Ramsey to Connect with OLA and Munch The Toffees: Preview | Line-Up


It could be the most important game of our season, this away match against Everton. The form table says that in the last 6 premiership matches only City have collected more points than us (18 pts to our 16 pts) and only City have conceded fewer goals than us (1 goal to our 3). We are very much an in-form team but I must hasten to add that 4 of those 6 matches were home games in which we collected maximum points. We won one and drew the other (against the Spuds) in the two away matches. It could be argued that our present form has been unduly coloured by the home form which has been excellent all season. Or is there something else to suggest that we might have turned the corner as far as our away form is concerned?

The answer will be provided in the coming match against Everton. If we win it, it will be a big announcement that our form has become more than just home based and we might as well begin to celebrate our return to Champions League football. And me thinks we will win it.

In the 1st 10 games of the season we collected 22 pts. Not bad at all particularly for a team trying to come to grips with the philosophy and methods of a new coach. If truth be told, however, we had the rub of the green very much in many of those matches. Not that we cared.

In the 2nd 10 games of the season, with mother luck quite indifferent to proceedings, we gathered only mid-tablesque 16 pts.

In the 3rd 10 games, with our squad getting more and more at home with Emery’s tactics we again made 22 pts, and this time they were well earned.

We are now in the home stretch. Three points already in the bag, 7 games to go and, more than ever, Emery and his team seem to be on the same page. That is why I believe our current form is for real and why I think we will leavc Goodison Park with the 3 pts. But this is the premier league where you never count your chickens before they’re hatched.

Everton like to stretch the field. That suits Emery to fit in his best available players; Kolasinac, Maitland-Niles and Aubamayang our pace merchants, Lacazette and Ramsey sweat merchants, Ozil the creative genius and young Douzi full of precocious forward passes in place of doubtful Xhaka.

This front sextet have goals in them more so when they know that behind them is a defence, believe this, that has suddenly gone very mean. Our current player of the month, keeper Leno, was called to duty only once against the Benitez boys. Koscielny remains a doubt so expect the same back three that played against Newcastle to start.


Everton have arguably the premier league’s best left back in Digne. They have the outstanding holding midfielder Gueye, the immaculate Sigurdsson and the prolific Richarlison – the latter two with 12 goals each. Thanks to Everton’s big club mentality as well as the expansive football philosophy of coach Marco Silva, this is a match the neutrals are going to enjoy. As for the non-neutrals, we should get ready for a nail biting encounter as play swings from end to end.

You already can guess my prediction of the starting eleven:-






Bench: Cech, Lichsteiner, Elneny, Iwobi, Mkhitaryan, Suarez, Nketiah.

Currently we are 4th on the table with a game in hand. Finishing 3rd this season is still in our hands. We can’t let it go.



37 thoughts on “Ramsey to Connect with OLA and Munch The Toffees: Preview | Line-Up

  • Cheers PE for a fine effort. I like your preview laced with season reviews elements. We are indeed now in the final section of the season and we have it all to do. Three points today would be massive but every game will be a cup final till the very end. Three points today will mean we are five points above the Mancs – that is substantial at this time of the season. The Spuds have a much easier run in and it will be hard to stay above them, but it can be done. The Chavs – our remaining competitor for a top four finish – remain close to us and it may turn out to be between them and us to get that coveted fourth place finish. But it all comes to down to the OGAAT approach and not looking too far ahead. Everton are tough to beat right now and they have not much to lose: just will want to play well and beat us.

    We need as strong spine and double DM pivot and your line up does not provide us the latter. At home v the Barcodes we could afford to attack ala Barca but surely not against Everton?!! I am so hoping Xhaka is fit to play or else Elneny to play in the deeper midfield role today. Ramsey will also need to play with real discipline and hold himself back to leave his DM partner too many times. Finally, I do not think we can afford to play both Auba and Laca straightaway and hope to see either Mkhi or Iwobi played for Auba instead. This would give us more balance and footballing ability which I think we will need desperately.

    It’s a big game to get the tactics right for Emery. Big game.

  • Great preview, PE. There’s no other way to say it; it’s a huge game, being the first of the famed “five Away games” we have to navigate towards the finish line, so we cannot afford not to win. If we stay focused on the goal of getting the win, I am certain we will. But if we allow the home side dictate things, or some unexpected incident (injury to key player, a red card, etc.) to derail us, the best we will get is a draw. I prefer the win, however and think we can get it, just based on our record against Everton.

    I don’t think we will start with both Auba and Laca, despite Emery’s clever sound bites about how great they are together. With a player like Digne on their left side, we would need a strong wing play to keep him at bay; Mkhi should start, to give us a chance at assured possession (alongside, Ozil, Ramsey and Guendouzi) while also posing a threat with the runs of Laca or Auba (have a feeling he may start since Everton like a high line at home).

    So, in addition to your back 5 (or 6, if we include Leno), I expect to see Guendouzi, Ramsey, Ozil, Mkhi and Laca (whom I’d prefer, even as I suspect Emery will start Auba).


  • TA, Lol. I don’t know about that getting anyone going, but it sure was hilarious…

  • A fabulous Pre-Match, PE, thank you very much.

