Arsenal v Everton
Everton have a doubt over Royston Drenthe ahead of the trip to the Emirates. The winger has missed the last two games with a foot injury but could return for the trip to London.
Jack Rodwell, Phil Neville and Sylvain Distin all returned to the bench last week after lay-offs.
Arsenal left-back Andre Santos has been ruled out of Saturday's game after picking up an ankle injury against Olympiakos.
The 28-year-old was forced off after 51 minutes of the 3-1 defeat in Tuesday's Champions League group fixture.
Santos, who has made 12 starts in all competitions this season, could be on the sidelines for more than just the Everton game.
Full-backs Carl Jenkinson, Kieran Gibbs and Bacary Sagna are already injured.
Gibbs is recovering from last month's hernia operation and is not expected to return for at least another fortnight, while Jenkinson is out with a stress fracture to his back.
Sagna broke his leg in a defeat by Tottenham in October. Arsene Wenger may be forced to switch Thomas Vermaelen to left-back as a result of the injuries.
Keeper Lukas Fabianski (knee), Abou Diaby (hamstring), Carl Jenkinson (back), Kieron Gibbs (hernia), Bacary Sagna (broken leg) and Jack Wilshere (ankle) are also missing.
- Tim Howard requires one more game to reach 200 for Everton in the Premier League, the American stopper has also made 158 successive appearances in the top-flight.
- The Toffees have never won at the Emirates despite leading in four of their five matches played at the ground since the Gunners moved there in 2006 – the Blues have drawn two and lost three in that time.
- The Blues have won just once in 19 visits to Arsenal in the Premier League – thanks to goals from Graham Stuart and Andrei Kanchelskis in a 2-1 win in January 1996.
- Our most recent win over the Gunners in the Premier League was courtesy of Andy Johnson’s last-minute strike in the 1-0 win at Goodison in March 2007.
Everton, last six, Premier League: Stoke (H), lost 1-0; Bolton (A), won 2-0; Wolverhampton (H), won 2-1; Newcastle (A), lost 2-1; Manchester Utd (H), lost 1-0; Fulham (A), won 3-1.
Arsenal, last six, Premier League: Wigan (A), won 4-0; Fulham (H), drew 1-1; Norwich (A), won 2-1; West Brom (H), won 3-0; Chelsea (A), won 5-3; Stoke (h), won 3-1.
Arsenal 2 Everton 1, February 1, 2011: Louis Saha's fortuitous opener looked set to get the Toffees a result. The Frenchmen was clearly a yard offside when he broke free of the Gunners backline to notch in London. Two goals in quick succession turned the game around, however, as substitute Andrey Arshavin levelled before Laurent Koscielny exploited poor marking to score from a corner.
Arsenal 2 Everton 2, January 10, 2010: Two Arsenal deflected shots stole a point for the Gunners Everton had twice took the lead at the Emirates. Landon Donovan in particular shone in the heavy snowfall, crossing from a corner for an Osman headed goal. But a beautifully dinked late goal from Piennar, after an equaliser from Denilson, wasn’t enough to stop Rosicky pinching a draw in the last seconds of the game.
Yossi Benayoun is hopeful of getting a chance at the weekend: “They say you don’t change a winning team and we are on a good run so it is very difficult to get into the team. The only thing I can do is wait to get my chance. You come here and you know there is a lot of quality so you want to prove yourself. Hopefully when I get the chance I will show it but like I said it is not easy. I will have to be patient. After crashing out of the league cup last week, Wenger reiterated his priorities for the current season. I consider the championship the most important. More than anything else it is important to finish in the top four.”
Seamus Coleman on playing the big boys: "In the derby there was the sending off as everyone knows, while against Manchester United we dominated the game but we just could not get the goal we needed. Arsenal started slowly but they have got great quality in their team and it would be nice to stop them on Saturday. But he’s also aware of their threat. Robin van Persie is fantastic, his finishing is brilliant and he always looks like he is going to score. And I am sure it will be a bit weird for Mikel Arteta playing against Everton for the first time. He was at the club so long and is loved by everyone here and it will be a big day for him, but on the day, we will be looking to get one over him."
This week an XI who have played for both has a rather tasty look to it. Lining up 4-3-3, we are spoilt for choice between the sticks. From the modern era there is Richard Wright, who joined the Toffees from Arsenal in 2002 and gets the nod.
The back four has some serious pedigree, particularly the full-backs, with the late, great Joe Mercer and Kenny Sansom doing the honours. Club legend Mercer played 186 games for the Blues before leaving for Arsenal where he would accrue a further 247 appearances. Arsenal great Sansom made more than 300 appearances for the then-Highbury side, building up an impressive 86 England caps. He came to Goodison towards the end of his career for a short spell in 1993.
Another ex-England man Martin Keown will be barking the orders in the centre of defence. Alongside him is Swiss international Philippe Senderos who spent time on loan at Goodison from the Emirates.
The midfield teems with quality with Alan Ball backed up by Anders Limpar and Kevin Richardson. World Cup winner Ball’s sheer brilliance makes him one of the greats of the English game but his only major domestic honour – the 1969/70 league title – came in Blue before he joined Arsenal for a then record £220,000.
The silky Limpar won the league, the FA and League Cup at Arsenal and then collected another FA Cup winner’s medal with the Blues following his £1.6m transfer. The versatile Richardson was a part of the Blues glory years of the mid-80s, largely as understudy to the central midfield partnership of Reid and Bracewell. He still managed more than 100 games for the Club and later went on to reach a century for the Gunners as well.
Up front our three-pronged strike-force should provide bags of goals with Kevin Campbell and Francis Jeffers joined by legend Tommy Lawton.
Below are some bets courtesy of partners 188bet.
Over 2.5 /3 goals @ 2.04 (just over evens)
Louis Saha to score first/last @ 9.00 (8/1)
Tim Cahill to score first/last @ 11.00 (10/1)
Everton to score the last goal @ 2.85 (just shy of 15/8)
Everton's away allocation has been sold.