence in form, I am not complaining about games coming in thick and fast.
Everton at home, apart from Manure at home will be one of the trickier of the ties we will have to negotiate from now till the end of the season. That said, Everton have been punching above their weight for quite some time now, and despite financial limitations, which eventually has meant a limited squad, they have enjoyed a pretty good season.
Still in the reckoning for a top 4 finish, and lying just 3 points off Chelsea and Sp*rs, and 4 points off us, David Moyes has managed to construct another hard working unit, sprinkled with dogged players and some fine individual players like Leighton Baines, Marroane Fellaini, Steven Piennar etc.
Arsenal, on the other hand on the bounce of 7 wins in the last 8 league games, will have a chance to go 7 points clear of Sp*rs, by Saturday, to mount more pressure on the famous bottlers. Everton know anything but a win will dent their chances of making it into the elite, so this game could be more cagey than open.
Arsenal have an almost fully fit squad now, with Tomas Rosicky being adjudged fit to play. It will be interesting to see if the manager decided to reinstate the Czech international back into the squad, or keep faith in Jack Wilshere, about whom he admitted was rushed back into action against Norwich.
Apart from that, the manager will have to decide whether to start Gervinho, who was back to his apalling best against Norwich, or play Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who contributed with an assist, or Theo Walcott, who immediately provided an impact, or Lukas Podolski, who scored right at the end.
Olivier Giroud could really do with a rest, having lead the line over the past few weeks, but I suspect that would happen, and I feel a Podolski – Giroud – Walcott up front is the best attacking option at the moment.
Aaron Ramsey did not put a foot wrong against Norwich, and has been impressive over the past few weeks. So, he should definitely keep his place along side Arteta. The thinking point for the manager would be whether to start with the combination of Cazorla and Wilshere, or Cazorla and Rosicky to supply the front two.
Apart from that, he will also have to take a decision as to who will partner Laurent Koscielny in the centre of defence. The skipper Thomas Vermaelen, who had a decent outing against Norwich, or Per Mertesacker, his most trusted defender at the moment. I have a feeling Mertesacker will get the nod.
Lukasz Fabianski is out after receiving a kick to the ribs, during the Norwich game, which means Szczesny will return to the squad. Another interesting watch.
Everton have no injury concerns. This is how I expect the two sides to line up.
Everton will definitely battle hard, and it is going to be a very hard game for Arsenal. Mikel Arteta knows all about the Toffess, who he says are a side that never give up.
Arsenal will have to deal with the towering Fellaini in midfield, while Darron Gibson is a player not afraid to take his shots from long range. Victor Anichebe will be a constant menace for Arsenal’s defenders, with his pace and strength.
Leighton Baines has created over a 100 chances, from left-back, which is an achievement in itself, but he is not one to shun his defensive duties. Olivier Giroud will have to be at his best, to tackle a physical defensive partnership of Jagielka and Distin.
3 points are vital to keep the momentum going, and to ensure the pendulum doesn’t swing back to Sp*rs favour. It will be a great game to watch!
Enjoy the game wherever you are!
Jai Arsenal 🙂
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