Arsenal-Everton Preview

·3 min read

Mikel Arteta insists he feels the support at Arsenal, but acknowledges the club have gone through a challenging year.

The Gunners have taken only 14 points from 13 Premier League matches this season, their lowest tally at this stage of a campaign since 1974-75 – since Arteta took charge last December, Arsenal have won more cup matches (14 of 17) than league games (13 of 33).

Arteta's side sit 15th and the Spaniard is in desperate need of a positive result when Arsenal visit his former team Everton on Saturday, with the Toffees' boss Carlo Ancelotti also nearing his one-year anniversary.

"I think it has been one of the most challenging years in the club's history for many, many different reasons," Arteta said. "I think we have made a lot of progress and implanted a lot of positive things that have worked really well. We have gone through structural changes right across the club that has obviously shaken the club, big time. I said from the start that I felt really supported by the owners, by the board, by the technical director and then by everybody that is at the club.

"It's like anything. This industry needs results. After a big shake-up, we need to find the stability. In order to do that, we need time."

Everton, who have been without key players Lucas Digne, Seamus Coleman and James Rodriguez, are fifth, having won their last two games – against Chelsea and Leicester City respectively – with those victories displaying a new-found defensive resilience.

It has provided a platform from which Ancelotti believes Everton can push for European qualification.

"This is the target, to be in Europe next season," Ancelotti said. "If it is Champions League, that would be a dream for us but I think we can compete for a position in Europe, in general."

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Everton – Abdoulaye Doucoure

The Toffees lost another pivotal player to injury in their win over Leicester, with Allan suffering a hamstring problem. Doucoure stepped up in his absence, tallying up an 88 per cent passing accuracy, a team-high 61 touches and two tackles, while the Frenchman also gained possession 15 times.

Arsenal – Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

Aubameyang ended a long wait for a league goal when he struck the equaliser against Southampton on Wednesday. Aubameyang has scored four goals in his four Premier League starts against Everton, though all of these goals have come at the Emirates.

KEY OPTA FACTS

• Everton have kept a clean sheet in each of their last two home Premier League games against Arsenal (W1 D1), last keeping three in a row at home to the Gunners between November 1966 and April 1969.

• Arsenal have won more Premier League games (34) and scored more Premier League goals against Everton than they have versus any other opponent in the competition. Indeed, their 110 goals against the Toffees is more than any side has netted against another in the division's history.

• Since beating Fulham 3-0 on the opening day, Arsenal have scored just twice in their last five away league games (W1 D1 L3), failing to find the net in their last two. The Gunners last went three away league games without a goal in September 2017.

• Ancelotti has lost his last three matches against Arsenal in all competitions – in his managerial career, he has only lost four times in a row against an opponent once previously, doing so against Inter Milan between 2009 and 2018.

• Everton's Richarlison is looking to score in consecutive Premier League appearances for the first time since February 2020, when the second game in this run came against Arsenal.