IT'S a Premier League treat on Tuesday with Arsenal travelling to Goodison Park; will the Gunners prevail or is this the start of more festive blues for Arsene Wenger? Will Dyer (@w2Dyer) analyses the odds.
Everton v Arsenal | Tuesday 19:45 | BT Sport 1
Everton’s dreadful series of results continued at the weekend – the 3-2 defeat at Vicarage Road making it now just one win from 10 Premier League outings.
The only positive for Ronald Koeman can be Romelu Lukaku ending a four-game goal drought after bagging a brace. It won’t mask any of the failings though; Jose Holebas got far too much joy down the Everton right and Stefano Okaka’s aerial presence was not dealt with either.
The complete opposite is true of Arsenal. After a dodgy period of stale performances and a lack of goal threat in which they drew a few games, they’ve now won three on the bounce and made it 14 unbeaten in the league since losing to Liverpool on the opening weekend.
The 4-1 win in Basel also ensured they topped their Champions League group but in typical Arsenal fashion their reward for that is a two-legged nightmare against Bayern Munich, again.
Overall it’s been a good start to the season for Arsenal but we’ve been here in many times before.
At this stage last season they were second, two points behind Leiceste, but finished up 10 points back at the end of May. In 2013/14 they were five points clear after 15 games but finished fourth. Getting excited by Arsenal’s chances has become the exact opposite of a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Analysing the Gunners’ chances against Everton is tough. Goodison Park has been a fairly happy hunting ground for Arsene Wenger – their record under the Frenchman reading W10-D5-L5 but despite Everton’s poor form they are unbeaten at home in the league this season and they regularly rise to the occasion.
The Toffees have recorded draws against Manchester United, Manchester City and Tottenham this season with all three games ending 1-1 and they’ve only lost one of their last four home ties against Arsenal.
One trend I have spotted is Everton’s goals scored when hosting the Gunners.
Nine of the last 14 times they’ve met on Merseyside they’ve scored exactly one goal. That ties nicely with the fact that Wenger’s men have conceded exactly one goal in five of their last six away league matches and in total have conceded 15 in 15 Premier League matches this season.
I expect Everton to give Arsenal problems but they could fall short. Yannick Bolasie is a key absence and their confidence cannot be in a great place considering recent form.
The 1-1 draws against the other top sides this season points towards the possibility of another here but if Arsenal get going as they have on so many occasions this season it could be a very different scoreline.
Arsenal could go either way
Alexis Sanchez is leading the way with 11 goals this season but he’s also being backed up by Theo Walcott. The latter has just reached 100 career goals, 57 of them have been in the Premier League giving him an average of just five per-season but this term he has seven.
One goal scored for Everton looks about right. The spine of Petr Cech, Laurent Koscielny and Francis Coquelin that Alan Shearer was alluding to on Match Of The Day has been strong this season but still gives up a chance or two and with Lukaku around I expect one will be taken.
Everton to score exactly one goal is 6/4 with Bet365, it makes much more appeal than Arsenal to win at 10/11 which goes against the golden rule of never backing odds-on aways.
The Gunners have already won 3-1, 5-1 and 4-1 twice away in the league this season but this selection would also cover us should Arsenal screw up in a 1-0 defeat or Everton manage to hold another top team to a 1-1 draw.
Everton v Arsenal – Everton to score exactly one goal (6/4 Bet365)