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first_imgRelatedPosts Fulham keen on Lookman loan deal Runarsson joins Arsenal on four-year deal Arsenal, Wolves want Michael Olise Arsenal vs. Everton Venue: Emirates Stadium Kick off: 5:30PMArsenal and Everton square off at the Emirates Stadium this afternoon with just two points separating the teams in the Premier League table. While Arsenal have put together a six-match unbeaten streak in the top flight, Everton have lost just one of their last 11 league outings. There were times earlier this season when it was unclear when Arsenal would keep their next clean sheet, an ongoing concern when Mikel Arteta was named as the long-term successor to Unai Emery. Having recorded three shutouts in a row, Gunners supporters are now feeling optimistic about the development of a talented squad which has under-performed in recent years. Any worries about Arteta’s lack of managerial experience have now disappeared, with the Spaniard’s calls for his players ‘to enjoy defending’ music to the ears of fans who have watched poor displays at the back undermine their efforts at the other end of the pitch. Arsenal remain far away from being the finished article, as well as still being seven points adrift of fourth-placed Chelsea, but there is now belief that they can at least secure European football for next season. At a time when clean sheets have been kept against Burnley, Newcastle United and Olympiacos respectively, Alexandre Lacazette has ended his goal drought with two strikes in successive matches. Although the Frenchman was dropped for Eddie Nketiah against Newcastle last weekend, the decision appears to have had the desired effort on the more experienced frontman, who is aware that he is no longer guaranteed a place in the team. Arteta’s stance of naming teams based on performances in training over reputation is currently working in his favour, with the former midfielder able to see who he wants in his first-team squad ahead of the following campaign. While the focus remains on the short term and getting Arsenal up the Premier League table, Arteta is aware that the impending reshuffle in personnel is just as important if the club are going to return to the upper echelons of English football. The same can be said of Everton, with Duncan Ferguson and Carlo Ancelotti having contributed to 22 points being recorded from their last 11 fixtures in the top flight. That kind of run appeared extremely unlikely when the Toffees found themselves close to the relegation zone in November, and it is now up to Ancelotti to ensure that his team can push on towards the top four. Although Everton face consecutive games against Arsenal, Manchester United and Chelsea, the upcoming period represents an ideal chance to make up further ground at a time when their rivals are involved in other competitions. Ancelotti will have small concerns regarding the defensive side of their game, with just one shutout being recorded from eight attempts in all competitions. Nevertheless, the form of Everton’s attack-minded players is as good as anyone in the Premier League right now, a drastic improvement on the return under Marco Silva. While Dominic Calvert-Lewin is naturally grabbing the headlines as he continues to shine under Ancelotti, Richarlison remains the key man with 12 goal involvements to his name. Ancelotti has work to do when it comes to Gylfi Sigurdsson, however, as the playmaker waits for his first goal since October 19. If the Iceland international can add a finishing touch to his overall solid performances, it could make the difference to Everton as they bid to earn another appearance on the continent. Arsenal possible XI: Leno, Bellerin, Mustafi, Luiz, Saka, Xhaka, Ceballos, Pepe, Ozil, Aubameyang, Lacazette. Everton possible XI: Pickford, Coleman, Mina, Keane, Digne, Schneiderlin, Delph, Iwobi, Sigurdsson, Richarlison, Calvert-Lewin.Tags: ArsenalEmirates StadiumEvertonMike ArtetaUnai Emerylast_img read more