At the start of March, Arsenal were one point off the Premier League summit, with a real chance of winning the competition for the first time in a decade. Fast forward a month and the points difference between leaders Liverpool and Arsene Wenger’s side has grown to seven. Arsenal have it all to do in the title race and must now also contend with Everton, who go into Sunday’s fixture hunting a Champions League spot themselves.
Roberto Martinez’s team are four points adrift of Arsenal but do have a game in hand. The Toffees haven’t beaten Arsenal in 14 attempts though, their last success coming in March 2007. Arsenal beat Everton 4-1 in the FA Cup last month but when the sides met at Emirates Stadium last December, Everton produced an impressive display and deservedly left north London with a point.
The midfield duo of James McCarthy and Gareth Barry impressed in that game, as they have been for much of the league season. The limelight may often shine on the likes of Romelu Lukaku and Ross Barkley but McCarthy and Barry have forged a strong partnership in the middle of the park. Seamus Coleman is enjoying a superb season too and his battle with Kieran Gibbs, also in form, will be interesting and perhaps decisive.
Arsenal recovered quickly from dropping points at home to Swansea with a spirited display against Manchester City at the Emirates last week. Mathieu Flamini’s goal gave Wenger’s side a point, but they arguably deserved all three. Flamini and Mikel Arteta were solid in midfield and Santi Cazorla delivered a good performance too.
But it’s Everton that certainly have the momentum. Where Arsenal have taken five points from their last five league games, Sunday’s hosts have accumulated 15. Barkley is a doubt but could feature, while Arsenal will be boosted by the news that Aaron Ramsey may make a return after a thigh injury. It should be a cracker.
KICK-OFF: Sunday, 13.30pm
PAST THREE MEETINGS:
Arsenal 4 (Ozil, Arteta, Giroud 2) Everton 1 (Lukaku), FA Cup, March 2014
Arsenal 1 (Ozil) Everton 1 (Deulofeu), Premier League, December 2013
Arsenal 0 Everton 0, Premier League, April 2013
Arsene Wenger has taken charge of 38 games against Everton, winning 26 and losing just four
Everton have not beaten Arsenal in their last 14 attempts
The Toffees have won their last five Premier League games and have taken 18 points from their last six league home games
Arsenal have won only once in the Premier League since February
Everton to win: 2.40
Arsenal to win: 2.80
Arsenal 4-0 Everton, May 1998
This win secured Arsene Wenger’s first Premier League title - and his side sealed it in comprehensive fashion. Slaven Bilic’ early own goal, plus Marc Overmars’ brace, had put Arsenal in control before Tony Adams’ iconic strike added late gloss.
Charging through the middle, Adams latched on to centre-back partner Steve Bould’s lofted pass before thumping the ball home. It was a memorable end to what would eventually become a double-winning season.
TV: Live on Sky Sports 1 at 1.30pm.