Everton have been impressive in recent months after bouncing back from a slow start to the season. They face Arsenal on the back of a draw against Bolton during mid-week, thanks to Jermain Beckford's 94th minute equalizer for the Merseyside club. Everton's home form will also be a worry for Arsenal as they have lost only once in 6 games at the Goodison Park when Newcastle visited in September.
An inability to score goals has been a worry for Everton manager, David Moyes, who saw his side pass off many opportunities to test Bolton keeper Jussi Jaskalainen during mid-week. He revealed his thoughts of resorting to long balls to add to the goal tally.
He said, I might go and start crashing the ball into the box, do it that way. It doesn't really matter what you do between the boxes - it is what happens in the boxes.
Obviously people want to see a brand of football which they think is the right way to do things, and over the years in England there has been a lot of criticism of the long ball.
But at the end of the day, if you get the ball in the box and knock it down and score goals, then it wins you games. At the moment our football is great up to the box but we can't seem to alternate our play.
In the past we have had people like Duncan Ferguson who we could maybe have brought on and done something. So we are a bit limited in what we have got in that respect. We have to keep crafting and passing and finding a way of scoring.''
On the daunting task of Arsenal, Moyes said, They are a very good attacking side with lots of options in their squad. I think they will come and do what Arsenal do.
But I think we have played quite well against them in the last few games, although obviously the first one last season wasn't the case (a 6-1 thrashing). It is a game that over the years I think has been quite close.''
Arsenal have been a confusing side, so far this season. One day they pull of master class victories, like the 3-0 demolition of Manchester City, while on another they lose to newly promoted sides, like West Brom and Newcastle last week. They come to Goodison on the back of an impressive performance at Molineux, where Chamakh's brace ensured a 2-0 victory for the gunners.
Their manager, Arsene Wenger, described how this season is the most open he has ever played a part in.
He said, This season is by far the most open I have experienced. If you look at some teams who are in the middle of the table, the quality of the teams they have, it is quite frightening.
It will be very interesting until the end and as I said many times the team who can get together all the difference ingredients needed in every single game for the longest will win it.
At the moment, Chelsea has a good advantage but apart from Chelsea everybody looks to have a chance, but also looks certain not to be in the top four.''
Wenger went on, I am convinced we have the potential and have the right spirit, we have shown that again against Wolves on Wednesday night. We go to Everton where we will want to show a similar commitment that we have at Wolves.''
Team News -
Everton are without Marouane Fellaini for three matches after he was sent off against Bolton on Wednesday. John Heitinga could return from the knee problem that kept him out in midweek, while the fit-again Jack Rodwell is in contention to start. Anichebe (knee), Barkley (leg) and Osman (ankle) will play no part through injury.
Arsenal are hopeful Kieran Gibbs can play a part at Goodison after recovering from his recent knee injury. Laurent Koscielny's suspension means Johan Djourou will deputise.
Almunia (elbow), Diaby (ankle), Frimpong (knee), Ramsey (broken leg), Vermaelen (Achilles) are all out injured.
It will be an open encounter, with many chances. Spanish artistry will be on show, with Everton relying on Mikel Arteta, while Arsenal skipper Cesc Fabregas carries their hopes. Everton's tough home form and Arsenal's inconsistency means this is a tough fixture to call. A 1-1 draw remains the safe option.