Everton (h): team news, thoughts and predicted starting XI

One of the less sophisticated way of preventing Theo Walcott from escaping…

Afternoon boys ‘n’ girls.

There are 6 games remaining for us to secure a Champions League place, and tonight’s is the toughest and the most important – the visit of United would be considered the sternest test ordinarily, but there is a great deal more riding on this game. Everton have had an excellent season and could really set the cat amongst the pigeons should they secure 3 points.

The Toffees sit 4 points behind us in the table, and 3 behind Spurs and Chelsea. Any hopes they have of qualification for Europe’s premier competition will depend largely on their fortunes this evening, so I fully expect them to come out and try to beat us. They can ill-afford to sit deep and play for a draw, or soak up pressure and hope to steal a win on the counter. They’ll attack, and with a bit of luck that mentality will play into our hands. Too often we see Arsenal struggle to break down teams set on parking the bus. Against an opponent playing for the 3 points suits us.

There’s a mixed bag in the way of team news. Tomas Rosicky has recovered from his recent injury and is fit and available, as is Per Mertesacker who returns from his domestic ban. However, recent first choice stopper, Lukas Fabianski is a serious doubt with a rib injury, and Arsene is likely to plunge Szczsney back into the fray after having so unceremoniously dropped him. Nacho Monreal is expected to retain his place at left full-back, and Abou Diaby remains stuck on the sidelines having already sustained every injury imaginable – in fact, I’m certain our medical team have started inventing conditions just to keep things fresh and interesting.

Some say there is a chance Wilshere will be rested, but for a game of such magnitude I find that difficult to believe. My guess would be:

I can already feel the nerves swirling around my stomach. We may have played games far greater in their significance, and with a more illustrious prize, but victory tonight could see us well on the way to cementing our claim for a top four finish. Defeat could set us back considerably. A draw isn’t catastrophic, but wouldn’t be of much use to either team, and would feel like defeat given the opportunity we have.

As I reguarly state, defence will be the key tonight. For all our dominance with the ball, our undoing usually comes from silly, avoidable mistakes at the back. Concentration and focus will be important, and Everton pose a threat in many areas of the field, and have players who can deliver well from set pieces.

If we can focus, and if we turn up in the attacking third of the field, I’m fairly sure a favourable result will be forthcoming. It’s times like these that the well-documented “strong mentality” of the team needs to be on show. The pressure will be on, the fans will be high on expectation. It’s time to stand up and be counted, Arsenal.

I think it will be close tonight, and we’ll pinch it 2-1 having gone a goal down early on.

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Arsenal vs Everton odds.

That’s all for today folks. The comments eagerly await your thoughts and predictions. Who would you start? What do you think the final score will be? Let me know.

As always; thanks for reading, you beautiful bastards. I shall return tomorrow with a review of the game, and hopefully a bit of good news.

16 Comments

Filed under Match previews

16 Responses to Everton (h): team news, thoughts and predicted starting XI

  1. MQ

    Arshavin makes a appearance and scores Gunners 3-nil.

    • Gravey

      Seeing Arshavin get a start would be a welcome change but I’m sure his Arsenal career will end bench warming. Too bad.

  2. Veer

    Lol, I laughed at the part it says 2-1, after going a goal down! Arsenal can’t play well without being a goal down, so they might as well give the other team half a goal to start with

  3. Ren Vassilliou

    THAT WOULD BE GOOD TO SEE ,BUT I KNOW IF ARSHAVIN WAS GIVEN AN OPPORTUNITY HE WOULD MESS IT UP ,IT;’S BEST HIS LEFT ALONE .. STILL A BIG FAN OF HIS LIKE MOST GOONERS.

  4. Cupsui

    I’d be very surprised if whilshere started. He struggled the last game (form and fitness), even arsene admitted he wasn’t ready. So i’m 95% sure Rosicky will start…

    As for the rest Jimbo…great team talk. If you ask me something along those line is exactly what wenger should be shouting at them before the game. Fire the F*#kers up. We NEED a good 1st half here!

  5. kudos

    dont you think you are forgeting someone so soon? his name is Ramsey, he was the man of the match against Norwich. Just alternate Carzola”s position with Rosicky, then remove Wilshere for Ramsey and we are good to go.

  6. no Ramsey after being man of the match; Ramsey and Theo in and Gervinho and Wilsher out

  7. Podolski ramsey need to start an let gervino an rosiski wait on de bench .

  8. Wally Forbes

    AW must keep his nerve and not select Jack,who is clearly not match fit.The only changes should be ,obviously GK due to injury,and Walcott for the maddeningly inconsistent Gervinho’s,otherwise the team shoul d be the one that started against WBA,anything different to this will cause us to struggle against a confident determined talented Everton team.Don’t bottle it AW.

  9. Pedro

    It’s so difficult leaving a football comment on this site where there are loads of people with “F**k all” knowledge of football.

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