The match between Arsenal FC and Everton FC has come at a time when both clubs are nursing the prospect of appearing in European competitions next season. With the struggle for a top four finish- doomed to proceed until the last day of the season- on both managers’ mind, neither club will be willing to drop points in tonight’s fixture; guess Emirate staffers will be lighting up the flood lights for a crunch tie.
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In the last five meetings between the two clubs at Emirate stadium, Arsenal had won four of those fixtures and drawn one, notably is the December 2011 match when a Robin van Persie’s 70th minute goal clinched the winner for the North Londoners. Everton are yet to defeat Arsenal in their last ten encounters in the League making it seven out of ten wins for the gunners, plus three draws.
However, tonight’s meeting is likely to be the defining moment of the season for two clubs with a recent good run of form in the Premier League. Arsenal has won five out of their last six fixtures, with the 2- 1 loss to Tottenham at White Hart Lane being their most recent shortfall. Everton’s 2- 2 draw at White Hart Lane on April 7 and their loss, away to Norwich makes it four wins out of six for the Toffees. Most worthy of praise is the manner with which they outclassed relegation threatened Rangers in the 2- 0 win at Goodison Park last Saturday.
Arsenal FC are 3rd on the Premier League log with 59 points, having played one match more than the fourth placed team, Chelsea. Everton are 6th on the log with 55 points and they’ve scored 49 goals less than Arsenal presently on 82 goals.
Everton manager, David Moyes believes tonight’s fixture wouldn’t deter the club’s resolution to be in Europe next season.
“We feel that no matter what happens, we are still in with a fight for European spot and think for Everton to be saying this at this time of the year is a positive thing and something we should be pleased with.”
One player who has been linked with a move away from Emirate this summer, is the club’s captain, Thomas Vermaelen, due to lack of playing time. The Belgian international may have to start from the bench as Per Mertesacker returns from a one- match suspension against Norwich. Nacho Monreal is expected to start at left- back after been rested against Norwich. Theo Walcott and Lucas Podolski will both be relishing a recall after coming off the bench against Norwich. Midfielder Tomas Rosicky, Goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski and a long time absentee Abou Diaby are the major injury doubt for the gunners, with hamstring, rib and knee injuries respectively.
Moyes will be assessing a few knocks and bruises ahead of the trip to London. The squad was lucky to have come through Saturday’s victory over QPR without any significant injuries.
Referee for this match will be Neil Swarbrick.