Seamus Coleman is in line for his first start of the new season
In comfortably breaking Everton's Premier League points record in his first year in charge, Roberto Martinez set the bar very high in a number ways for this season, not least with some big performances and handsome results. The stunning 3-0 demolition of Arsenal last April, with the tactical masterstroke that underpinned it and the sheer collective desire of players and fans alike to deliver a statement to the Blues' closest rivals for a top-four spot at the time, was one such game and the same fixture has arrived very quickly in 2014-15.
In terms of timing, it's unlikely either team will be thrilled to be facing the other in only the second match of the campaign but Arsenal, having already played the Community Shield and a Champions League qualifier on top of their opening day fixture against Crystal Palace, might feel the better prepared.
Everton, though still reeling perhaps from the loss of Ross Barkley, may feel they will have benefited from the opportunity to focus on the training ground at Finch Farm rather than travel to Turkey to grind out a 0-0 draw with Besiktas like Arsene Wenger's men. And they, too, will have to make an adjustment due to injury after Mikel Arteta sprained an ankle in that match, although there is plenty of depth there to cushion the blow.
The Gunners won their opening Premier League match against Palace but despite all the glittering talent in their ranks, including new signing Alexis Sanchez, they looked less than convincing and needed an injury-time winner from Aaron Ramsey to grab the three points. That bodes well for the Blues who will know they stand an excellent chance of chalking up their first win of the season if they can tighten up at the back.
Two sloppily-conceded goals denied Everton three points they largely deserved at Leicester but a home game in a late-afternoon kick-off in front of a full house should provide the extra shot in the arm needed for the players to raise their game and push through any of the second-half fatigue that was evident at King Power Stadium last weekend.
Though Barkley was a key component in a swashbuckling Everton performance in April's victory over Arsenal, he was not included in the starting XI by his manager that day but was introduced after just 10 minutes following an injury to Leon Osman. Martinez will have to do without him completely this time around as he mulls his team selection and strategy against foes who will be wary of the three-man forward line he deployed against them to such devastating effect last time.
Rumours that Romelu Lukaku is a doubt through an unspecified injury have seemingly been dispelled so the assumption is that he will start and all eyes will be on what sort of role he is asked to play given how effective he was raiding in from the flank in the Blues' win in April. Given that the Belgian can be unstoppable on his day, Martinez could have the audiacity to line up his forward line the same way and have the same effect but Lukaku's lack of match sharpness might still be an issue.
Also expected to start, despite Martinez's coyness in his pre-match press conference on Thursday morning, is Seamus Coleman who showed that he has recovered from a minor hamstring problem by coming on as a late substitute against Leicester last week. His pace, energy and defensive prowess were sorely missed against the Foxes, underlining just how important he is to the way Everton currently play.
He will likely replace John Stones in the back four, while Kevin Mirallas, another substitute who saw action last weekend, is a good bet to start in place of Aiden McGeady on the right with Steven Naismith continuing in the forward line. Both Mirallas and Coleman got further tune-up minutes in a behind-closed-doors friendly against Fleetwood earlier in the week which should increase their readiness for their first starts of the new campaign. Darron Gibson has been passed fit but the Blues could be otherwise unchanged.
As it was a few months ago, a win over an Arsenal side which has been strengthened over the summer, would be a massive result and would extend Everton's unbeaten run against the Gunners — a team against which they still have a poor record since 1992 — to five matches.
Unlike last time, Wenger will have the likes of Aaron Ramsey and Mezut Ozil available, two keys to his midfield, and while Theo Walcott remains sidelined with injury, the talented Sanchez is, potentially, a superior option on the right flank, albeit one still feeling his way into the Premier League.
Again, that means the onus will be on Everton keeping things watertight at the back and starting with a high tempo going forward. They had Arsenal on the ropes by half-time in April before finishing them off with a knockout blow in the second half and you get the feeling a similarly intense first hour is going to be required this time if they are to repeat the feat.
Referee: Kevin Friend
Kick off: 5.30pm
Full coverage: ToffeeWeb Match Reports
Reader Comments (85)
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1 Posted 22/08/2014 at 16:59:34
HereÂs my team to start tomorrow:
Howard; Coleman, Stones, Distin, Baines; McCarthy. Barry; Pienaar, Mirallas, Atsu; Lukaku.
2 Posted 22/08/2014 at 19:48:37
Despite our strong home record last season we have lost two of our last three games at Goodison conceding six goals.
We need Seamus Coleman fit so badly.
We need to get off to a strong start with same kind of tempo and intensity that walloped Arsenal in April, we need to scare Arsenal under the evening air at Goodison Park.
We need to start holding on to a lead more doggedly.
We need to cut out conceding sloppy schoolboy goals when under little pressure.
