Arsenal had an incredibly busy January off the pitch. The Gunners sold Alexis Sanchez, Theo Walcott, Olivier Giroud, Francis Coquelin, and Mathieu Debuchy, brought in Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, and Konstantinos Mavropanos, and, according to the BBC’s David Ornstein, extended Mesut Ozil’s contract until 2021. While they did all that off the pitch, their on the pitch performance was not quite as good. While they did get to the Carabao Cup final, they suffered losses away to Bournemouth and Swansea City. These results mean they need to be near perfect for the rest of the season if they want to finish in the top four. That needs to start by taking care of business at home to Everton.
Everton did quite a bit of business themselves in January. They signed Walcott from the Gunners, bought striker Cenk Tosun, and loaned centre-back Eliaquim Mangala and they finally sold Ross Barkley. They’ve clawed themselves away from the bottom three and find themselves sitting in ninth. Now this season is about Everton pushing as high up the table.
Jack Wilshere’s status is unknown after missing out against Swansea with an illness on Tuesday, while Danny Welbeck is a major doubt, according to Physioroom.com. Santi Cazorla will be out as he continues to recover from his nightmare of an Achilles injury.
Everton will be without Leighton Baines, James McCarthy, Ramiro Funes Mori, and Maarten Stekelenburg through various injuries, according to Physioroom.com.
Arsenal: Mesut Ozil
Only Cesc Fabregas has played more key passes per 90 minutes in the Premier League this season than Ozil. The German will look to himself and the new reinforcements in Aubameyang and Mkhitaryan to help turn Arsenal’s Premier League campaign around. He has reportedly committed to the Gunners long term and will not want to miss out on the Champions League again next season. With the strength of Arsenal’s attack, he’ll look at every home game as a chance to contribute to multiple goals and contribute to a win.
Everton: Theo Walcott
Walcott’s first time at the Emirates Stadium as a visitor will surely be emotional for him, but he’ll see it as a chance to show Arsenal he still has a lot left in the tank. In his first two games at Everton, he has scored two goals and assisted one. His all-round play may not be what it needed to be at Arsenal, but his end product has always been fantastic and he’ll look to put a dent in his former club’s top four hopes with a few more Emirates goals this weekend.
Arsenal have been abysmal away from home this season, but their home form has been as good as their away form has been bad. They’ve only dropped points at home to Manchester United and Liverpool and should be able to sweep Everton aside here.