21 December 2019
The two struggling sides go head-to-head at Goodison Park this weekend, as Everton take on Arsenal in Week’s 18 opening Premier League (PL) fixture.
The hosts have gone from three consecutive PL defeats to two straight games without a loss (W1, D1), with four of their last league matches seeing both teams score. Despite their recent upturn in results, the Toffees enter this round frantically looking over their shoulders as they sit only three points clear of the relegation zone. Conceding the opening goal could prove fatal for Everton, who have returned just one point from four PL home games that have seen them let their opponents break the deadlock. Another potential worry for the Merseyside outfit is that they’ve suffered four defeats in their last five PL H2Hs with Arsenal (W1, L4), allowing at least three goals on three of those occasions. The one consolation for the home side is that four of their total five PL wins this term have come at Goodison, with three of them seeing Everton score two or more goals.
Stuck in mid-table with just five wins from the opening 17 rounds of the PL fixtures (D7, L5), the visitors desperately need three points here to reduce a seven-point gap on fourth-placed Chelsea. However, the Gunners have won only once in their last seven PL road trips (W1, D3, L3), failing to keep a clean sheet in all of those matches. Their indifferent away from is unlikely to improve here, as the North Londoners lost twice in three of their previous top-flight visits to Goodison (W1, L2), conceding over 1.5 match goals on two of those occasions. Curiously, all three of Arsenal’s last competitive away games have seen both teams score and featured precisely four goals, with the Gunners conceding the opener in each of those fixtures.
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