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Arsenal face Everton tomorrow evening at Goodison Park, with Arsène Wenger knowing that a win could see us open up a 6 point gap on Chelsea if they lose at Eastlands, and catch up or even overtake Spurs if they drop points at home to Stoke.
As far as I am concerned, a draw away to Everton would not be a bad result. The Toffee’s have been known to cause the odd upset this season. They have won against Tottenham, Chelsea and Manchester City at their home ground within the last 6 weeks.
Everton played in the FA Cup on Saturday against Sunderland whereas Arsenal has not had any fixtures since last Monday (vs Newcastle). This means that while David Moyes may decide to rotate the team slightly, Arsène Wenger can field a completely fresh team. There shouldn’t be any tired legs, and we also have very few injuries at the moment. Santos, Gibbs, Jenkinson and Diaby have all returned from injury in the last few weeks.
Predicted Arsenal Starting XI
The team is unlikely to be much different from the image above. Perhaps Wenger will use Santos ahead of Gibbs. Santos had an hour or so in the reserves last week, so I doubt Santos is ready to start. He is yet to play for the first team following his injury. I hope he is given a run around for half an hour or so.
The other decision Wenger has to make is Gervinho or the Ox. Gervinho hasn’t been particularly impressive since the AFCON, but then again he has been given many starts. The Ox was quiet against Newcastle, although he perked up in the second half. I’d start with the Ox, because he has been such a bright spark this season. There is no doubt that Walcott will start – he has been in good form and gave one of his best ever Arsenal performances against Newcastle.
I don’t see Ramsey pushing any of our midfielders out of the team given the form of our midfield trio in recent weeks.
1-1 Everton are difficult to beat at home and notoriously strong in the latter half of the season. Although a win would help to cement our place in the top four, a draw certainly wouldn’t be the end of our Champions League hopes. There are plenty of games left and everything can change in a matter of weeks. Look at Spurs – in two weeks the gap went from potentially 13 points to 1 point.