We DEFINITELY need to stop conceding goals from setpieces, corners, free-kicks etc, it's becoming so frustrating because it always used to be one of our strong points but the last two years it's crept in almost alarmingly unnoticed and reared its head again last weekend at Leicester.
Finally we need our big players to have big games...that means not carrying a below par Romelu or Kevin Mirallas if he starts.
Big players win you big games.
3 Posted 22/08/2014 at 19:51:07
Personally, I'm quite excited by the partnership of Lukaku and Naismith. Naismith doesn't have the technical ability of Barkley but he does have excellent movement around the box, works hard and most importantly, he scores goals. I'm confident that if Naismith starts on a regular basis his goal tally will easily hit double figures by end of season.
I expect us to line-up like this:
Coleman Jags Distin Baines
Mirallas Naismith Pienaar
Hopefully, Distin and Jags 'horror show' last week won't be repeated.
4 Posted 22/08/2014 at 20:26:10
That for me would give Arsenal something to think about, yeah it won't happen but would be nice. Besic I feel has the ability to create behind Lukaku and would link up well.
5 Posted 22/08/2014 at 20:42:22
The Jags and Distin "horror show" has been all too frequent over the past two season's sadly.
I don't mind admitting that just seeing those two at the back at times has had me shaking, every time time we concede a corner you almost feel it's like conceding a penalty such is the lack of assured leadership when defending.
Its up to one of our defenders to stand up and start barking orders out, ala Dave Watson, John Terry for example.
What gets me is why when defending corners don't our players run and attack the ball rather then allowing the opposition players to do just that while all of our players remain static for a standing jump.
Any good defensive coach knows that you have more chance of winning a header from running and gaining momentum rather than a static standing jump.
Lets just watch how we defend corners tomorrow and study this.
6 Posted 22/08/2014 at 20:50:47
7 Posted 22/08/2014 at 20:54:53
8 Posted 22/08/2014 at 21:08:02
Earlier subs than last week if not going well. Besic, Atsu...?
9 Posted 22/08/2014 at 21:20:49
Got a good feeling about this one. Everton 2-1 Arsenal.
10 Posted 22/08/2014 at 21:24:38
We know they don't like it when you get in their faces, Wilshere/Giroud at al, off squealing like little girls to the ref.
2-1 win for us tomorrow, big game needed and coming from Rom, both goals for the big fella.
Lets do this.
11 Posted 22/08/2014 at 21:15:50
12 Posted 22/08/2014 at 21:35:46
13 Posted 22/08/2014 at 21:40:11
Coleman Jagielka Distin Baines
Mirallas Naismith Atsu
14 Posted 22/08/2014 at 21:13:59
Time for Roberto to put his three post Brazil words into action. Dynamic - Intense - Brave. Let's go for it.
15 Posted 22/08/2014 at 22:18:55
I couldn't agree with you more re Ba, a real handful... and they are there for the taking..
You take care, mate...
16 Posted 22/08/2014 at 22:23:06
I'm very excited about this kid and I think he could come on and play well in a big game.
Also hoping the crowd is raucous and gets behind the team in a major way.
17 Posted 22/08/2014 at 22:26:43
18 Posted 22/08/2014 at 22:53:29
19 Posted 22/08/2014 at 22:56:46
20 Posted 22/08/2014 at 23:02:04
21 Posted 22/08/2014 at 22:52:25
Ramsey came on for the last 10 minutes last year and looked a cut above. Arteta for me was their weak link with his lack of strength and pace, and him not playing is a blow.
I just hope we can take it to them at a high tempo, get the crowd going, get in front and keep it that way.
Hopefully weÂll get see some of AtsuÂs pace up against Monreal; McGeady for me is not a player to be relied on in big games Â– heÂs too hit and miss. Saying that, heÂll probably prove me wrong and score a whopper.
22 Posted 22/08/2014 at 23:32:08
Attack, attack, pause for a deep breath, and attack some more.
23 Posted 22/08/2014 at 23:51:13
I'll settle for any sort of win, even an undeserved one just to get some points on the board and get some momentum.
24 Posted 23/08/2014 at 01:31:56
Wenger will not set them up the same way...
25 Posted 23/08/2014 at 01:39:50
26 Posted 23/08/2014 at 02:28:37
It's early season for them too, though. So I'll stand on mine.
Attack them, attack them, attack them. They respond poorly to it.
27 Posted 23/08/2014 at 05:02:35
28 Posted 23/08/2014 at 05:21:58
29 Posted 23/08/2014 at 05:39:00
Coleman Jagielka Distin Baines
McGeady McCarthy Barry Pienaar
Yeah, boring I know, but a good team to start with. To change things around, we have Mirallas to come on in the 60th minute for Pienaar/McGeady, Atsu for McGeady/Pienaar around the 70th minute and Besic/Gibson on for Barry/McCarthy (if we are leading 2-0).
