The Breakdown

The Breakdown: Everton v Arsenal preview

We return to Premier League action on Sunday when we travel to Goodison Park to take on Everton.

Ahead of the game, tactical expert Michael Cox and former Gunner Adrian Clarke examine our opponents in detail.

MC: Dutchman Ronald Koeman won the Eredivisie with both Ajax and PSV, and enjoyed a couple of positive campaigns with Southampton before taking Everton to seventh last season. But he’s found this campaign much more difficult, collecting just eight points from eight matches so far, with the Toffees also badly struggling in the Europa League.

AC: They’ve been a let down haven’t they? Something’s not quite right there. The players don’t seem to be busting a gut for Koeman. Clearly the recruitment looked good on paper but it was too many of the same types of players. They’re badly missing Lukaku. You take his pace, his runs and his finishing out of the team and you’re going to find it hard to replicate the goal output. They’ve just been flat haven’t they?
MC: Koeman started the campaign with a three-man defence, but recently has reverted to a 4-2-3-1. He’s struggled to find the right balance in the final third, however, with the side badly lacking pace aside from young Dominic Calvert-Lewin, and question marks about the best position of returning hero Wayne Rooney.

AC: One week it’s three at the back, the next it’s four, it just seems Koeman doesn’t know what his best formation is. There’s a bit of disenchantment and imbalance within the team. Gylfi Sigurdsson has played out on the left for a lot of this campaign and that’s not his best position. There’s a lot of work for Koeman to do and he needed that equaliser from Wayne Rooney last week
MC: Everton boast a number of very talented ball-players. Rooney, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Davy Klaassen are all good No 10s, while Morgan Schneiderlin is a fine passer from deep and Tom Davies offers box-to-box energy. Fitting these players into a cohesive system, however, has proved tricky.
MC: It remains to be seen whether Rooney starts at all, and whether he’s deployed up front or in a deeper role. But no-one in Premier League history has scored more times against Arsenal than Rooney, with 11, and therefore he remains a real threat. 
MC: Everton’s lack of speed has been a notable problem this season – Arsenal can probably afford to play a high defensive line and keep the Toffees away from goal.

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