This Premier League fixture will be the first game of the season where two top five teams face each other. It’s fifth against fourth when the Gunners travel to Goodison Park to take on Everton in their second league game of the season.
Neither side produced what they’re capable of on the opening day, Arsenal escaping with a 2-1 victory against Crystal Palace thanks to a late Aaron Ramsey goal and the Toffees drawing 2-2 away to new boys Leicester City. Arsenal’s passing wasn’t as crisp on Saturday or even on Tuesday against Besiktas, as it has been in the past but the club grinded out important results on both occasions. Mesut Ozil, Lukas Podolski and Per Mertesacker could all return to the squad for this game but are unlikely to start. This would be a massive boost for Wenger and could help the North Londoners re-produce the form they showed throughout most of last season. The Arsenal back four have looked really sharp in the absence of Mertesacker with Calum Chambers really stepping up to the mark, playing in the centre of defense as opposed to his usual spot on the right side.
Everton may not be as sharp as their opponents, playing two competitive games less than Wenger’s men. Crucial first team players Seamus Coleman and Kevin Mirallas are expected to start after only playing cameo roles last weekend. The injury to Ross Barkley, putting him out of action for anywhere from two to five months will be a major blow to Roberto Martinez and company, after the 20 year old’s outstanding 2013/14 season. Aiden McGeady opened his Everton account with a stunning finish past Kasper Schmeichel at the KP Stadium, and it will be a battle between him and Steven Naismith, as to who will take Barkley’s spot on either the wing or through the middle for Saturday’s fixture. Record signing Romelu Lukaku was very disappointing last time out and wasn’t on the top of his game at the World Cup either. The pressure is beginning to mount on the shoulders of the 21 year old Belgian striker and he needs to produce sooner rather than later.
These are two sides who produce exciting and attractive football, which should be a great spectacle for the neutral. Arsenal are the better team on paper and should have enough on the day to come home with the three points.