Everton’s top four credentials under the microscope in Gunners test
Everton have beaten Arsenal just once since January 2006. One win in 17 meetings in all competitions is hardly the best of omens for Roberto Martinez’s men ahead of this Goodison Park game.
Punters may be scratching their heads wondering why Coral make the Toffees favourites for victory at 6/4, then. It’s a matter of home form that justifies this price.
Merseyside outfit Everton Last dropped points on their own patch back on Boxing Day – and even then there were the mitigating circumstances of Tim Howard’s sending off.
Only current Premier League top three Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester City boast better home records than Martinez’s men. That does not mean you can count the Gunners out, however.
Arsene Wenger’s side, 2/1 for a win here, have the joint-second best return on the road of 29 points (seven wins and two draws) with north London rivals Tottenham behind champions Manchester United.
Taken together, these respective records may seem to suggest a draw is a safe bet at 9/4, but something has got to give in the race for fourth place.
Hosts Everton are four points behind Arsenal with a game in hand, so they simply have to go for it here, if they are to realise their ambitions of Champions League football.
Martinez is a 5/2 shot to deliver that by crashing the top-four, and will be hoping on-loan Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku can do a little more than net a consolation here, as he did in their recent FA Cup meeting in March.
The Gunners are 4/9 favourites to go on to lift that trophy, and contest a semi-final with holders Wigan Athletic next.
Lukaku is a 7/4 to score anytime against Arsenal again. Winger Gerard Deulofeu, who snatched a point for the Toffees in the reverse Premier League fixture, is 11/4 for a goal here.
Midfielder Leon Osman, who has two career goals when paired with this opposition, is 5/1 to break forward and net anytime.
Wenger, winless in three Premier League outings, is still without record signing Mesut Ozil, who scored in both previous meetings with Everton this term.
Mikel Arteta should be on penalty duty against his former club so, if the Gunners get one, he is a good investment at 11/2 to score.
Arsenal have Aaron Ramsey back in their squad following a lengthy absence with a thigh problem. Odds of 7/2 say he will mark his return with a goal here.
It’s hard to look past labouring lone striker Olivier Giroud for the visitors. He bagged a brace off the bench last month, and take the 8/1 price if punters fancy him for two or more again.
Young John Stones has impressed in the absence of Toffees captain Phil Jagielka, but the hosts are notably no longer keeping clean sheets without the England international in defence.
If Everton are to win and really make the race for the top-four interesting, then it looks as though they must outscore the Gunners.
Martinez’s men are 18/5 to do just that – earn victory with both teams on target – and a 2-1 win for them is temptingly long at 9/1.