Arsenal face Everton on Sunday, looking to make it three wins in a row since the winter break and keep their unbeaten 2020 run going.
Mikel Arteta has his new team on a strong run so far this year. They’ve won five, drawn four and lost none, including two wins in a row since the February break.
They still aren’t getting enough results in the league though. That’s where all four of the draws came, and just two of the wins. Everton aren’t easy opponents either, with a couple of consecutive victories themselves.
Despite the fact this match is sandwiched between the Europa League knockout legs against Olympiacos, Arteta is going to have to take it seriously to keep up momentum. Let’s have a look at our Arsenal team news and predicted lineup to face Everton.
Bernd Leno is now the first-choice goalkeeper for both the Premier League and the Europa League. Not likely to go down too well with Emi Martinez, but it makes this position an easy one to call.
There’s potential for a few changes in defence. Hector Bellerin should come back in at right-back, after his precautionary rest in midweek. Sead Kolasinac can also come into the side to give Bukayo Saka a bit of a break.
In central defence, the usual first-choice options all started on Thursday. Rob Holding made the bench that day, so he could get a game in place of one of them. Pablo Mari is also available for selection, though maybe they’ll ease him in from the bench.
Our prediction is that Arteta will continue to stick with the surprisingly effective combination of David Luiz and Shkodran Mustafi though. It’s working well enough defensively, and they’re also contributing well in possession, so it’s hard to drop either.
Mesut Özil should be available again to start on Sunday, with Arsenal confirming as much. Granit Xhaka should also start as usual.
It’s a bit of a toss-up between Lucas Torreira and Dani Ceballos for the third position. On the one hand, Ceballos started alongside Xhaka and Özil last weekend to good effect. In the home games especially, that midfield should do well.
On the other, Everton are a strong attacking force right now. It might be better for Arteta to opt for a little more defensive stability. He’s more likely to get that in midfield with Torreira. Of course, if Özil is out, both midfielders can play.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang played well on Thursday, as did Nicolas Pepe last weekend. Alexandre Lacazette still isn’t quite on top form but he scored in both matches, so those three should all start.
The only reason to deviate from that trio would be if Arteta thinks one of them needs a rest. Eddie Nketiah, Reiss Nelson and Gabriel Martinelli are all available if that’s the case. This is a tricky fixture though, and the head coach really needs his first-choice attack.