EPL game of the week: Arsenal vs. Everton
Arsenal and Everton face off this week in a match that now has extra implications on the Premier League table. With the announcement that Manchester City has been banned from European competition for the next two seasons, fifth and sixth place become European spots. The three points from this match could be the difference at season’s end.
Arsenal vs. Everton odds
Arsenal's defense has been spotty
The Gunners currently sit in 10th place with 34 points, just five points out of sixth place, and six points out of fifth. They won big last weekend over Newcastle, but their previous four matches before that were all draws. That has kept them right around the middle of the table, but they’re going to need more than that if they want to make a run at the Champions League.
They have been very inconsistent at home, going 3-3-4 (W-L-D) in their last 10 matches at the Emirates. The key issue has been their defense, with serious lapses leading to stupid giveaways and easy goals on the other end for the opposition. On offense, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has four goals in his last 10 matches, but not many others have contributed. Arsenal is at their best when Aubameyang and Alex Lacazette can pair up to provide flair on the run, and if Mesut Özil can lead the attack, Arsenal could have a good day at the office.
Everton is moving on up
Everton has been steadily creeping up the table. 10 matches ago, the Toffees were in the relegation zone. Now, they sit in ninth place with 36 points, just three points out of Europa League positioning and four points away from a Champions League spot.
Their last match was a 3-1 win over Crystal Palace on Feb. 8, and they’ve gone 3-0-2 (W-L-D) over their last five matches. However, their road record lately has not been good. They’ve gone 3-5-2 in their last 10 matches away from Goodison Park, and it’s their defense that has failed them in that time. They’ve conceded 38 goals this season while only scoring 34, and that goal differential could cost them at the end of the season if they can’t turn it around.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison are the two guys that have carried their offense almost completely. Together, they have 24 of Everton’s 42 goals across all competitions, and the Toffees will need a big day from them against Arsenal. They will also need help in the middle. Bernard and Gylfi Sigurðsson will need to be there for Everton as well to shore up the middle and keep the pressure on Arsenal’s defense.
Prediction: Arsenal wins 2-1 (+850)
Arsenal and Everton battled to a scoreless draw on Dec. 21, but Arsenal has won three of the last five matches between the two teams. When they win, they win big. Both teams have a consistency problem, but Arsenal has beaten Everton the past two times at the Emirates. That’s the difference this weekend as Arsenal wins 2-1.