    The game stats were very useful in jogging memories (well mine anyway) and putting events into context over the season to date, followed by an analysis of key players in both teams, and the tactics required by the Gunners to keep the Toffees players under control.

    I am really looking forward to the game, but I do not feel confident despite our respective league positions, so I will plump for an Arsenal win, while secretly biting my nails to the quick! 😜

  • TA,

    I watched the vid expecting to laugh at something silly, but the guy who slowly moved into the dance music and belatedly stopped after the music, was absolutely brilliant, and unlike the bored (?) audience I watched it again.

    Must be me! 👍

  • Haha Eris, RA, I have it from a reliable source that Mesut uses this video as his final preparation for on-pitch dancing 😉 And we need him to dance his way to the goal a few times today!

  • Okay, no Kos no Xhaka – not even on the bench. Key is for Big Sok to stay fit and organise the defence. Have full trust in Elneny covering for Xhaka; Guendouzi will have a big test today. Up-front we have bite with Ozil, Mkhi, Laca, but we need the full backs to play a very balanced role. COTA!

  • Everton XI: Pickford, Keane, Zouma, Digne, Coleman, Gomes, Sigurdsson, Gueye, Bernard, Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison.

    Arsenal XI: Leno, Sokratis, Elneny, Monreal, Mustafi, Mkhitaryan, Ozil, Maitland-Niles, Kolasinac, Guendouzi, Lacazette

  • They do have a strong looking back 4 and midfield (in terms of physical power) and it looks like it will be a hard day at the office for a loan striker; but Laca thrives in such situations and I am glad Emery hasn’t started with Auba for this one. He can come on later to cause damage.

    A bit worried for the midfield without Aaron and Xhaka though; at least the former is on the bench and is hopefully fit enough for a few minutes. Big game for Elneny. We’ll need all hands to the pump. Score a few early to kill off the fans’ spirit.

    Well, COYG!!!

  • Looks like Phil Jagielka has had to come on to replace Keane who was injured in the warm up, or so I think. That should give Laca someone to exploit.

  • Morning all, and thanks for your preview PE!
    It’s the odd occasion where I felt that Auba should be in the reserves– and you switched it up on me. Well, here we go…

    Go Gunners!


  • What were the odds on Jagielka (who wasn’t billed to start) getting the first goal here? This game is an indication of why many were concerned at the number of Away games we would be playing in the run in, given that the officials and the home fans all weigh in to create a very nervous situation for teams like us.

    Everton has frustrated us in many ways but the Ref hasn’t penalized a lot of their malfeasance for reasons best known to him; the throw in taken by Digne for their goal should have been retaken as his foot has crossed the line and he’s done it more than once with no retribution. I thought Mkhi should have played for from the right side as Ozil is a mere passenger defensively; not doing enough to support Am-N, who is yet to cover himself in any glory.

    I am confident if we can be more cohesive in midfield and give our forward men something to go for, we can get a goal or two; rather rich considering Pickford hasn’t made a save that half.

    Auba, Ramsey, Iwobi to change things.

  • It gets worse for us. Sokratis will be on a 2 game suspension for that yellow card for that unnecessary foul on Calver-Lewin. Koscielny isn’t even on the bench today and you start to get the enormity of the task ahead. Maybe, a few will start to appreciate Xhaka.

  • We are not getting anything from midfield as Elneny and Guendouzi do not have any chemistry between them, making them both look poor. Ozil is coming too deep (he has too) to make things happen. We can still do this but would take a draw now.

  • Well that puts us back down to earth. Missing both Xhaka and Torreira cost us imo. I know it is my favourite theme this season, but there you go. We were too weak in midfield and Emery’s second half ‘solutions’ did not have much effect. More energy and drive but we still did not boss the midfield and had to keep going wide, where we were not strong enough either. Also really missed (a) Giroud today. Ah well, best to forget this one and hope that both Xhaka and Torreira will be available to face the next few games.

  • Everton were just too physical for us today and I felt it will be so when I saw the team sheet. Gomez and Gueye were always going to eat up Guendouzi, Ozil and Elneny. Maitland-Niles will not be too happy with his contribution (or lack of it) today.

    The home side, to be fair, have been on the up lately, keeping 4 clean sheets in their last 5 games, beating Chelsea 2-0 at home, last time out. Maybe, I am making excuses but they seemed more motivated than we were. Back to the drawing board then, it is. We stay 4th and miss our chance to make the game in hand count.

  • When I watch a game like that, it seems impossible to believe a team playing so well at home can be so poor in the first game away for some time.

    Was it the fault of the players? Hmmm, yes and no. They appeared to be all at sea, not communicating with each other and resorting to back flicks, first time passing to …….. the opposition, and being beaten to the ball, or being out-tackled.

    And yet — I felt they were trying — not successfully, but they did at least give the impression of trying to stem Everton.

    The problem is that in any team a poor performance by one player can be carried and a draw would still be possible, two players having a bad time makes the possibility of coming away with a draw unlikely, and three players having an off day makes the inevitable happen.

