Sean Dyche’s Everton are still searching for their first win and face the prospect of facing an in-form Arsenal side at Goodison Park.
Remember Sean Dyche’s first home game as Everton boss? A one-nil win over Arsenal courtesy of a James Tarkowski goal from a set piece handed Everton all three points. It all felt very Burnley-like then as supporters hoped the manager brought the fighting spirit of his Clarets side to the Toffees.
Instead, this team has turned out to be more like Everton than Burnley as Dyche continues to struggle for relevance and keep the mood optimistic. There is little reason for the latter after the Toffees collected a single point from their four opening games.
Before the break, the Toffees had their best game of the season so far in the thrilling 2-2 draw with Sheffield United. However, Dyche has not pulled up his otherwise good home form, having lost twice already this campaign. However, their surprisingly good record against the Gunners at this venue in recent years does give the fans a cause of optimism ahead of yet another crucial and must-win encounter for the Toffees.
Visits to Everton have become Arsenal’s Achilles heel in recent seasons. The Gunners have scored 121 goals in the Premier League against Everton – more than any team versus any opponent in the history of the competition. Yet, they were not able to convert that form when visiting Goodison Park under Mikel Arteta’s reign.
💬 “It was a big, big part of my playing career, and now as a coach I have to play against them and obviously I want to beat them.”
🗞️ The boss is looking to secure a win over his former side on Sunday 👇
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) September 15, 2023
They have no victories at this venue in their last five visits, and Arteta will be desperate to change that record. The win over Manchester United before the break would have sprung the Gunners back to life after a lifeless start to the current campaign.
They are unbeaten in the league so far, but the performances have raised a few questions about their overall efficiency. However, the stunning win over the Red Devils will have given them momentum, something Arteta will look to use to his advantage against the Toffees. Success here will seem important in the context of the next games, including a return to the Champions League and next weekend’s clash against Tottenham.
Team News & Tactics
Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s return to fitness has boosted Sean Dyche’s selection options, as the striker returned after a horrible collision with Aston Villa keeper Emiliano Martinez a few weeks ago. There’s also positive news with Lewis Dobbin, Jarrad Branthwaite and James Tarkowski, with the trio now available for selection after overcoming minor issues.
— Everton (@Everton) September 15, 2023
Jack Harrison, Dele Alli and Seamus Coleman are still sidelined, but the former Leeds United star will soon become available for selection, although not this weekend. Dyche could look to maintain the shape of his team, especially after some of those summer arrivals, including Beto and Arnaut Danjuma.
The duo will have a place in the lineup, with Beto certain to lead the line if Dyche feels Calvert-Lewin can impact off the bench. He will go with a physical midfield duo of Amadou Onana and Idrissa Gueye, with Abdoulaye Doucoure playing a slightly advanced role in the setup.
In Calvert-Lewin’s absence, new signing Beto has been impressing alongside Danjuma, with the duo set to get the nod to start in the attack. The latter can also drift wide to allow the Brazilian to act as a lone striker.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Pickford; Patterson, Branthwaite, Tarkowski, Young; Gueye, Onana; Garner, Doucoure, Danjuma; Beto
Despite some rumblings in the media about a few injury scares, Arsenal does not have any fresh injury concerns following the international break. There were tensions when Gabriel was taken off for Brazil. But the centre-back started the next game against Peru and completed the 90 minutes.
All eyes on Everton 👊 pic.twitter.com/5eHWzlm7ma
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) September 16, 2023
Similarly, there were reports of Bukayo Saka carrying a calf niggle, but the winger did fine for England, playing a game and a half. Hence, only Thomas Partey, who remains a few weeks away from returning, remains sidelined. Jurrien Timber is a long-term absentee, while Mohamed Elneny seems close to returning in the next weeks.
Arsenal are likely to remain unchanged for this clash, although Arteta might still look to make a few necessary changes if needed. For instance, he can bring in Leandro Trossard for Kai Havertz or replace Eddie Nketiah with Gabriel Jesus. The latter could be the only change to the setup, with the German likely to start in midfield despite some perceived struggles at the start of his time at Arsenal.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Ramsdale; Ben White, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko; Odegaard, Rice, Havertz; Saka, Jesus, Martinelli
- Arsenal are undefeated in their last five matches in the Premier League.
- Arsenal have scored 121 goals in the Premier League against Everton – more than any team versus any opponent in the history of the competition.
- Arsenal have won just two of their last 11 Premier League visits to Goodison Park (W2 D3 L6) and none of the previous five (W0 D1 L4).
- Everton are winless in the Premier League this season.
- Everton have not kept a clean sheet in their last five matches and are yet to score at home this season.
Player to Watch
[Thread] Kai Havertz Out of possession (OOP) impact.
OOP contributions, especially for forwards, are often difficult to measure and keep an account off through the pace of the game.
In this thread, I'll try and make a case for Havertz's impact OOP and why it's valued by Arteta. pic.twitter.com/kXZlFrJRpZ
— S (@STFootball10) September 16, 2023
An interesting stat was doing the rounds about Kai Havertz, who has scored only one Premier League penalty that came against Everton. If the Gunners are to get a penalty, the German could do something similar to Martin Odegaard, who requested Bukayo Saka for the ball against Crystal Palace.
More than that, Havertz must find a way to contribute more to the team’s attacking side. He has done an admirable job as a new midfielder. Still, he will have to emulate Granit Xhaka with his goalscoring numbers if he wants to add relevance to that new position he has taken up under Mikel Arteta.
Everton 0-2 Arsenal
Things have gone horribly wrong on the prediction side in this fixture recently. Arsenal are winless in five visits to Goodison Park, as Mikel Arteta will want to change the course this time around. Considering how Everton have fared, they find themselves in a very familiar position heading into this game.
Sean Dyche will be all fired up for this clash, but Arteta has momentum and the quality of players on his side to ensure this is a comfortable victory. Hence, the Gunners are overwhelming favourites in this clash, but at Goodison Park, strange things have happened in the past, especially in this particular fixture.