Arsenal and Everton face off at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday in a crucial encounter for both side’s hopes of a top four finish this season.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 21: Djibril Sidibe of Everton tackles Gabriel Martinelli of Arsenal during the Premier League match between Everton FC and Arsenal FC at Goodison Park on December 21, 2019 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 21: Djibril Sidibe of Everton tackles Gabriel Martinelli of Arsenal during the Premier League match between Everton FC and Arsenal FC at Goodison Park on December 21, 2019 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

The Toffees start the weekend in ninth place, five points behind Chelsea in fourth. Mikel Arteta’s side are directly below the Merseyside club, two points behind.

This will also be a battle of two of the in-form Premier League sides so neither can be ruled out of qualifying for next season’s Champions League. On top of that, if Manchester City’s two-year ban from the competition is upheld, a fifth-place finish could even be a qualifying spot. Therefore, victory for either side this weekend would be huge.

The bookmakers do have Arsenal as 2.05 favourites heading into this one, with Everton out at 3.75. Full odds can be found here: https://gg.bet/en/betting-sports. Arsenal are coming back from Greece where they were 1-0 winners away to Olympiacos in the first leg of their Europa League Second Round tie.

Arteta played a near to fully-strong XI for that game, including Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Bernd Leno, Granit Xhaka and David Luiz in the starting lineup. One would think Alexandre Lacazette, Shkodran Mustafi and Bukayo Saka could also start again this weekend.

Mesut Ozil was rested at least as he awaited the birth of his child, and perhaps Lucas Torreira will be recalled to the starting XI for the visit of Everton.

The Gunners are unbeaten in 2020, but have only two wins from those six Premier League matches. Draws away to Crystal Palace and Burnley weren’t too pleasing for fans, nor was the one at home to Sheffield United.

However, Mikel Arteta’s gameplan is taking shape and his side are looking good for the future. He faces an interesting test against the experienced Carlo Ancelotti this weekend.

The Italian has guided his side to 11 points from their six games in 2020, despite starting the New Year with a 2-1 loss at Manchester City.

Fans may have been disappointed only to have drawn with West Ham United and at home to Newcastle United, but victories over Brighton & Hove Albion, Watford and Crystal Palace have put them in good shape.

Can Ancelotti beat a top half side though? He has yet to do so since taking over from interim manager Duncan Ferguson in December.

If Everton don’t win at Arsenal this weekend, their next Premier League matches are further top half challenges – Manchester United (home), Chelsea (away) and Liverpool (home) are the next immediate fixtures.

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