Analysis

FLIP’s Picks In-Play: Arsenal vs Everton

Written by Sam Hopkinson

Bayern Munich didn’t know what hit them — despite dominating possession (a 70/30 split!), the Bavarians were undone by Giroud’s hand and an Özil strike that made it past Neuer. They will be looking forward to Everton’s visit as a chance to use some of their new-found confidence. The Toffees have a poor record at the Emirates as it is but coming off the back of a home defeat to Manchester United, Martinez is probably wishing their schedule was a bit kinder. Two wins in their last six games is a poor return nonetheless and Everton need to get going if they want to finish in the European places come the end of the season.

DEFENDER

Laurent Koscielny

Arsenal are close to the top of the form table, their only loss coming in a controversial defeat at Stamford Bridge. Koscielny wasn’t at his best that day, but it’s hard to judge him too harshly considering Arsenal’s two man deficit. The stats seem to argue that when Koscielny plays well, the Gunners win games. The Frenchman will need to be strong on Saturday, facing Romelu Lukaku. Martinez will want his Belgian striker bullying Arsenal’s backline all game—and it’s up to Koscielny to put a stop to it.

MIDFIELDER

Ross Barkley

The Everton man has been marrying more and more consistency with his obvious talent this season. For England as well as his club, Barkley has shown great running and creativity. In the two international appearances he made he grabbed a goal and an assist, as well as being named MotM. And despite the loss to Manchester United, he did well individually. If he continues in this vein the big clubs will come sniffing around again this summer — and rumours of a £50 million transfer fee may prove hard for the Toffees to resist.

STRIKER

Olivier Giroud

To be fair to the linesman, it was very difficult to see that Giroud’s goal against Munich went in off his hand. Will a hand-ball goal be enough to convince Wenger to start with the Frenchman instead of Theo Walcott though? The impact of Giroud off the bench may be valued above his qualities as a starter for this match, but how long will he be content to play second fiddle. He has four goals this season to Walcott’s two, but there is the sense that Walcott’s searing pace offers the Gunners more.

HONOURABLE MENTION

Mesut Özil

This week’s honourable mention goes to Mesut Özil who used grace and guile to undo Bayern Munich midweek. For some bizarre reason, his talent still struggles to earn the recognition it wholly deserves from English fans and pundits. He appeared languid yet controlling against Pep Guardiola’s team, and if he’s given an inch by Everton’s defence, expect him to take a mile.

About the author

Sam Hopkinson

Sam has attended matches everywhere from Cambodia to Canada, and is a persistent Spurs fan. If he didn't have football, he'd probably turn to a life of crime just to get that exhilarating fix. Superstitious enough to believe that picking a player for his fantasy team spells doom for the poor sod.