Premier League Tactical Preview: Arsenal v Everton



There is plenty to play for when Arsenal host Everton on Tuesday. The Gunners are on the charge to secure a top four Premier League finish, whilst Everton still harbour feint hopes of doing the same. With neither side able to afford a slip-up, this should be a hard-fought match at the Emirates. Arsenal are favourites at 1.80 for the win, with  Everton at 4.25.

Probable line-ups

Everton will likely opt for the same side that beat QPR so convincingly on Saturday. Darron Gibson was brilliant alongside Leon Osman, whilst Marouane Fellaini returned from suspension. Victor Anichebe will continue up front after scoring at Goodison, meaning Jelavic will continue to watch from the bench.

Arsenal could start with Jack Wilshere, Mikel Arteta and Santi Cazorla, meaning Aaron Ramsey might start from the bench. The front three will probably be fit-again Theo Walcott, Olivier Giroud and Lukas Podolski, who scored off the bench on Saturday. Per Mertesacker will return in defence, having served a one-game ban for the red card he received at West Brom a week ago.

Fellaini's aerial threat

Arsenal's defence has never looked completely solid this season and Everton are well positioned to cause them problems. David Moyes' main attacking tactic will be to fire long balls up to Fellaini, who will be operating in the second striker role, always making himself available as an aerial outlet. Fellaini is an absolute menace with his physicality and height, and has won 5.1 headers per game - the fifth most in the Premier League this season. Both Laurent Koscielny and Mertesacker will  get drawn to Fellaini, potentially leaving other players free.

Midfield runners such as Kevin Mirallas, who regularly comes in off the right, will look to latch onto loose balls. Anichebe too can be a good outlet, running the channels and holding it up with his strength. Arsenal's back four might be in for a real battle if Anichebe and Fellaini are on song as they are two of the most physical players around.

Can Everton contain Arsenal's midfield trio?

Even if Jack Wilshere doesn't start, Arsenal's midfield trio has plenty of craft. The form of Ramsay, Arteta and Cazorla has been central to Arsenal's recent surge, and will cause Everton problems. Arteta always sits as the deepest midfielder for Arsenal, dictating the play and stroking the ball about from just in front of the back four. Against Norwich he was fantasic, hitting 96 successful passes:


Moyes might charge Fellaini with marking Arteta when Arsenal have the ball, and try to stop the Gunners playing from the back. It will be important, then, for Wilshere (or Ramsey) to drop deep also and link play. Cazorla will be looking to play between the Everton defence and midfield, an area in which he has been very productive this season, scoring 12 goals and assisting seven more. Interestingly, Gibson had an excellent game playing alongside Osman in a deeper role against QPR and these two will seek to nullify Cazorla.

Conclusion

Arsenal may be favourites but Everton are more than capable of going to the Emirates and getting a point - or three. If the Toffees want to compete in the Champions League next year then this is simply a must-win. We should be in for a great game.

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