By Chris Harris
Manchester City won't actually be at Goodison Park this weekend but their presence will surely be felt there.
The Premier League's new richest club have already taken Emmanuel Adebayor and Kolo Toure from Arsenal and Mark Hughes would dearly love to add Everton defender Joleon Lescott to his expensively-assembled squad. How Arsenal cope with those losses - and whether Lescott is at his best - will be interesting sideshows on Saturday.
Of course, players do leave Eastlands as well as arrive there and Everton have benefited from City's bulging squad by taking Jo on loan for the season. The Brazilian has huge potential and could realise it at Goodison if there is no space for him in Manchester.
We caught up with Dominic King of the Liverpool Echo for his take on the comings and possible goings at Everton plus the visit of Arsenal. Read on for his verdict ahead of the big kick-off.
REASONS TO BE CHEERFUL
"2008/09 was a very encouraging season culminating in an FA Cup Final appearance. When Everton and Arsenal met last October it didn’t look as if Everton would be capable of challenging for Europe. The way they turned things round was quite spectacular really.
"I'm confident there is more to come because David Moyes has assembled a squad which is very consistent, where everybody knows there job but is also very young. They are all growing together so with natural progression you would think they’ll be able to maintain the standards they set over the last few season – if not surpass them. Having qualified for the Champions League four years ago, of course Champions League qualification is the aim at the beginning of every season. David Moyes would give anything for another shot at it. It’s going to be difficult because Everton have had a testing time in the transfer market this summer but we’ll have to see what happens.
MAN OF THE MOMENT
"David Moyes has emphatically said in the last few days that Joleon Lescott is not for sale. There has been a written transfer request handed in but it doesn’t make a difference really. Everton have grown pretty tired of the whole saga and Moyes has been consistent in his approach throughout. He won’t be selling his best players and that’s how it is.
"They look a lot more robust when Lescott plays. He’s a big man, a big strong lad, so he gives Everton a presence at the back. But you have to remember he can play left back as well as central defence and he scores goals. You can see why David Moyes wouldn’t want to sell him."
"We’re expecting Jo to be better this season. When he arrived last season he was short of match fitness, things hadn’t worked out for him in Manchester. You can see he’s a player who walks around with a smile on his face, a very popular figure, and his training has been really good so far. Hopes are high that he’ll hit the ground running.
"He has great shooting ability and when he hits stuff with his left foot he very rarely misses the target. He’s a young lad who is still learning the game and people forget that especially when they see the massive transfer fee Man City paid. He has a lot to give, he’s big, strong and quick, and he’ll make some good progression this season."
"The manager has switched and altered during pre-season. He has tried playing with two up front, he’s tried it with one just off the front man. He’ll obviously have his own idea of what he wants to do but 4-5-1 has proved most successful and I wouldn’t be surprised if he reverted to it again.
"It goes without saying that on the opening day of the season, Everton are going to want three points in front of their fans. They’ll give massive respect to Arsenal and rightly so as Arsenal are a top, top team. They will be going all out for the win that’s for sure. Arsène Wenger admitted after the game in January that Arsenal had got away with it a bit and he’ll be bracing himself for a tough one I’m sure."
IMPRESSIONS OF ARSENAL
"I have got great admiration for Arsenal I think they are a fabulous football club and the manager has done a wonderful job in the time he has been there. Maybe time will prove that selling Emmanuel Adebayor and Kolo Toure was the right thing to do. He has certainly made great money for it. I would have been more worried for them if Cesc Fabregas or Robin van Persie had left.
"Arsenal play some of the best football in the league and they’ll be there or thereabouts as they always are. By all accounts Jack Wilshere has been knocking on the door. Aaron Ramsey is another one, I’ll be interested to see his progression. Then of course Fabregas but also Tomas Rosicky is returning so it will be good to see how he gets on."Copyright 2015 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 11 Aug 2009