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Arsenal host Everton in a crucial game later tonight as the Gunners will be hoping to stay ahead of Spurs and Chelsea for the first time this season. Arsenal who are on a winning spree lately will face their toughest challenge after their defeat at White Hart Lane as the Merseyside have made life difficult for them in the past. Everton are currently on a five game undefeated streak which has moved them within a striking distance of the Champions league qualification spot and a win tonight will see them close the gap with Arsenal by just a point and overtake Tottenham.
And if Arsenal win tonight, they can mount up pressure as it will open up a 4 point lead over Chelsea and Spurs who will be having a game in hand. The race for the final Champions league spot can go down to the wire and today’s match has a lot to do with it. Although, Arsenal came back from a goal down to win the game 3-1 against Norwich they will be vary against the Evertonians. The last time these two sides met at the Emirates, Van Persie scored the only goal of the game late in the second half and this season fixture at Goodison Park ended in a stalemate and Moyes’ men should be confident that they can get a result out of this one.
Team News and Injury updates:
Arsene Wenger will surprisingly have a lengthy squad to select from. The Gunners welcome back Tomas Rosicky from a hamstring set back and Per Mertesacker returns from his one match ban. While the defensive line-up should see the German and the French man Koscielny pair up again, it should be interesting to see what Wenger does with his midfielders.
The Gunners who found it difficult to cut through Norwich will have to a better job against Everton if they want to maintain their winning run. Both Arteta and Ramsey trying to win the ball back from the towering headers of Fellaini should be on their toes to stop the Belgian from causing further havoc to their defenders. The main problem Wenger will have today is the selection of his shot stopper as Lukasz Fabianski suffered a rib injury on Saturday, that may see Wojciech Szczesny return to the starting XI.
And in the striking department, it is expected that Gervinho will be pushed back to the bench after his below par performance against Norwich and the German Podolski to replace him. With Giroud continued to be deployed as the target man, Walcott should find his place on the right wing.
For Everton, it is expected that Moyes will likely stick to the same team that defeated QPR. As like his counterpart Moyes does not have any major injury concerns. Victor Anichebe who has been impressive for them in the recent games should start just ahead of Fellaini while Pienaar and Mirallas will be on the wings trying to put pressure on the Gunners back line.
Possible starting lineups:
Arsenal: Szczesny, Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal, Arteta, Ramsey, Rosicky, Cazorla, Giroud, Walcott.
Everton: Howard, Coleman, Jagielka, Distin, Baines, Gibson, Osman, Fellaini, Pienaar, Mirallas, Anichebe.
Prediction: 2-1 win to the home side.