Usually an away trip to the Gunners is built up with a hope of getting a point and keeping it tight at the back for Everton. However now under new management and with a 21 year-old Old Trafford hoodoo behind them, there is a better sense that the Blues can win at the Emirates.
Roberto Martinez was relegated with Wigan away to Arsenal last year and will be looking to seek revenge with his revitalised Everton side. The previous Emirates encounter to that defeat for Wigan was a 2-1 victory but other than that Wigan had struggled away to the Gunners. In comparison the Toffees have not claimed victory away to the Gunners since the days of Joe Royle in January 1996. Under David Moyes, Everton only managed three draws away to Arsenal and the rest of the encounters at the Emirates and Highbury under Moyes ended up in losses.
However coming off a famous victory away at Manchester United, the previous hope under Moyes of getting a point has now turned into hope of getting a win. Arsenal currently lie in first position in the league, four points clear of Liverpool and Chelsea with this game in hand, and have not lost since their trip to Old Trafford. Everton have remained fifth after Saturday’s results but with victory will move into fourth moving above of Manchester City.
The demand on Arsene Wenger was to spend money and he certainly did that on Mesut Özil on transfer deadline day. Some may argue Özil was not needed with such quality already in that position although Özil at times is a class apart from any other in their squad. One player who has kept up with him and surpassed in quality this season is Aaron Ramsey. This time last year Ramsey had received a massive amount of criticism for his performances from the Arsenal faithful. However now that he has recovered mentally from the injury he suffered at Stoke City he has gained confidence and it shows in his performances and goal scoring record this season.
For the visitors Bryan Oviedo is expected to continue deputising Leighton Baines and he is doing a more than good enough job, scoring in both games and helping keep two clean sheets in the process. Romelu Lukaku has scored eight goals in eleven games since joining on loan from Chelsea and will look to continue that good run of form when he leads the line later on today.
For the hosts, Carl Jenkinson is expected to continue at right-back with Bacary Sagna still out with a hamstring injury after missing the midweek game at home to Hull City. Lukas Podolski has returned to training also from a hamstring injury but is not in the match squad due to lack of match fitness. Abou Diaby seems to have a permanent seat on the treatment table and that situation has not changed ahead of this fixture. Also side-lined are striker Yaya Sanogo and midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. Other than that, Arsene Wenger reported no new injuries following the game against Hull on Wednesday.
Everton have no changes to their match squad as Roberto Martinez has the pleasure of reporting no new injuries for second game in a row. Leighton Baines is still side-lined as well as long-term knee injury sufferers Arouna Kone and Darron Gibson. However in the squad is Antolin Alcaraz who is still yet to make his Everton debut but has now finally recovered from injury. The lack of activity in players returning from injury coupled with the performance and result at Old Trafford on Wednesday, will probably dictate that there will not be any changes to the starting eleven for this encounter.
Goalkeepers: Fabianski and Szczesny.
Defenders: Gibbs, Jenkinson, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Monreal and Vermaelen.
Midfielders: Arteta, Cazorla, Flamini, Özil, Ramsey, Rosicky and Wilshere.
Forwards: Bendtner, Giroud and Walcott.
Goalkeepers: Howard and Robles.
Defenders: Alcaraz, Coleman, Distin, Heitinga, Jagielka, Oviedo and Stones.
Midfielders: Barkley, Barry, Deulofeu, McCarthy, Mirallas, Osman and Pienaar.
Forwards: Jelavic, Lukaku and Naismith.
Out of the last 17 Premier League games Everton have won none and only drawn three away to the Gunners; Arsenal winning the remaining 14.
The last time the Toffees beat Arsenal at either ground was 12 encounters ago in 2007 when Andrew Johnson scored the winner in the final minute to give Everton a 1-0 win at Goodison Park.
In the last four games between these two sides there have only been four goals.
Arsenal have won their last eight games and are unbeaten in their last 14 in the league at home with Howard Webb as the referee; the man officiating later today.
Out of their 14 games this Premier League season, Arsenal have scored in 13 of them and led in 12 of them – both of which are Premier League highs.
In all competitions, Arsenal have conceded just one goal in seven games, keeping six clean sheets.
In just eleven Premier League appearances, Mesut Özil has scored three and assisted six.
Everton have lost the fewest amount of games in the league this season with the solitary one, Arsenal have lost the second fewest amount with two losses.
The last three away games Everton have kept clean sheets – the first time they have done so since May 2009. They have not kept four away clean sheets or more since August 1995 with five.
Following a famous victory at Old Trafford in the midweek it would be easy to take the eye off the ball. However it is imperative to remember for the Toffees that their performance today must be at the same level and perhaps even better than on Wednesday against a struggling Manchester United side, to gain a positive result against the league leaders. Both teams go into this game in a rich vein of form, playing the same formation and the same attacking and controlling way of playing football. With that in mind, it can therefore be expected that this game will be entertaining and full of excitement.