Everton v Arsenal Preview

English Premier League | Saturday 23 August | Goodison Park | 18:30




Everton host Arsenal at Goodison Park on Saturday hoping for a repeat of last season’s 3-0 thumping over The Gunners while Arsene Wenger’s side will look to continue their winning start to the new season in their pursuit of the title.

To Win (90mins)
Everton 5/4
Draw 5/2
Arsenal 19/10

EVERTON

Everton were left rueing a drop in pace and a lack of cutting edge as they drew away at Leicester City on the
opening day of the season.

Goals from Aiden McGeady and Steven Naismith, either side of a Leonardo Ulloa debut goal, had looked to give the Blues an opening day win before Chris Woord struck late on to earn the Foxes a point on their return to the Premier League.

Everton started the game brightly, with quick passing and high pressing a key component of their play but failed to live up to their impressive first half display and were left disappointed at the end of the game.

McGeady played reasonably well during Everton's draw, contributing some typical flashes of skill and, of course, opened the scoring with arguably the Premier League's best finish of Week 1.

Whether that's enough for the Irishman to keep his place, however, seems unlikely. Unfortunately for McGeady, he is one of seven options for Roberto Martinez to use in three attacking berths behind the striker.

Romelu Lukaku looked jaded against Leicester City last weekend but Martinez will be hoping the Belgian international will be back to his best on Saturday.

The powerful centre forward was instrumental for The Toffees last term, scoring an impressive 15 goals, and he is exactly the sort of player who can transform an ambitious second-tier club into a top-four threat.

Lukaku has troubled Arsenal in the past and could make life difficult for Wenger’s defence, especially if the Frenchman opts for Calum Chambers ahead of the experienced Per Mertesacker.

Christian Atsu will be hoping to make an appearance in some part of the game. The winger is primarily left-footed but can play on either flank and cut inside to whip balls into the area.

He uses his low centre of gravity and excellent close-control to change direction sharply and is comfortable attacking the opposing full-back on either side, making use of his searing pace.

Ross Barkley has been sidelined for up to five months with a medial knee ligament injury while striker Arouna Kone, out since October with a knee injury, will not be fit for another month, and Bryan Oviedo is still recovering from a broken leg.

Martinez will have his work cut out when his side host Arsenal and will be hoping his players come to the fore.

ARSENAL

Aaron Ramsey scored a stoppage-time winner as Arsenal started the Premier League season with a 2-1 victory over Crystal Palace on Saturday in a London derby at the Emirates Stadium.

Ramsey finished from close range in the first minute of stoppage time to complete Arsenal's comeback against a stingy Crystal Palace, who had led through Brede Hangeland's first-half header.

Laurent Koscielny equalised for the Gunners late in the first half. Arsenal generally struggled to break down Crystal Palace's stubborn, organised defending but eventually won after converting twice from set pieces.

This was the club's first opening-day win since 2009. Nacho Monreal will replace the injured Kieran Gibbs at left back after the Englishman pulled his hamstring against Palace at the weekend.

Hamstring injuries, no matter how minor, rarely heal in a matter of days, and Arsenal must hope that Gibbs returns in no longer than a few weeks.

Ramsey was phenomenal against Palace and will be hoping to put in another impressive display against The Toffees.

The Welshman was Arsenal’s player of the season last year, and has benefited from a summer of rest and recuperation.

He’ll undoubtedly be a crucial figure for Arsenal over the coming months. Mikel Arteta did a commendable job at the base of the midfield, but his lack of physicality and speed was exposed on occasion.

Arteta, by trade, is a creative midfielder, and isn’t naturally versed in the defensive aspects of the game. Alexis Sanchez failed to impress in his debut against Palace and will be looking put in a star performance to prove his capability of playing in the Premier League.

Up front, Olivier Giroud should start if he is even marginally fitter than he was last weekend. His lack of sharpness is presumably the reason why Wenger preferred Yaya Sanogo, but it is difficult to imagine Giroud playing more aimlessly and languidly than his compatriot did last weekend.

Sanogo looked completely off the pace, while Giroud added direction and verve to Arsenal's attack after he was inserted into the game.

Arsenal’s season may be defined by their ability to keep key players fit and whether Wenger can display the flexibility to get his team to do the less attractive parts of the game when going up against the top teams.

Betting Verdict: ARSENAL 19/10 
Arsenal have a good record against The Toffees, losing only once in the last 10 meetings. The game could be a tight affair but Arsenal should find a way to win against their determined opponents and are well worth the punt at 19/10. 

Written by Chadley Nagel for @Hollywoodbets. Follow them both on Twitter and Facebook now! 

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