Two soccer teams still adjusting to the demands of their new coaches meet when Arsenal host Everton at the Emirates Stadium in London, England (11am ET Sunday).
Unai Emery is the man tasked with succeeding the legend of Arsene Wenger at Arsenal, while Marco Silva is the newest occupant of the Everton bench after they went through two permanent coaches and one caretaker last season. Both have had ups and downs so far.
The fixture list certainly wasn’t kind to Emery, whose side were handed matches at home to Premier League holders Manchester City and away to Chelsea on the first two weekends of the season. Two defeats followed, but consecutive victories over West Ham, Cardiff and Newcastle have since eased the tension and given him a solid base to work from.
Getting Arsenal back into a position where they can seriously challenge for the title will not be an easy task. The club underwent a slow decline under Wenger, as first and second-place finishes became thirds and fourths and finally fifth then sixth. After two years out of the Champions League, the first aim for Emery is to get the Gunners into the top four.
Manchester City and Liverpool are highly likely to take two of those places, while Chelsea have started well and despite some early struggles, Arsenal’s North London rivals Tottenham Hotspur remain a good team. After finishing second last season, Manchester United will also expect to be in the mix. The competition at the top end of the Premier League table is stiff.
On paper, Arsenal’s squad is probably the sixth best in the league, with summer transfer dealings having rectified some but certainly not all of their deficiencies. They do have the chance to get some early momentum going with a series of five winnable fixtures before they face Liverpool at the beginning of November. Anything upwards of 12 points from those matches would put them in a very solid position to compete for a top-four slot.
Everton are the first opponents in that run and are a team that Arsenal have had a lot of joy against in recent years. The Gunners have won five of the last six league meetings between the sides and twice scored five in 5-1 and 5-2 victories home and away last season.
Those were disappointing results in a disappointing season for the Toffees, who had gone into the campaign with ambitions of building on their seventh place finish the year before and closing the gap to the top six on the back of heavy summer spending. Instead, they started poorly and cycled through three coaches in a tumultuous campaign. That they still finished eighth was a result of the mediocrity of others rather than their own strength.
Marco Silva is the man tasked with improving things and producing some sort of return on the eye-watering $340 million Everton have spent over the last three transfer windows. His side have not made a particularly convincing start, with one win, three draws and one defeat to date. That defeat came in a mistake-ridden 1-3 loss at home to West Ham last weekend, after which Silva admitted that his side had simply not been good enough.
Silva is a coach who always seeks to push numbers forward in a bold attempt to create overloads in attacking areas, but that often results in his team walking a bit of a defensive tightrope. Matches involving his Hull and Watford sides averaged over three goals per match and that pattern has continued at Everton, with his side scoring eight and conceding nine during their opening five matches of the campaign for an average of 3.4 goals per match.
Given that Arsenal’s matches have averaged 3.8 goals to date and that the last three encounters between the two teams have each seen four or more goals, Sunday’s match can certainly be expected to be a high-scoring affair. Arsenal are the more likely victors but there are still just a few too many doubts surrounding them at this stage of the season to suggest backing them at the available odds. Back goals instead.
Our Preview’s Arsenal vs. Everton Picks & Betting Predictions
Having studied the odds and options available from the U.S. betting sites on this English soccer game, here is our pick:
- Bet on over 3.5 goals being scored in the game @ +110 with Intertops.