    So, did 3 or more players have a bad day which would make yesterday’s result inevitable?

    I would suggest the answer to that is Yes. Who were they?

    Allowing for the subjectivity of these assessments, I think Mailand-Niles had a bit of a stinker. Mikhitarian had another game to forget, and although I think he is a ‘trier’, it seems to me Elneny was not at the races, and Guendouzi is still not back to his best.

    I know that is 4 underperforming players, not 3, but frankly no one in the team, other than Iwobi, looked anything like the expected standard, making the result no surprise.

    Emery has a lot of work to do to bring the team to a successful top 4 finish this season, and I do not think he will succeed.

  • To answer your query to me below PE (and I did answer but my response vanished into space)

    Kev that’s prolific by the young Balogun. There was a famous Nigrian striker Tesilimin Balogun who was nicknamed “Thunder Bott” for his ferocious shots by the British press when a Nigerian team toured the UK in 1949 (first time). How does Folarin score his own goals?

  • Folacin is a very powerful, you could almost say ‘old fashioned’ centre forward PE, he can lash in the goals with both feet and his forehead, he’s very quick, very strong and if I’m any judge, looks the kind of young player who could make an early impact, being only 17, that could be within the next 18 months or so. He reminds me a bit of Mark Hateley, Cyril Regis and John Radford.

    Nketiah needs a loan but has a lot of talent, John-Jules has come on really well this season and is another goal scorer from our academy who could make an impression but Balogun looks the best of the three.

  • Wow! Kev, where did you unearth that story from? Very impressive in its detail and came with videos and photos too. The British do keep records well. You are starting to become an Arsenal-Nigeria Afficionado. Thanks for that one.

  • I have seen clips of Folarin Balogun and I agree with you he is so e9ne who just needs the trust of a manager for a season, to blossom into a feared striker. John-Jules, Amaechi and Bukayo Saka look to be great prospects for the first team as well.

    However, I like Nketiah and believe he will fit in if he gets a run in the side.

  • Sorry guys.. was busy in another country last week so couldn’t comment here.
    Gutted about our loss, and the difference playing at home and away is just too huge.

    Anyway, we have a chance to redeem ourselves at home to the team from Naples, which drew their league game at the weekend. Let’s do the job lads! COYG!!!

  • Hey there fellas, anybody around?… Maybe watching some CL football?… Ajax-Juve for Total (perhaps?), ManU-Barca for the rest of us?…

    I’m working on a preview for the Napoli match, if you’re interested, TA… Though, I’d argue it’s not overly positive…

    Whoa, Ajax go level from the 2nd half kickoff…

  • Kev, …. Folarin must be the real deal…. powerful, both feet, head, quick and strong. I will seek him out. Thanks.

  • Kev ….. that an exiting package of the Nigerian tourist team of 1949. One of the youngest player in the squad came back with another British inspired nickname “Diamond-Toe-Baby-Anieke”. He was toeing the ball with his bare feet!

  • Matches finish level in Holland and “only” with the one away goal up in Manchester. Nothing too hopeless for the home teams, I guess…

    Anyhow, TA, lemme know, it’s just about ready to go… (Or, better yet, you could go in and add a photo or two and publish it yourself…)

    On the other hand, I don’t want to step on anybody’s feet–esp. not (Diamond-Toe?) Pony Eye’s…
    If you’ve got a preview maybe that should be the one that gets published… (Or maybe TA can figure a way for both to coexist, mine is hardly a “preview,” more just a big picture opinion piece from someone who hasn’t been following all that closely as of late)…

    Anyhow, something will happen, I’m sure…

  • That Reading keeper played a big part in a couple of the goals, though. But, they all count.

  • No,no HT, it would hurt stepping on my Diamond Toe. Actually I have nothing for the Napoli match. Looking forward to your preview.

  • Kev, the boy Balogun (pronounciation closer to Balogu) is so impressive. He obviously is also a “conscious” goal-scorer …. sees the goal ahead of his placement shots (remember the great Brazillian Romario). Calm in front of goal.

    Our Academy look poised to play a major role in our 1st team’s regeneration in the next couple of years. I can just picture a scintillating team of players like Iwobi, M-Niles, Nelson, ESR, Balogun ….. ……….. …… (Kev, the blanks are for you to fill).👍

  • Also developing players PE, who may not be quite good enough for our 1st team but are good enough to sell and generate funds that we can use in the transfer market, it’s a policy that Chelsea use and I’ve heard we want to copy.

    But yeah, Medley, Ballard, Thompson, Burton, Matt Smith and Greenwood, are all very promising youngsters, whilst the Arsenal U16’s are ripping it up at that level, so there’s more talent in the pipeline.

    PE, Eris, it’s the way for us in the foreseeable future, Emery had an eye at developing talent at Seville and even at PSG where he developed Rabiot despite money be no object at that club.

    The Kroenkes are never going to finance Arsenal to any sustainable success, even within FFP, their attention is focused of LA Rams (Stan) and basketball (Josh) so it’s down to Raul and co to work within our restricted budget against Man City etc and that’ll mean our Academy playing a major role in team building.

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