Their team would look something like:
Monreal Mertesaker Koscielny Debuchy
Oxlade Ramsey Wilshere Cazorla
Formidable looking line-up, and their wide mid-fielders are better on paper, but our full-backs are better on paper. If the crowd is up for it, we should nick it 2-1.
30 Posted 23/08/2014 at 05:52:58
31 Posted 23/08/2014 at 07:17:15
We know Arsenal will come at us and if we can counter anywhere near as well as we did against them in the first half last year, we will be in business.
Coleman a must for me, we don't want to become too predictable by relying too heavily on the left. If I thought we could win it in the first half like last year and we were able to repeat some of the "Ole" stuff we produced in the second. I'd pay twice. Can't see it happening though. This is a much better Arsenal team.
The crowd has a big part to play tonight. I'm going for an Everton win.... just!
32 Posted 23/08/2014 at 07:52:42
Glad you have noticed it too.
I had a bit of spare time one night during July so watched a re-run of the season review of 2012-13, David Moyes's final season, and I noticed it, the sheer amount of goals we shipped by hoofed corners or deep free-kicks into our box, just absolutely slaughters our defence.
I would actually like to see which team over the last few years has conceded most goals from set-pieces because I'd bet my bottom dollar we'd be near one of the worst.
The thing is as well we are totally hopeless from attacking set-pieces too, we hardly even win aerial duels yet alone score from them. It's something I hope we have worked on during the summer but judging by last weekend it seems to have started already.
Jagielka and Distin always look so jittery with the ball at their feet and not a great deal more confident when high balls come in at them.
33 Posted 23/08/2014 at 08:32:57
34 Posted 23/08/2014 at 08:53:53
35 Posted 23/08/2014 at 08:55:46
The psychology of a win over a top 4 team particularly this early in the season sends out a statement of intent, it breeds a winning mentality, an arrogance if you will, it sends out a message to Chelsea "Welcome to Goodison". If we are going to do something this season this is a marker for us.
36 Posted 23/08/2014 at 09:13:05
All the players need to be up for this and get at them from the off to have any chance. There's little chance of stopping them scoring if we try to just keep it tight at the back. Baines needs to have a good game against Sanchez and Rom needs to give their CBs a really tough game.
I am nervous of this game coming so early in the season but their players will also be rusty. Hopefully a packed and rocking GP will help to get us over the line with 3 points.
37 Posted 23/08/2014 at 09:45:44
38 Posted 23/08/2014 at 09:46:58
39 Posted 23/08/2014 at 10:18:29
However, my immediate concerns are the defence, which including last week at Leicester, and all the pre-season showings, that they have looked anything but a shadow of last years invincibility.
Tim has been a bit shaky too, but that could be down to lack of confidence, in those in front of him. Baines and Coleman are nailed on, but the Central Defensive pairing, leaves so many questions, what is our best combination?
40 Posted 23/08/2014 at 10:30:12
41 Posted 23/08/2014 at 10:39:00
42 Posted 23/08/2014 at 10:27:25
McGeady was awful against Porto but I'm hoping now he's had 6 months to get used to Prem football & now has had a pre-season under his belt that we may start to see the best of him.
He has aÂ lot of ability but has to start being consistent, he had a good first half last week, showed what's he's capable of, scored a great goal but second half he just gave the ball away. In fairness, everyone was poor second half.
An in-form player like McGeady could really make a difference to our season.
Good, strong bench with Besic, Mirallas & Atsu Â– I hope to see them all get game time today.
Different Arsenal side today, Sanchez, Ramsey etc and a strong bench. Considering the job Besic did on Messi, I wonder if RM is tempted to stick him man to man on Ramsey. Keep Ramsey quiet Â– that's half a job done there.
We're still more than capable of taking 3 points but we'll need a top performance; play like 2nd half last week...
43 Posted 23/08/2014 at 10:36:19
These two home games against tough opposition are precisely what's required to get us up to speed....3-1 with Lukaku scoring a brace. Take that, Arsene!
44 Posted 23/08/2014 at 11:05:45
45 Posted 23/08/2014 at 11:21:06
4-0. Time for another statement of intent.
46 Posted 23/08/2014 at 11:37:06
Up The Toffees!
47 Posted 23/08/2014 at 11:40:20
48 Posted 23/08/2014 at 11:43:53
49 Posted 23/08/2014 at 11:43:13
There again I suppose 'Up The Toffees' could be applied both in congratulatory and denegratory contexts.
So, very clever, you have covered both outcomes there my friend.
Not sure where a draw would fit in though.
50 Posted 23/08/2014 at 11:55:29
51 Posted 23/08/2014 at 11:57:16
52 Posted 23/08/2014 at 11:57:16
Today will be very difficult. Arsenal will probably have their three German World Cup winners available who will be really fired up and full of adrenalin. As has been mentioned, the one thing in our favour was their long trip to Turkey in midweek. A draw might not be a bad thing at the end of the day. Chelsea next week will be even more difficult, judging by the way they played against Burnley.
