Arsenal vs Everton Preview: Blues looking to finish season strong against Champions League chasing Gunners

Ronald Koeman’s Everton team travel to The Emirates to take on Champions League chasing Arsenal

Arsene Wenger’s men have won their last four Premier League games and they are unbeaten in their last 11 final day fixtures. They require results to go their way to secure Champions League football yet again but will have to get a result against Everton

The Blues last away victory against Arsenal came at Highbury in January 1996, when Graham Stuart and Andrei Kanchelskis scored in a 2-1 win.

Koeman himself has a solid record against Arsenal, winning five of a possible 12, drawing a further five and only losing the other two.

He already has a win over Wenger as Everton boss, following the last time these two teams met in the Premier League

When the two teams met in December, Everton picked up a 2-1 win that sparked a turnaround in the season. Despite trailing early following an Alexis Sanchez free-kick, the Blues rallied back just before the half-time break and drew level through a Seamus Coleman header.

Ashley Williams headed home from a Ross Barkley corner with minutes to go in the second half as Everton held on for a 2-1 win. 

As they look to finish the season as strong as possible, the Blues wouldn’t say no to a similar result on Sunday despite how difficult their task may be.

In focus: What to do about Ross Barkley

Ronald Koeman and Everton may be holding firm on the contract situation developing with Ross Barkley but it presents the Dutch boss with a dilemma. Should he or shouldn’t he start Barkley against Arsenal?

Everton have already begun planning for next season and are well into finding summer transfer targets but with no answer coming for the Barkley camp until the Toffees return for pre-season in early July, it throws a spanner in the works.

Of course, Everton would like to keep Barkley for the foreseeable future despite Koeman’s comments this week about his confidence or lack thereof, with regards to the 23-year-old remaining at Goodison Park. 

Barkley has already been linked with moves to Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur but the midfielder has a huge choice to make. Stay with his boyhood club and continue his development under Koeman or move for a fresh start. 

A look at Arsenal

Arsenal sit 5th in the Premier League table and require a win on Sunday and Liverpool to drop points at home to Middlesborough for them to secure Champions League football for yet another season. 

Long-serving manager Arsene Wenger’s contract is up in the summer and despite rumours he has agreed to ink a new deal, nothing official has yet been confirmed. Wenger has also come under criticism from the fans this campaign, with plenty of them urging him to leave and potentially move on to a different role within the club.

The anger has not just been pointed in the direction of Wenger however. Plenty of fans have turned their attention to owner Stan Kroenke and the Arsenal board’s seemingly reluctance to spend on transfer targets and on contracts for key players like Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil

This week, Kroenke rejected Alisher Usmanov’s £1.3 billion pound buyout offer, only furthering speculation that Usmanov could be set to join long-term business partner Farhad Moshiri at Goodison Park. 

Arsenal do have an FA Cup final in their sights and despite being underdogs in that game with Premier League champions, Chelsea, the Gunners have saved some of their best football for Wembley.

Probable Teams

Arsenal: Cech, Monreal, Holding, Mustafi, Bellerin, Xhaka, Ramsey, Gibbs, Ozil, Sanchez and Welbeck. 

Everton: Robles, Baines, Williams, Jagielka, Holgate, Gueye, Schneiderlin, Davies, Barkley, Mirallas and Lukaku. 

Match Day Stats:

  1. Everton have kept only 1 clean sheet against Arsenal away from home since 1987.
  2. Arsenal have won each of their last nine home matches on the final day of the season, scoring four times in each of the last five.
  3. Arsenal are unbeaten in 22 league and cup home fixtures against Everton, winning 18 and drawing 4.