Arsenal v Everton

Scouting Report - Everton

Before every Arsenal fixture, we’ll bring you a Scouting Report on the Gunners’ next opponents.

Arsène Wenger's side host Everton at Emirates Stadium on Sunday. To find out more, we asked tactical expert Michael Cox.


After great success in 2013/14, Roberto Martinez has endured a difficult second campaign as Everton coach.

The shape and style of his side is extremely similar to last season, but Everton have been let down by a succession of defensive errors, and some wasteful finishing up front in recent weeks, too.

That's not the extent of their problems, though: ultimately, Everton are shooting less frequently than their opponents, and therefore conceding more than they're scoring.


Roberto Martinez

Roberto Martinez


Nevertheless, Martinez has remained committed to his philosophy, which involves plenty of ball possession inside the opposition half. Everton boast impressive statistics in terms of ball retention, and it's notable how they don't dip significantly away from home - they always want to impose their game on the opposition.

Their attack is largely based around Romelu Lukaku, who has been criticised for his inconsistency, but remains hugely potent for a 21-year-old.

He continues to get into goalscoring positions, although in his previous league performance he attempted nine shots from inside the box in the 2-2 draw against Leicester without forcing a single save from Mark Schwarzer. That said, Lukaku assisted Steven Naismith's opener and forced Matthew Upson into an own goal.

Out wide, Leon Osman and Steven Pienaar have both suffered from injuries this season, although Martinez still has several options. Naismith is a clever player in terms of positioning and movement, Kevin Mirallas offers sheer pace in behind the defence, Christian Atsu is a great counter-attacker, Aiden McGeady is a tricky dribbler, and Aaron Lennon offers an old-fashioned wing threat on the right.


Kevin Mirallas

Kevin Mirallas


None offer the genuine creativity of Osman and Pienaar, though, and this is a problem because while attacking midfielder Ross Barkley has a wonderful appreciation of space and an ability to skip past opposition challenges, his end product must improve: he's managed just one goal and one assist this season.

Martinez asks his holding players to stay deep, allowing the full backs to bomb forward. Two of tough-tackling Mohamed Besic, reliable veteran Gareth Barry and the more dynamic James McCarthy should start in the middle, although they can form a solid trio if Martinez is cautious.

Left back Leighton Baines is Everton's top assister, an excellent crosser and superb set-piece taker, while Seamus Coleman also gallops forward dangerously. Centre backs Phil Jagielka and John Stones hold a high defensive line, but have been exposed too readily.

Martinez usually plays a 4-2-3-1 system, although in his previous two meetings with Arsenal he's used Naismith as a false nine, allowing Mirallas and Lukaku to attack from advanced wide roles.


Romelu Lukaku

Romelu Lukaku


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