Friday EPL NBC Sports Network Preview: Everton versus Arsenal.
Everton visits Arsenal at Emirates Stadium on the NBC Sports Network at 3 PM ET in a battle of two teams fighting to qualify for European competitions next season.
Arsenal is unbeaten in four straight matches and ten of their last twelve games across all competitions. They last played on April 18th, where they settled for a 1-1 draw at home against Fulham. The Gunners fell behind at the 59th-minute mark from a Cottagers penalty kick. Eddie Nketiah salvaged a point for his team by scoring in the seventh minute of extra time just before the final whistle. That result was the team’s third draw in their last six matches.
The Gunners begin Matchweek 33 in ninth place in the English Premier League with 46 points. They are nine points behind Chelsea and West Ham in their tie in fourth place with 55 points. The top-four positions in the EPL table likely qualify for the UEFA Champions League next season. Only the top three teams qualify for the Champions League if Chelsea wins the Champions League title and Arsenal wins the Europa League titles, yet both teams finish outside the top-four in the EPL. Winning those titles earns an automatic qualifier for next year’s Championship League, and the Champions League can only accept a maximum of five teams from the English Premier League. Seven teams qualify for European competition with the advent of the new Europa Conference League. Arsenal is four points behind Tottenham for seventh place in the EPL.
Manager Mikel Arteta may have his ambitions focused on winning the Europa League. The Gunners’ first leg showdown at Villarreal in the Europa League semifinals is next Thursday.
Arsenal is dealing with some impactful injuries. Forward Alexandre Lacazette is out with a hamstring injury. Fellow forward Pierre-Emerick Aubemeyang is recovering from a bout of Malaria he contracted during the international break with the Gabon national team. The duo has combined to score 22 goals in league play this season. Arteta is likely to go young with his starting XI, with Gabriel Martinelli joining Nketiah, Emile Smith Rowe, and Bukayo Saka up top.
Everton is winless in their last six completions after a 2-2 draw at home against Tottenham last Friday. Gylfi Sigurdsson's brace matched the two goals from the Spurs’ Harry Kane to earn the third straight draw for his team.
The Meyerside Giants' focus is the English Premier League after being eliminated in the FA Cup quarterfinals to Manchester City by a 2-0 score on March 20th. Everton is in eighth place in the EPL table, six points behind Chelsea and West Ham for fourth place. The Toffees do have one game in hand with a makeup match with Aston Villa still needing to fit into the remaining schedule.
Everton started the season fast under manager Carlo Ancelotti. They took 13 of a possible 15 points in their first five matches. Injuries ravaged the team to expose the lack of depth on the roster, and these problems continue to persist. Dominic Calvert-Lewin has missed the last two league matches with a groin injury, but he expects to return to the pitch this afternoon. He leads the team with 14 goals in the English Premier League this season.
The Toffees won the reverse fixture between these two teams with a 2-1 victory at Goodison Park on December 19th. BookMaker lists Arsenal as a -0.50 goal line favorite with the total set at 2.5.
Computer prediction: Arsenal 2 Everton 0