Arsenal vs Everton | Friday 23rd April 2021, 20:00 | Sky Sports
Everton Football Club, one of the original founder members of the Football League in 1888, travel to Arsenal Football Club; the first southern member of the Football League, in the Premier League, of which both were inaugural members, on Friday night.
It is six without a win for the Toffees, although the last three in succession have been draws, and whilst Mikel Arteta’s side have won just twice in their last seven in all competitions, that did include progression to the UEFA Europa League semi-finals, plus they didn’t lose a single game in the 48-hour European Super League! 😉
Both clubs are seemingly up against it if they are to potentially gate-crash fourth-spot in the Premier League, and it would appear Arsenal are very much throwing all of their eggs into winning the Europa League based upon their team selection against Fulham last week, which even included rotating goalkeepers.
Everton do at least have a game in hand or two over most of their rivals, so they’re not completely out of the European picture, which of course includes fifth spot making the Europa League group stage for next season.
Determining this game is very much dependent on how Arsenal approach it. They will have had five days since the Fulham draw going into this one, and then another six before taking on Villarreal in the first-leg of their massive European semi-final.
That is still the best part of a week, and after coming under scrutiny for making so many changes, which backfired, last weekend then I suspect Arteta may recruit a few more regular starters to face his former club. That Fulham game made it four in a row without winning at the Emirates, and fans or not, they need to end that rot sooner rather than later.
Everton actually possess one of the best away records in the league. Only the current top three of Man City, Man Utd and Leicester have achieved more points on their travels. In fact, since losing in Newcastle on November 1st last year, only Chelsea have beaten them away, so odds of around 3/1 on an Everton win here does strike as quite generous.
However, the Toffees have never won at the Emirates, and they’ve actually not won an away fixture at Arsenal since January 1996. For the record, they won 2-1 with Andrei Kanchelskis scoring a late winner.
The fitness of Dominic Calvert-Lewin will likely be key to making any betting decisions ahead of this game, as well. He has sat out the past two matches with an abductor problem, and Carlo Ancelotti wants him back in his side to try and add to his 14 goal Premier League return.
A trio of his teammates are tied second with six goals for team top scorer, which highlights the importance of the England international to the Merseyside club. Watch out for team news on Thursday when Ancelotti speaks to the press.
I will however put up a selection for the purposes of the article, and I just for the life of me can’t be having Arsenal right now, or at any point this season really. They are arguably the most frustrating team in the league, with the exception of Brighton, given that you don’t really know what you’re going to get.
I do feel as though both teams will go to win this one, almost to the point where if this was a draw late on then bodies would be thrown forward. Conceding first would be likely costly, especially with Arsenal winning only three of 16 when doing so, and Everton winning just one of 14. Knowing that, both will be slightly cautious to begin with, before opening up in the second period.
The first selection is Half Time Draw at 61/50 (Sporting Index), and secondly Over 1.5 Second Half Goals at 6/5 (Unibet). I’m also happy to throw forward Gylfi Sigurdsson Anytime Goalscorer at 11/2 (Betfair).
Everton are strong on set pieces, but Arsenal are one of the best in the league at defending them, so it could take a long range strike from the in-form Icelandic international, who netted a brace recently against another North London club. If Calvert-Lewin doesn’t play again then expect him to be central to a lot that Everton do on the night.