Preview: Arsenal vs. Everton

Preview: Arsenal vs. Everton

Vengeance is on the menu for Arsenal on Wednesday evening, as Mikel Arteta’s side welcome Everton to the Emirates Stadium in the Premier League.

The Gunners maintained their grip on top spot by beating Leicester City 1-0 at the weekend, while the Toffees slipped back into relegation danger with a 2-0 defeat to Aston Villa.

Not for the first time this season, controversial VAR decisions threatened to derail the Arsenal title bid, as a stunning goal for Leandro Trossard against Leicester was ruled out before Harry Souttar escaped punishment for a perceived foul on Bukayo Saka in the area.

However, Arsenal were not to be denied at the King Power and took all three points back to base courtesy of Gabriel Martinelli’s finish early in the second half, temporarily opening up a five-point lead over Manchester City at the summit in the process.

That gap has now been reduced back down to two points due to the champions’ 4-1 thumping of Bournemouth, but Arsenal crucially still hold a game in hand, and Arteta’s side have responded admirably to their minor blip with back-to-back successes over Villa and now Leicester.

The Emirates fortress has seen some of its wall knocked down in recent weeks, though, as Arsenal have only won one of their last four home matches in the Premier League, and they have just two clean sheets to boast from their last 16 top-flight games on familiar territory.

However, Arteta’s current crop could now become just the third Arsenal team to reach 60 points in their first 25 Premier League games with a win here – the 2003-04 Invincibles and 2007-08 team are the only previous ones to achieve that feat – and the new manager bounce appears to have firmly worn off for Everton.

One week on from being the villain against Arsenal, Emiliano Martinez was one of the heroes for Aston Villa against Everton, who paid the price for failing to convert their early dominance into goals at Goodison Park on Saturday afternoon.

With 63 minutes gone, Ollie Watkins broke the deadlock from the penalty spot – becoming the first-ever Villa player to score in five successive Premier League games – and a sublime finish from Emiliano Buendia settled the contest in the dying embers.

Positive results for West Ham United and Leeds United also made for grim reading for Everton, who have subsequently dropped back below the dotted line into 18th place after missing out on a third successive home win, although Leeds are only one point better off.

A new page of history must be written if Everton are to come away with all three points on Wednesday, as the Toffees have never won a Premier League away match versus the side at the top of the table, and their recent record on the road does not increase optimism of such a scenario coming to fruition.

Indeed, Dyche’s team are winless in seven consecutive away matches in the Premier League and have scored just one goal in that time, but one goal from James Tarkowski was all it took for the Toffees to see off Arsenal 1-0 earlier in February – their fourth win from five versus the revengeful Gunners.

Arsenal Premier League form:

Arsenal form (all competitions):

Everton Premier League form:

We say: Arsenal 2-0 Everton
Despite emerging as one of Arsenal’s bogey teams in recent years, Everton cannot realistically expect lightning to strike twice against the Gunners, especially considering their abysmal goalscoring form on the road.

Arteta’s side should be better prepared for the intense physical battle that awaits them in midweek, and a five-point lead at the summit should be theirs courtesy of a professional performance and return to winning ways at the Emirates.

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