The Breakdown: Arsenal v Everton

We play our final Premier League match of the season on Sunday when Everton visit Emirates Stadium for a game that could seal us a top-four spot.

Ahead of the game, tactical expert Michael Cox and former Gunner Adrian Clarke assess our opponents to see where their strengths lie and who the dangermen are.


MC: Ronald Koeman did a fine job at Southampton before moving to Everton this season. A typical Dutch manager in the sense that he likes his sides playing high up the pitch and dominating possession, Everton have enjoyed a solid, steady season and will finish in seventh place, in keeping with pre-season predictions. 


MC: Romelu Lukaku spearheads an Everton system that usually appears as a 4-2-3-1, although Koeman has occasionally used only one holding midfielder in more of a 4-1-4-1 system. Koeman has broadly continued with Roberto Martinez’s approach of playing possession football and keeping an aggressive line, although their defensive record has improved considerably this season.


MC: Only four sides have a better defensive record than Everton this season, with Ashley Williams recruited last summer to play alongside Phil Jagielka. Everton also protect their defence well – the January signing of Morgan Schneiderlin has provide extra quality in the central midfield zone, while Idrissa Gueye is the only player in the league capable of recording ball-winning statistics better than that of N’Golo Kante. He’ll be charged with stopping Mesut Ozil here.
AC: There’s a bit of revenge [on offer] here because Arsenal were poor in the second half at Goodison Park, and they allowed the Toffees to get the physical advantage. They came at Arsenal and bullied them in that second period, so I think we need to avenge that loss.


MC: Romelu Lukaku no longer leads the Golden Boot standings after Harry Kane’s four-goal haul on Thursday night, but the Belgian has enjoyed an exceptional campaign. Although sometimes criticised for his lack of link play in deeper positions, he’s excellent at running in behind the opposition defence and boasts tremendous physical strength. This season he’s noticeably concentrated on the inside-right channel, before opening up his body and finishing calmly with his left foot.


MC: Everton usually have among the best full-back pairings in the Premier League, but the broken leg suffered by Seamus Coleman means Everton don’t offer as much attacking threat from the right. Mason Holgate is a promising young player and has performed solidly in Coleman’s absence, but he’s certainly the least experienced of Everton’s back four.
AC: Everton haven’t been good travellers this season. They were poor at Chelsea, weren’t great at Tottenham even though the score was 3-2, were beaten in the Merseyside derby… I think if Arsenal perform as they have done in recent games, they will win this quite comfortably. 
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