Arsenal, who are currently undergoing a lean patch travel to Goodison Park for an early Saturday kick-off against Everton knowing they must depart with three points if they are to keep their title hopes alive.
The Gunners are looking to keep their title hopes from fading completely. Since their dramatic 2-1 win over Leicester, they have not won any of their three league games, losing away to Manchester United, at home to Swansea City, and drawing away to Tottenham.
With the gap to league leaders Leicester at 11 points, albeit with Arsenal holding a game in hand, the margin for error is almost non-existent for the title contenders, who will hope that they can set the agenda for the weekend with a victory over Everton.
In his press conference before the Gunners were inevitably knocked out of the Champions League by Barcelona on Wednesday night, Arsene Wenger spoke about his side potentially pulling off the impossible. Speaking to Arsenal’s official website, he said:
I would say we have to go step by step. Let’s get back to winning habits first, that starts tomorrow… if we win tomorrow, we’ll see. That’s our target.
But at the moment, the only way to achieve something special is first to be realistic and humble enough to deal first with Everton.
The Toffees have done fairly well in domestic cup competitions this season, but the same can’t be said about their league form. Currently 12th in the league after 28 games, they have lost in 3 of their last six matches. Especially their home form is very poor as they have registered just one win in their last 8 league matches at Goodison Park, with 5 of them ending in defeats.
The North London club too are in a similar slump, as they have won just once in their last eight matches in all competitions, the win was against Hull City in the FA cup replay. In Premier League, they have lost their last three matches and have conceded 2 or more goals in all of them. In their away fixtures, Arsenal have just one win in last six, with 3 draws and 2 wins.
We have been saying this for few weeks now, that Arsenal needs to win their next game to stay in touch at the top but this is probably the last time we might say this if the Gunners lose. Many presume that the title challenge is already done and dusted, but you never know. All Arsenal need is a confidence boosting from where they can build on and end the season on a high and the last opportunity they have to do that is against Everton.
Arsenal Team News:
Mathieu Flamini is the latest causality for Arsene Wenger after sustaining a hamstring injury in the 3-1 defeat at Barcelona. He now joins the long list of injuries that include Petr Cech, Aaron Ramsey, Santi Cazorla, Rosicky, Chamberlain and Jack Wilshere.
Alex Iwobi who had a good match against Barcelona is pushing for a start and it would be interesting to see if he gets the nod ahead of Walcott and Joel Campbell.
Everton Team News:
Tony Hibbert and Browning are out injured for the rest of the season while Tom Cleverley has recovered from his illness.Gareth Barry is suspended following his sending off against West Ham in their last league fixture, while Bryan Oviedo is struggling for fitness.Everton head coach Roberto Martinez is expected to field a similar starting line-up he used in the 2-0 win over Chelsea last weekend.