Roberto Martinez’s Everton side will know that to take points away from the Emirates Stadium on Saturday evening will be a big ask. Arsenal have been in fine form of late and the players will be high in confidence as they prepare for the Merseyside club’s visit.
After the Toffees slipped to a disappointing 3-0 defeat against Manchester United last weekend, the focus from Martinez has been on his players giving a “reaction” to the result; performing at their highest level in order to prove that their last game was merely a speed bump on the road to success this season.
On an emotional day at Goodison Park – where shortly before kick-off it was announced that ex-Everton manager and fan-favourite Howard Kendall had sadly passed away, Everton were as lethargic as their fans were subdued, and ultimately got caught napping in what was a comfortable performance from the Manchester side.
After an inquest into what went wrong last weekend, Martinez has rightly been keen to rally his troops and turn the focus on the trip to the Emirates this weekend – but he knows that a game against one of the Premier League‘s in-form sides will be by no means easy.
A tough test
“Arsenal are really well organised, a creative attacking force”
– Roberto Martinez
The Spaniard was quick to offer praise to the opposition this week, as he impressed upon the team the need for Everton to play at their best if they are to come away with a good result. Martinez described Wenger’s side as “really disciplined and well organised” in their impressive 2-0 midweek Champions League win against Bayern Munich, and highlighted their “creative… attacking force going forward” in the 3-0 win over Watford.
Despite Arsenal’s impressive league campaign so far – which sees them sit second in the table behind Manchester City – Martinez will know his side are capable of holding their own, having only lost two games themselves in the league this season. The Everton boss will be hoping his side can hit their previous standard that saw impressive results such as the 3-1 win over stuttering champions Chelsea last month.
Of course history is against them: Everton have not won a fixture at Arsenal since their 2-1 win in January 1996 – thanks to goals from Graham Stuart and Andrei Kanchelskis. However, football is never played on paper, and the Everton faithful will believe they can get their Premier League campaign back on track come Saturday evening.
Arsenal: Cech, Monreal, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Bellerin, Coquelin, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Cazorla, Ozil, Sanchez, Walcott, Macey, Gibbs, Giroud, Campbell, Debuchy, Chambers, Gabriel, Flamini.
Everton: Howard, Robles, Jagielka, Stones, Funes Mori, Coleman, Browning, Galloway, Oviedo, McCarthy, Barry, Barkley, Cleverley, Gibson, Osman, Lennon, Naismith, Deulofeu, Mirallas, Kone, Lukaku.