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Everton up against it as they seek to bounce back at the Emirates Stadium

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A trip to Arsenal rarely produces good news for Evertonians

Arsenal v Everton - Premier League

It’s been a tough week for Evertonians as we all reflect on that frankly abysmal display against West Ham last week that transformed their start to the season from a solid one to a poor one.

What was most worrying was the scale of the problems seemingly facing Marco Silva as he looks to improve the side - there were issues all over the pitch.

After a golden summer Jordan Pickford has struggled to replicate those heights so far and made a poor mistake for West Ham’s second goal. That said I’m confident it is just a blip (albeit one we could do without right now) and he will soon to be back to his best, Silva has far more pressing issues to be getting on with.

The centre of defence looks shaky and porous, the midfield struggled to retain possession and transition the ball forward while upfront we have a striker who seemingly can’t score and is having a crisis of confidence as a result.

Now, I confess I am falling into the trap most Evertonians have fallen into this week and begun to panic.

Few sets of supporters over-celebrate a win and excessively despair over a defeat quite like Evertonians. We have had it drilled into us since the summer that we need to be patient and results like last week are the reason why.

There were some reasons to be positive, namely the performances of Lucas Digne and Bernard. And with key players returning from suspension and injury this week there is scope for Silva to make changes.

What he couldn’t do with though is a trip to Arsenal, a club Everton haven’t won at since 1996 and have won two of their last 22 meetings anywhere.

I’m trying to be positive, honest.

The opposition

It has been a defining year for Arsenal as Arsene Wenger finally stepped down after 22 years in the dugout.

His replacement was former PSG and Sevilla boss Unai Emery (once linked with Everton), a manager with wonderful pedigree but perhaps wary of succeeding a man who held the position for so long.

You only have to look at the struggles Manchester United has post-Fergie as evidence of what can happen when there’s a change at the top.

Luckily for Arsenal fans things seem to have got off to a steady start. After successive defeats to Chelsea and Man City the Gunners have won their last three league games before easing past Vorskla Poltava in the Europa League on Thursday.

That said they have failed to keep a clean sheet in any of their opening six matches, an affliction also affecting Everton.

The transition from the Wenger-era will take time, but already it looks like the mistakes of David Moyes and Man Utd post-Sir Alex have been learnt.

Team news

Everton will be boosted by the return of Richarlison after he completed his three-game suspension. Where he plays though remains to be seen, with plenty clamouring for him to replace Cenk Tosun in the central striking position.

Yerry Mina could also make his debut after a full week of training while Bernard is pushing for a start after impressing as a substitute last weekend.

Michael Keane is back in training after his fractured skull but is unlikely to feature. Phil Jagielka, Seamus Coleman and Andre Gomes remain sidelined.

Predicted starting XI

Final word

With Everton’s ‘easy start’ now over and an inadequate points tally attained the pressure is really on now to get results against some of the tougher teams.

Arsenal has generally been a miserable away day for the Toffees so I don’t hold out much hope. But after such a terrible performance against West Ham last week the very least we expect is an improved display with evidence of some sort of tactical plan and philosophy.