Arsenal vs Everton | Sunday 08 December | Emirates | 18:00
To Win (90mins)
Tight at the back, irresistible going forward and possessing arguably the player of the season so far in Aaron Ramsey, Arsenal appears to have convinced critics that the team is a genuine contender for the Premier League title. The Gunners continued their extremely fine form with a smashing 2-0 victory over a hapless Hull City side at the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday night. As has been their recent trend, Arsenal immediately put Hull on the back foot by jumping ahead before the lesser team could gain a foothold. Carl Jenkinson and Nicklas Bendtner, two much-maligned players, combined to leave Hull chasing the game from the outset. Arsenal thoroughly dominated during the first half and Ramsey and Mesut Ozil combined beautifully to score two minutes into the second half, before keeping the Lions firmly under their collective boot for the remainder of the match. For Arsenal, the win was another vital three points ahead of a daunting series of fixtures that will go some way toward their title race. After The Toffees’ visit, Arsene Wenger’s men will play away to Manchester City and then host Chelsea as they look to stay at the top of the table heading into 2014. They also have a trip to Napoli next week in the UEFA Champions League. Since losing to Aston Villa on the opening day of the season, Arsenal has won all six of their league matches at Emirates Stadium.
Everton under David Moyes never won a Premier League game at Old Trafford, in twelve attempts. But Roberto Martinez has broken that run in his first season at Goodison Park, which suggests Everton's poor run had more to do with Moyes than his players. Neither did they win at Arsenal during Moyes’ tenure and the Evertonians will be quietly confident that they can break another record this weekend. The Toffees fully deserved their first win at United in 21 years after overrunning the champions at times, even if the hosts were unlucky to see Wayne Rooney and Danny Welbeck hit efforts against the goal frame in an end-to-end game. Everton went into the match full of confidence after thrashing Stoke City 4-0 at Goodison Park last weekend. They lie fifth on the table, joint on points with fourth place Liverpool, while third place Manchester City have just a point more and second place Chelsea three points adrift of them. Winger Kevin Mirallas and striker Romelu Lukaku have been the men to get Everton ticking. Jose Mourinho’s loaning of Lukaku to Everton seems to be another master stroke of genius as the big Belgian is taking points off Chelsea’s rivals. Lukaku’s partnership with his Belgian team-mate, Mirallas, is a nightmare for defenders. Mirallas is a genuinely gifted performer; blessed with pace, rare dribbling ability, and a powerful shot.
VERDICT: Arsenal 13/20
The most measured and rational thing to take from the Gunners' domination of Hull is that they have set themselves up very well for a massive test of their ability to remain dominant at the highest echelon of English football. Arsene Wenger has rotated the squad to his liking, so everyone who needed a rest has received it. Everton have been inconsistent away from home, winning just three of their seven travels, drawing three and losing once. Arsenal are tipped to continue their fine form at home with a win here.