Before I start my preview I will just say why there has been a lack of blogging of late. Last week was my final one of my trip to America as I posted about. I tried to keep the blog up to date as often as possible, but some days I was busier than others, so it was just not possible. The last couple of days I have been recovering from jet lag and I have been sleeping in until funny times of the day and staying up until strange hours too as my body clock is still on Chicago’s time!.
Anyway, Arsenal have a very tricky fixture tomorrow evening at Goodison Park. Everton away. It is one of those fixtures I never look forward to on the fixture list. Everton are a good team whether you play them at home or away from home. Normally they start their season slowly and gradually get better throughout the course of the campaign. People always said that if they could start a season well, they’d be up there challenging with Arsenal and Tottenham for a place in the top 4. This year they have started well and are already 5th in the league table, 1 point ahead of Arsenal.
Despite the fact Everton don’t make it easy for Arsenal, statistics suggest that the Gunners have done pretty well in recent games against Everton. In the last ten league meetings between the two clubs, Arsenal are undefeated. They have won 8 of those games and drawn twice, with Everton’s last win coming in March 2007 when Andy Johnson scored a last minute winner against Arsenal to steal all three points. The Gunners have also recorded their highest number of Premier League wins against Everton with 26 altogether and also scored more goals against Everton than any other club in Premier League history with 81 goals scored against The Toffees overall.
Team News: Marouane Fellaini returns from a 1 game ban for Everton. He is currently their top scorer so far this season. Kevin Mirallas, who claims he turned down a move to Arsenal in favour of Everton in the summer transfer window, is hoping to be fit and ready to play against the Gunners after a hamstring injury. The same applies to Darron Gibson who suffered the same injury.
The visitors are boosted by the return of Theo Walcott from a shoulder injury. Tomas Rosicky has returned to training following a lengthy injury, but isn’t ready for first-team action quite yet. Abou Diaby and Andre Santos remain sidelined too.
Played for both: Mikel Arteta - Arsenal and Everton’s most recent transfer was a deadline day arrival at the Emirates in the summer of 2011. Mikel Arteta joined Arsenal for £10m that day after 6 years at Everton. Arteta has become an important figure in Arsenal’s midfield after the switch. This summer he switched to a more defensive role in the midfield though. Me and my Dad were discussing on the way home from the airport the other day how when Arteta isn’t playing well, the team performance drops as a whole. We said it reminded us of Gilberto. You don’t notice it until it’s missing in the team. I for one am glad that Arteta came to the club, even if I do think Arsene did it a few years too late.
Francis Jeffers: Jeffers was an £8m flop. He arrived at Highbury in the summer of 2001 with bags of potential. His spell at Highbury was dogged by injury and with the likes of Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp, Sylvain Wiltord and Kanu all at the club during Jeffers’ spell, after persistent injuries and a lack of goals when actually on the pitch, Jeffers was sent back on loan to Everton in the 2003/04 campaign. Jeffers went on to play for a whole host of clubs in the Premier League and Football League after leaving Arsenal and also played in Scotland and Australia during his career, before joining Floriana in Malta last month.
Anders Limpar: Limpar won the league title at Highbury in 1991 before adding League Cup and FA Cup winners medals to his collection 2 years later. He moved to Goodison Park in 1994. The highlight of his time at Everton was the 1995 FA Cup win. He helped set up goals in the semi-final against Spurs and then played a part in the cup winning goal against United by winning the ball from Paul Ince. He is a popular figure at both Arsenal and Everton still.