Arsenal v Everton: Another draw likely for Gunners against in-form opponents
Simon Mail previews Sunday's televised match at the Emirates with Arsenal and Everton likely to cancel each other out...
Arsenal v Everton Sunday, 16:30 Live on Sky Sports Premier League
Signs of improvement under Arteta
Arsenal have underachieved this season with their poor form costing Unai Emery his job. The Spaniard's successor, Mikel Arteta, has made a solid start to his tenure with the team harder to beat, on an unbeaten run stretching back to the end of December. Arsenal still find themselves treading water, tenth in the Premier League, with the team seven points adrift of fourth-placed Chelsea.
Arteta has focused on enhancing Arsenal's pressing game and this has been noticeable even if wins have still remained in short supply. The team are unbeaten in their last six league games but only two of those were wins. The Gunners claimed a convincing 4-0 win at home to Newcastle last weekend, with Alexandre Lacazette ending his goal drought. Arsenal resumed their Europa League campaign on Thursday night with a 1-0 win in Olympiakos.
Everton on the rise under Ancelotti
Everton have also undergone a managerial change this season with Marco Silva dismissed and Champions League winning coach Carlo Ancelotti taking charge. Having been hovering around the relegation zone earlier this season, Everton are now flourishing under Ancelotti with the Italian guiding the team up to ninth in the division.
With a run of just one defeat in their last 11 league games, Everton are heading in the right direction and qualifying for Europe is certainly not out of the question. Ancelotti's sole league defeat, since being appointed in December, came at champions Manchester City last month. Everton have won their last two matches, fighting back with ten men to win 3-2 at Watford before Dominic Calvert-Lewin scored his 11th league goal this season in a 3-1 win at home to Crystal Palace.
Arsenal too short to claim victory
Arsenal are 2.10favourites to win this weekend but the hosts look far too short to back on the evidence of this season. The Gunners have won just seven of their 26 league matches - the least amount of victories in the top half of the table. With one win from their last five matches in the competition, it is difficult to trust Arsenal and they offer no appeal at the odds.
Everton are priced at 3.80and this cannot be dismissed based on their upturn under Ancelotti. The Toffees have won three of their last five matches and are looking for a third successive victory. Their away record at Arsenal is a concern with no wins in their last 23 top-flight visits but Ancelotti has twice claimed victories at the Emirates, with Chelsea and Bayern Munich.
The draw is hugely appealing at 3.75and looks the best in this market by some distance. Arsenal are the draw specialists this season after being held a league high 13 times. Having drawn half of their matches, it is a surprise the odds on a stalemate are not shorter. Four of their last five league games have ended level and a dangerous Everton team look capable of frustrating them again this weekend.
High-scoring match far from certain
Arsenal may have netted four goals last week against Newcastle but the team have hardly been free-scoring this season. A return of 36 goals from 26 matches in the league is low by their standards and there is no guarantee of a high-scoring match this weekend. Eight of their last 13 matches, in all competitions, have resulted in under three goals.
Everton have scored two goals fewer than opponents Arsenal although have looked more threatening under Ancelotti with six goals in their last two wins. The last meeting between the teams ended in a goalless draw just before Christmas and the last three clashes have all produced under 2.5 goals. Two unconvincing defences probably explain the odds but 2.12 on no more than two goals could offer value.
In his Premier League career, Arsenal's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has scored 30 goals in 37 games played on Sundays, compared to 17 goals in 36 games on all other days of the week. The striker is 5/6 to net this Sunday.