Everton lock horns with Arsenal in the Premier League on Monday evening in what could be an intense battle at Goodison Park.
The Toffees suffered an embarrassing 4-1 derby defeat to Liverpool on Wednesday, stretching the club’s run to eight games without a win. Rafael Benitez is under immense pressure, especially after losing against Jurgen Klopp’s Reds, and will be desperate for a win next week.
Meanwhile, Arsenal enjoyed a 10-game unbeaten run before enduring a heavy 4-0 defeat to Liverpool. They did bounce back with a 2-0 win over basement club Newcastle United but head into Monday’s clash off the back of a 3-2 loss to Manchester United.
Everton vs Arsenal—Team News
Rafael Benitez is set for a double-injury boost with Yerry Mina and Andre Gomez likely to be in the squad against Arsenal. Salomon Rondon is a doubt, though, having limped off in the second half against Liverpool with Benitez and co. waiting for the striker’s scan results.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Tom Davies are still out sidelined for the Toffees.
Jordan Pickford has kept just one clean sheet in the last eight games, and having conceded four goals in the Merseyside derby, he’ll be desperate to shut the shop as quickly as possible against Arsenal.
Everton’s defence has been woeful over the last two months, leaking 18 goals in the last eight games. So, Rafael Benitez will want his side to be at their best defensively against a pacey Arsenal attack. The back four of Seamus Coleman, Michael Keane, Ben Godfrey and Lucas Digne are likely to feature on Monday.
The midfield double-pivot of Allan and Abdoulaye Doucoure were overrun against Liverpool, leading to Everton conceding four at home. Benitez could solidify the midfield unit by handing Fabian Delph a start.
Andros Townsend was poor against Liverpool but is likely to keep his place in the starting XI. Demarai Gray was the only bright spark for the Toffees in the Merseyside derby and is widely expected to start, with Richarlison leading the attack against Mikel Arteta’s side.
Bernd Leno missed the game at Old Trafford with a groin problem and could be out for the next couple of weeks. Mikel Arteta has no fresh injury concerns and will have a fully fit squad against Everton, apart from long-term injured Granit Xhaka and Sead Kolasinac.
Aaron Ramsdale has proved his doubters wrong, and despite conceding three goals against Man United, he’ll be in a buoyant mood heading to Goodison Park.
Arteta could freshen up his backline by introducing Kieran Tierney in place of Nuno Tavares at left-back. Takehiro Tomiyasu, Ben White and Gabriel Magalhaes are set to retain the vacant spots in the Arsenal backline.
Mohamed Elneny is likely to drop out of the starting XI after his poor display at Man United. Albert Sambi Lokonga will be expected to replace the Egyptian if that happens, partnering Thomas Partey in midfield.
Martin Odegaard scored a very good goal at Old Trafford but conceded a penalty by fouling Fred, which Cristiano Ronaldo slammed home in what turned out to be the winning goal for the hosts. Arteta may drop the Norwegian to the bench, not because of his mistake but due to the likes of Emile Smith Rowe and Gabriel Martinelli performing better than on him on Thursday evening.
Bukayo Saka is expected to start at Everton after coming on as a second-half substitute in the last game. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has been out of sorts this season and as his struggles continued in front of goal against Man United, there are chances of him getting dropped on Monday. If that happens, Alexandre-Lacazette will lead the Gunners attack.
Everton vs Arsenal—Predicted Lineups
Everton Predicted Lineup (4-3-3): Jordan Pickford; Seamus Coleman, Michael Keane, Ben Godfrey, Lucas Digne; Abdoulaye Doucoure, Allan, Fabian Delph; Andros Townsend, Demarai Gray, Richarlison
Arsenal Predicted Lineup (4-2-3-1): Aaron Ramsdale; Takehiro Tomiyasu, Ben White, Gabriel Magalhaes, Kieran Tierney; Albert Sambi Lokonga, Thomas Partey; Bukayo Saka, Emile Smith Rowe, Gabriel Martinelli; Alexandre-Lacazette
Everton vs Arsenal—Key Players
Demarai Gray would have been the only player to walk out with head held high after Everton’s derby day demolition at the hands of Liverpool. He scored the consolation goal for the Toffees and threatened the Liverpool backline a few times with his pace and movement. In an Everton side that is royally struggling with self-belief, Gray can pose the biggest threat against the Gunners.
Bukayo Saka has time and again shown in his short Arsenal career that he can create opportunities out of nothing as well as score goals. He couldn’t impact the game against Man United after coming off the bench but the 20-year-old will be raring to deliver the goods at Everton on Monday.
Prediction: Everton 2-2 Arsenal