So would three points from the first three games be such a bad thing?
53 Posted 23/08/2014 at 12:02:50
54 Posted 23/08/2014 at 12:06:20
I worry that the intensity Roberto talks about is not yet present in our game and that Arsenal and Chelsea will punish any sloppy passing as has been evident in pre-season and at Leicester. McGeady in particular seems prone to giving the ball away in bad positions and as such my team is:
Coleman Stones Jagielka Baines
Mirallas Naismith Pienaar
55 Posted 23/08/2014 at 12:12:11
Atsu can’t play next week so let’s see him today.
56 Posted 23/08/2014 at 12:07:55
If we can get an early lead and the Old Lady starts rocking, their players won't fancy it. In the back of their minds will be last season's game. Team-wise I think Roberto might spring a surprise and start Atsu. Coleman should also be back, which in turn will hopefully bring out the best in McGeady. Ever the optimist, I'm gonna stick a fiver on us to win 4-1.
57 Posted 23/08/2014 at 13:18:16
I'd go for the same team as last week except for Coleman coming in for Stones. Bringing Atsu and Mirallas on in the second half to murder Arsenal's tiring back 4.
58 Posted 23/08/2014 at 13:21:45
Great first half, almost useless, and conceding possession all too easily second half. I know wingers quite often have this trait, but from what I've seen of him, his poor displays greatly outnumber his good ones.
As I mentioned, as have other posters, I would give Atsu a good go, bearing in mind he will not be available next game against Chelsea.
Funny feeling he will start with Pienaar, as again against Leicester, the Bainaar partnership was almost back to it's best in the first half, second half a different story.
59 Posted 23/08/2014 at 13:29:51
61 Posted 23/08/2014 at 13:34:19
62 Posted 23/08/2014 at 13:40:09
Good observation there.
What worries me, is that if this has been the case, just how many has he got left?
63 Posted 23/08/2014 at 13:41:26
64 Posted 23/08/2014 at 14:15:07
As Michael said, he likes to reward players and I think he did enough last week to stay in. Not that it would bother me if Mirallas came in.
65 Posted 23/08/2014 at 14:30:28
Coleman returning should be plus and hopefully Stones being gone from right back settles the two lads in the middle.
I think our attacking players arenÂt up to speed yet, in particular the two Belgians.
I watched the Madrid derby last night and Mandzukic is very similar to Costa, just without the pace. Lukaku would never have fit into their team with the level of work rate they put in.
66 Posted 23/08/2014 at 14:20:30
Not if that message is "You need to put in a 90 minute shift to earn a regular starting spot in this team... Aiden. One nice strike doesn't excuse you huffing and puffing like a Homebase shelf-stacker throughout the entire second half."
Mirallas on an off day will still pose more of a threat to Arsenal than McGeady.
Anyway, my major concern today is whether the mouthy, eyeball bulging, phlegm projecting prick who looks like Biffa Bacon's mutha and sits 2 seats along from us has renewed his season ticket for another year.
67 Posted 23/08/2014 at 14:33:15
68 Posted 23/08/2014 at 14:34:52
69 Posted 23/08/2014 at 14:28:57
Team today should be Howard, Coleman, Stones, Distin, Baines, Besic, McCarthy, Mirallas, Naismith, Astu, Lukaku. Lots of mobility and running is required today so Barry can have a rest. COYB.
70 Posted 23/08/2014 at 14:54:18
71 Posted 23/08/2014 at 15:14:24
72 Posted 23/08/2014 at 14:59:31
I'll be very surprised if Martinez doesn't stick with experience at the back. I fancy the team will be as Sam has it down, apart from Distin instead of Stones.
I've not a clue how the game will go, we'll probably know after the first 20 mins, I think though if we really get behind the team we could scare the living daylights out of this lot, they're not the greatest of travellers!
73 Posted 23/08/2014 at 15:37:30
74 Posted 23/08/2014 at 16:04:21
75 Posted 23/08/2014 at 16:15:03
76 Posted 23/08/2014 at 16:26:22
77 Posted 23/08/2014 at 16:28:32
78 Posted 23/08/2014 at 16:28:54
79 Posted 23/08/2014 at 16:31:34
80 Posted 23/08/2014 at 16:31:23
81 Posted 23/08/2014 at 16:32:05
82 Posted 23/08/2014 at 16:40:07
83 Posted 23/08/2014 at 16:45:54
84 Posted 23/08/2014 at 16:46:23
Coleman Stones Distin Baines
McCarthy Barry Besic
85 Posted 23/08/2014 at 17:27:41
86 Posted 23/08/2014 at 18:37:09
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