Emirates affair promises much
Our Andy Schooler feels Tuesday's Premier League clash at the Emirates could be a cracker - but is it worth a bet?
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Everton's ability to stay in the race for Champions League football is worthy of admiration but with games running out they really need to beat one of their rivals if they are to realise that dream.
They came close against Spurs recently, only a late goal denying them after a performance which bodes well for their trip to the Emirates.
One of the criticisms levelled at David Moyes is that he's too often failed to have a real go at the best teams, something a record of no wins in 11 years away to Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool and - you guessed it - Arsenal bears out.
However, Everton showed against Spurs they can take on quality and, in any case, this is probably the worst Arsenal side in more than a decade.
Can the Toffees actually deliver though? Many of their players will be scarred from their trips to the Emirates and Highbury. Their last victory at Arsenal came in 1996 when Andrei Kanchelskis scored the winner.
Well, they would appear to have the players to pose goal threat against an Arsenal defence which has failed to keep out Norwich, West Brom and Reading in their last three games, despite winning on each occasion.
Kevin Mirallas (four goals in eight games) is certainly in the sort of form which will trouble the home defence - the returning Per Mertesacker won't want the Belgian running at him that's for sure - while Seamus Coleman and Leighton Baines will likely get Arsenal's full-backs going the wrong way regularly, not an area which has been their strong point.
With Victor Anichebe also leading the line with aplomb at present, there's certainly a case to be made for an away win, offered at 17/4.
However, defensively Everton remain a worry, despite three clean sheets in their last four games (all of which came at Goodison Park). Of more relevance here is the fact they have kept sides out just twice on their travels this term.
Where they definitely could be vulnerable in this one is on the break. Whereas Spurs were shorn of their pace with Gareth Bale, Aaron Lennon and Jermain Defoe all missing the recent 2-2 draw, Arsenal will have plenty of it with the likes of Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in their ranks, either from the start or the bench.
Everton were worried by Arsenal on the counter-attack in the reverse fixture, one which ended 1-1 in November, and given their need for a result they may over-commit at times and that could be fatal.
With this in mind, the 4/6 about both sides scoring looks a logical call. It certainly appeals more than backing the home side at odds-on. They simply haven't convinced often enough this season.
Both sides are better going forward than back at present. However, it's really only a price for the big-hitters.
For those seeking greater value, 4/1 about the on-song Mirallas finding the target could be worth a play, but frankly this looks a game worth viewing for pleasure alone.
With both sides needing a result, it promises much and shouldn't need a bet to liven it up.
Verdict: Arsenal 2 Everton 2
- The match is being televised live in the UK on Sky Sports.