Everton and Arsenal were busy during the winter transfer window, and Theo Walcott makes his return to the Emirates with the Toffees.

By 90Min
February 02, 2018

Arsenal welcome Everton to the Emirates Stadium on Saturday afternoon, with the home side looking to revive their ailing Premier League campaign.

The Gunners side have slipped eight points off the pace in the race for fourth place, with rivals Chelsea currently in possession of the final Champions League qualification place.

Arsene Wenger's side were humbled at the Liberty Stadium on Tuesday as Swansea swept away his side with an impressive 3-1 win.

Everton meanwhile returned to the winner's circle on Wednesday night, beating Leicester 2-1 at Goodison Park.

The Toffees went into the match having failed to win in their last six Premier League outings, but came out on top thanks to a brace from new boy Theo Walcott. The former Arsenal winger will return to his former club looking to prove a point, after spending the majority of the season on the sidelines.

These two sides contested an epic encounter back in October, with the Gunners triumphing 5-2 at Goodison Park. Ronald Koeman was sacked as Everton manager the following day. with Sam Allardyce set to come up against Arsene Wenger for the first time as Toffees boss.


Classic Encounter

Both Arsenal and Everton were founding members of the Premier League, with both teams having competed in every season thereafter.

One classic encounter over the past 25 years came back on the final day of the 2001/02 season, as Arsenal brought down the curtain on their second Premier League title winning campaign.

The Gunners had won 12 straight games to pull away from the chasing pack, with Thierry Henry and Dennis Bergkamp integral figures in their inspired run of form.

Everton had dismissed Walter Smith as manager during the season, bringing in then Preston North End manager David Moyes for his first crack at the big time.

The game began in blistering fashion, as Arsenal opened the scoring after just four minutes through Bergkamp. The visitors weren't behind for long though, hitting back through Lee Carsley and Tomasz Radzinski to take a shock lead.

The Gunners leveled through Henry moments later as the fans in attendance were treated to an end of season goal bonanza.

The hosts retook the lead through Henry, and sealed the points with seven minutes to go, as former Toffees youngster Francis Jeffers got himself on the scoresheet. Steve Watson scored a consolation goal in stoppage time for Everton, but Arsenal held on to end a thrilling campaign with an entertaining 4-3 win.


Recent Form

The Gunners have been one of their worst runs of form under the leadership of Arsene Wenger, with fans becomingly increasingly disgruntled with their teams lack of consistency.

Wenger's side have won only three of their last 11 Premier League games, crashing out of the FA Cup to Nottingham Forest as well. They have reached the final of the Carabao Cup however, after defeating rivals Chelsea over two legs.

The Toffees have been in poor form themselves, with their midweek win over Leicester their first win in seven league matches.

Allardyce's side are looking to get things back on track, and will be boosted defensively for the rest of the season after bringing in Manchester City defender Eliaquim Mangala.


Team News

The Gunners only injury concerns are Santi Cazorla and Danny Welbeck, with both players missing out. Cazorla is unlikely to play this season, with Welbeck potentially fit enough to return to the squad this Saturday.

Arsene Wenger will instead focus his selection thinking on what attacking combination to play, with new signings Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang both in the running for their first starts for the club.

Alexandre Lacazette will be hopeful of retaining his place up front, with the Arsenal boss potentially thinking about pairing up his two lethal finishers.

Everton will be without long-term casualties Leighton Baines, Ramiro Funes Mori and James McCarthy, who suffered a broken leg against West Brom two weeks ago.

Cenk Tosun will be hopeful of a recall up front, as the Turkish striker looks to open his account since moving from Besiktas for £27m, while Theo Walcott will line up against his former club.

Potential Arsenal Lineup: Cech, Bellerin, Koscielny, Mustafi, Monreal, Xhaka, Wilshere, Ozil, Mkhitaryan, Aubameyang, Lacazette

Potential Everton Lineup: Pickford, Coleman, Keane, Jagielka, Martina, Gueye, Davies, Rooney, Sigurdsson, Walcott, Tosun


Prediction

The Gunners will be keen to put their performance problems behind them, and have a good record against Everton in recent times.

Arsene Wenger's men have won seven out of their last 10 games against the Toffees, and are unbeaten at home against them in over 20 years.

With such a dreadful record against the Gunners, Everton fans are likely to be pessimistic ahead of their trip to the Emirates Stadium. Arsenal have a showcase of new talent to show off, and may finally put on a show for their troubled supporters.

Prediction: Arsenal 3-1 Everton

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