Arsenal can enhance their position as Premier League title contenders by moving to the top of the table if they manage to get a result against Everton at the Emirates in the late kickoff on Saturday.

The Toffees sit seven places below second-positioned Arsenal in the standings and as the team are without a win in two, an upset in North London will keep the club on track for Europe. 


In recent seasons, it has become the norm for Arsene Wenger's side to qualify for the Champions League and perhaps pick up a domestic trophy, but they have not been serious title contenders since their last triumph in the 2003-04 season.

In this campaign, however, the Gunners seem to have a more balanced squad, and with quality players like Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil on form, and add in Chelsea's precarious position in the lower sections of the table, perhaps Arsenal can nab their 14th league crown.

After a crushing 2-0 defeat to West Ham United on the opening day of the season, Arsenal have been almost faultless in terms of results. The North London outfit have dropped just four points out of a possible 24 available due to a goalless draw against Liverpool and a 2-0 defeat to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

Arsenal have won six of their last nine league games, and they head into this weekend's fixture on the back of a three-game winning streak following triumphs over Leicester City, Manchester United and Watford.

The team's home form has been particularly impressive of late, given that they convincingly defeated United by three goals, two of which were scored by Sanchez, and secured a shock 2-0 win over Bayern Munich in the Champions League in midweek.

The momentum is certainly in Arsenal's side of the pitch, but it could have been a completely different story had super-sub Olivier Giroud and Ozil not scored against Bayern on Tuesday as they were staring at the exit door of the Champions League prior to the match.

From an attacking sense, Theo Walcott has been thriving in the striker role that he has yearned for for some time, while Giroud, despite being relegated to the bench, has managed to score five goals in six games.

Since September, Arsenal have managed to score 13 goals in five league games, with Walcott scoring two, Giroud three and Sanchez six.

Defensively, the Gunners have also improved as Petr Cech has the best saves to shots ratio (82.1%) of any goalkeeper in the top flight so far, and is just two clean sheets away from reaching David James's all-time record of 169.

Should Arsenal get the win on Saturday, they will move to the summit of the Premier League for 24 hours.

Recent form: WWLWWW

Recent form (all competitions): WWLWWW 


There has been a sombre mood around Everton in the last few days following the death of former manager Howard Kendall, who passed away at the age of 69 in hospital on Saturday.

Kendall won the league title twice, as well as an FA Cup and a European Cup Winners' Cup during his first spell in charge of the Toffees between 1981 and 1987.

The news broke just hours before Roberto Martinez's side took on Premier League heavyweights Manchester United, who ran out 3-0 winners at Goodison Park - one of the goalscorers being Everton graduate Wayne Rooney.

Following a period of mourning for their legendary manager, Everton will get back to work on the pitch as they face a difficult test against Arsenal.

Martinez's men have only managed to scoop up three victories out of nine in the top flight so far this season, but they sit in ninth place in the league following four draws and two defeats, which came against both Manchester clubs.

Everton were handed a tough opening fixture list with games against Southampton, Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur, Chelsea and Liverpool, but they have a kinder run of games once they get Arsenal out of the way.

Trips to West Ham United and Bournemouth, as well as home matches against Sunderland and Aston Villa, are up next for the Merseyside outfit, and if they fail to get something from Arsenal, there is a sense that points will come their way in the games just mentioned.

Recent form: DWDWDL

Recent form (all competitions): WDWWDL 

Team News

Arsenal have suffered a big blow ahead of this game as midfielder Aaron Ramsey is expected to be on the sidelines for around a month after picking up a hamstring injury in Tuesday's victory over Bayern Munich.

The Welshman seems to be the only recent casualty as Jack Wilshere, Danny Welbeck and Tomas Rosicky all remain out of contention, as does goalkeeper David Ospina.

There is a question mark over whether Sanchez will start given Wenger's indication that the Chile international needs a rest, but considering the attacker's scoring prowess, Wenger may give his player the nod.

Walcott has pushed Giroud to the bench due to his decent form but following the Frenchman's 77th minute goal against Bayern, the 29-year-old, who has netted four goals in as many games against Everton in all competitions, could be picked ahead of his teammate.

For the visitors, Martinez confirmed today that Tom Cleverley has a chance of returning to the side after having a run-out in the Under-21 team in midweek, but if deemed ready, the midfielder may just be handed a spot on the bench.

The same goes for Steven Pienaar and Bryan Oviedo, while Leighton Baines is close to returning following an ankle injury. 


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