Arsenal welcome Everton to the Emirates on Sunday hoping to rid themselves of all memory of their mid-week capitulation against Monaco.
Here’s everything they need to know to ensure the same thing doesn’t happen.
|Home Ground||Goodison Park (40,157)|
|Record Signing||Romelu Lukaku (£28m in 2014)|
|Top Scorer||Romelu Lukaku (13)|
|Top Assister||Leighton Baines (11)|
|Most Yellow Cards||Gareth Barry (11)|
|Star Player||Romelu Lukaku|
|Biggest Liability||Aaron Lennon|
STYLE OF PLAY
As Everton almost doubled their record transfer fee when they signed Romelu Lukaku for £28m (previous highest was Marouane Fellaini for £15m back in 2008) it’s no surprise that their play is built around the Belgian (the one that still plays for Everton, not the one now at the centre of the United “long ball” saga!).
The Toffees place a lot of emphasis on getting their full backs up in support of the attack, both Baines and Coleman possess strong attacking instincts, the former with his delivery and the latter with his Ivanovic-like ability both in the air and for arriving in the right place at the right time.
Typically the wide forwards are expected to graft hard as a result and the ostensible number 10 (probably Naismith, although Barkley could feature) will also be called upon to fill in the holes at the back.
With such attacking width, it’s inevitable that Everton deploy a defensive double pivot with two of Besic, Barry and McCarthy providing a shield for the otherwise exposed centre back pairing. They will break up play, rotate their fouling, and, depending on the leniency of the ref, pick up cards at will.
Arsenal must look to get in behind the channels left by the full backs at pace, and try to draw the centre backs out wide leaving gaps in the middle to exploit.
Ultimately though, Everton are used to being able to play a counter-attacking game and using their wide men to exploit the spaces which are inevitably left by the opposition when they set up camp in the Everton half.
Given the relative league positions, the Toffees will be more than happy to sit back and invite Arsenal onto them, but Arsene Wenger’s men must avoid the temptation to throw caution to the wind and get caught on the break.
When one team’s strength (counter attacks) is the opposition’s weakness (defending counter attacks), you have to adjust how you play to minimise how you are exposed to that threat.
The communication must be better than midweek to ensure that one full-back is always tucked in beside his centre-half no matter how great the temptation to join the attack.
Discipline will be the order of the day.
SEASON SO FAR
Everton’s season got off to a slow start with just one win and two draws in the first five games. The two draws were consecutive 2-2 affairs with Leicester and ourselves so let’s hope it’s not a sign of things to come given that their last game was also a 2-2 draw, again with Leicester!
Early on, the weaker sides were punished as Everton sealed victories over West Brom, Aston Villa and Burnley, while 22nd November was their first victory over a side currently in the top half.
Steady progress in the Europa League saw them top Group H, but domestic form was rather harder to come by, a real surprise given their 5th place finish last season.
Between 16th December and 18th January, they managed to pick up just a single point, slightly bizarrely against Manchester City, losing to Southampton, Stoke, Newcastle and Hull as well as going out of the FA Cup on penalties to West Ham.
Everton’s season has been characterised by draws and occasional wins, but they have only managed back-to-back league wins once, against Aston Villa and Burnley and that inconsistency has marred their season.
Although they are only six points from the relegation places, it’s hard to see them slipping that far down the table, so the real opportunity for the Toffees lies in the Europa League, where Thursday’s elimination of Young Boys moves them into the last 16 and a pairing with Dynamo Kiev.
Arsenal must hope that the boys in blue still have one eye on their European adventure.
|League||23/08/2014||(A)||D 2-2||Arsenal: Ramsey (83) Giroud (90)
Everton: Coleman (19) Naismith (45)
|League||06/04/2014||(A)||L 0-3||Arsenal: –
Everton: Naismith (14) Lukaku (34) Arteta OG (61)
|FA Cup||08/03/2014||(H)||W 4-1||Arsenal: Ozil (7) Arteta (68 P) Giroud (83, 85)
Everton: Lukaku (32)
|League||08/12/2013||(H)||D 1-1||Arsenal: Ozil (80)
Everton: Deulofeu (84)
|League||16/04/2013||(H)||D 0-0||Arsenal: –
Record for Arsenal v Everton:
Overall record between the two clubs:
Everton’s last 5 results: DLWD?
|Europa League||Young Boys||(H)||W 3-1||Lukaku (2), Mirallas|
|League||Leicester||(H)||D 2-2||Naismith, Upson OG|
|Europa League||Young Boys||(A)||W 4-1||Lukaku (3), Coleman|