Match Preview| Arsenal (H)
Here we go again. There really is no time to mope. Arsenal come to Goodison on Sunday as the Premier League returns.
I am running out of ways really to express the need to get a positive result. The manager needs it. The fans need it. The players need it. Our season is literally slipping through our fingers before it has even started and it’s utterly gut wrenching to watch.
What we really need is a ‘go to’ side. A team who we can always rely on to give us at least one point. I’m talking a West Ham, a Sunderland, a… well I think that’s about it. A two-teamed list of teams I actually think Everton could at least draw against. But who do we face. Arsenal. Evertonians must have been the only other fan base in the country to weep in sync with the Arsenal fans in the summer when it was announced Arsene Wenger signed a two-year contract extension. Wenger has beaten Everton 30 times in all competitions as Arsenal manager – more than he has against any other side during his time at the Gunners. Brilliant.
According to the media, like Everton, Arsenal also find themselves in somewhat of a ‘crisis’. The difference is a crisis for them still consists of sitting in 7th place in the league and losing just two of their last ten games in all competitions. Everton meanwhile are sitting in 16th place, winning just two of their last ten games. I know which crisis I would rather be in.
There is talk of James McCarthy making his first-team comeback having recovered from his knee injury. He played 45 minutes for the U23’s on Tuesday night. It was a game I covered and in truth, he looked way off the pace. I think this game has come too soon for him but with Morgan Schneiderlin limping off the field on Thursday, he may just be called into action.
Wayne Rooney, Leighton Baines and Phil Jagielka are set to return, whilst it will be interesting to see the role Oumar Niasse could play, who was of course ineligible on Thursday. Don’t expect Klaassen or Ramirez to get anywhere near the starting line-up after Thursday’s showing. Both seem the football equivalent of broken men. A stint in the under 23’s may do them good. Not to humiliate them. But instead to help them re-discover the quality within, that they both evidently have.
I don’t think Sunday’s game is make or break. I don’t believe the board have it in them to end Koeman’s reign after the Arsenal game. So here is some positivity, that maybe it isn’t all doom and gloom. Maybe the season can be saved. An omen if you like….Everton went into last seasons home fixture with Arsenal with just one win in ten games. We won that game and went on to lose just one game in our following ten. We actually only lost just five more games in the whole season.
So maybe, just maybe, Arsenal at home is just what we need.
– David ( @DAHughes92 )