Arsenal face Everton at Goodison Park in the Premier League on Sunday.

With Stats Zone, you can brush up on the facts and figures behind every Gunners match this season, brought to you by Opta and the official matchday programme.  

OUTFLANKING THE TOFFEES

Fig 1. Ozil and Cazorla heatmap v Everton; Fig 2. Ozil passes to Cazorla v Everton
Fig 1. Ozil and Cazorla heatmap v Everton; Fig 2. Ozil passes to Cazorla v Everton

One of the most interesting aspects of Arsenal's 4-1 victory against Everton in the FA Cup was their willingness to exploit the flanks, particularly the left.

Usually they will direct more of their play through the centre, using a playmaker in the No 10 role such as Mesut Ozil or Santi Cazorla to dictate the tempo of their attacks. Against Everton, however, they played with more width and delivered their highest number of crosses into the box (35) this season.

Ozil and Cazorla were central to this, with the former playing 11 crosses and the Spaniard playing nine as they combined regularly on the left (see heatmap above). The Germany international's natural tendency is to drift out to the right, despite his left-footedness, but by combining so effectively with Cazorla he was able to drag defenders out of position and create space for his team-mate to thrive.

The passing combination between Ozil and Cazorla was Arsenal's most frequent on the day, with the pair finding each other 34 times. As our graphic above (Fig 2) shows, Ozil often looked inside from the left to connect with the Spaniard as the pair interchanged positions and caused chaos in front of the visitors' backline.

The injured Ozil will not be available on Sunday, but Cazorla will hope to offer a similar threat alongside the German's probable replacement, Tomas Rosicky. Should they be as effective as the other combination, it will provide major problems for Everton.

KEY BATTLE - BARRY v CAZORLA

Gareth Barry v Santi Cazorla
Gareth Barry v Santi Cazorla

One of the men likely to be tasked with nullifying Cazorla at Goodison Park is Gareth Barry. The England international has flourished on Merseyside since his loan move from Manchester City, and forms an effective shield in front of the Everton backline alongside James McCarthy.

The 33-year-old is an unfussy, no-nonsense player who patrols the danger zone that Cazorla prefers to operate in. He keeps things simple, closing down opponents, winning the ball and then playing short passes to team-mates to start attacks. With a tackle success rate of 75.4 per cent and 68 clearances to his name, you can see just how important his defensive protection is to the Toffees.

However, Barry can be susceptible to pace and it was his mistimed tackle on Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in the FA Cup quarter-final that gave Arsenal the penalty - and the lead - that swung the game in the hosts' favour.

Cazorla's task will be to avoid the close attentions of Barry and pull the strings for the Gunners at Goodison. If he can maintain his eye-catching form of recent weeks, it could be a long afternoon of chasing for the Everton midfielder.

EVERTON v ARSENAL - MATCH FACTS

  • Everton have only scored more than once in one of the last 22 Premier League games against Arsenal
  • Arsenal have won just three of their last 10 Premier League matches (W3 D4 L3), taking just 13 points from the last 30 available
  • The Toffees have lost eight and won none of the last 13 Premier League games against the Gunners, but the last three meetings have been drawn
  • Everton’s record home (1-6 Aug 2009) and record away and overall (0-7 May 2005) Premier League defeats have come at the hands of Arsenal
  • Lukas Podolski has the best chance conversion of any player with 10+ goals in the Premier League over the last two seasons, scoring with 33 per cent of his attempts
  • No team has ever had 60 or more points after 31 games of a Premier League season and failed to finish in the top four. Everton and Arsenal have both exceeded this tally
  • Sixty points after 31 games is Everton’s best ever total in Premier League history, surpassing the 57 they had mustered at this stage in 2007/08
  • Everton have won 15 points from goals scored in the final 10 minutes of matches this season, more than any team in the division
  • Everton have won 15 points from goals scored in the final 10 minutes of matches this season, more than any team in the division

The matchday programme is now available on the iPad! Find out more here.

Copyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 3 Apr 2014