Here are 10 things you should know about Arsenal and Everton before their Premier League clash at the Emirates Sunday afternoon.
1. Arsenal continued their fine run of form as they beat Hull City 2-0 at the Emirates on Wednesday night, with a rare goal from Nicklas Bendtner early in the game and a tidy finish from Mesut Ozil securing the points for Arsene Wenger’s side.
2. Aaron Ramsey’s reverse pass assist to Ozil on Wednesday night was perhaps the pass of the round, another shining example of the Welshman’s vision and fast-developing partnership with his German colleague. It is still within his defensive contributions that Ramsey continues to separate himself from the other leading midfielders in the league this term though. He’s won a superb 70.4% of his 81 attempted challenges, as well as 87 total defensive contributions (tackles won, blocks, clearances, interceptions).
3. Ramsey also remains the Gunner’s most accurate player in front of goal so far this term, racking up a solid 67.9% shot accuracy rate from 28 attempts. Ramsey is 11/5 with 888sport.com to score at any time on Sunday afternoon.
4. There were warning signs that Ozil is starting to kick on towards his best form again, not least his well-taken goal against Hull. He completed 72 passes in the opponent’s half during that game, the third highest in the league during the last round, at an average rate of one every 1.25 minutes.
5. Thomas Vermaelen will be desperate to try and regain his position in the starting XI for the Gunners, but the club captain continues to face an uphill challenge given the form of current centre-back pairing Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker. The pair have tackle success rates of 78.1% and 75% respectively, as well as an excellent combined total of 243 defensive contributions (tackles won, blocks, interceptions, clearances) according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.
6. Everton secured a famous 1-0 win at Old Trafford in midweek, with a late strike from Bryan Oviedo seeing Roberto Martinez achieve a notable scalp with the defeat of his predecessor in his new backyard.
7. Romelu Lukaku has quickly established himself as a key member of a young and dynamic attacking outfit being established by Martinez. The on-loan Chelsea striker has shown some great touches this year, combining his explosive power particularly well with the vision of Ross Barkley. According to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, Lukaku has the best shot-to-goal ratio of any player in the top 30 for total shots attempted. The Belgian hitman has managed to find the net on average 3.1 shots he’s had on goal this season.
8. No player in the league has been more adept at removing danger for his team this season than the Toffee’s Phil Jagielka. He’s racked up an impressive 138 clearances so far this season, helping to provide strong solidity at the back for Everton with his partner Sylvain Distin.
9. Indeed, no two players have contributed more defensively this term than Jagielka and Distin, with each compiling 189 and 184 total defensive contributions (tackles won, interceptions, clearances, blocks) respectively. For all the attacking skill of the players in front of them, without this platform the more attack-minded players in Everton’s squad would not be able to flourish as they have been this season.
10. Gerard Deulofeu has been in strong form following his arrival from Barcelona on loan, the youngster clearly keen to impress his parent club during his time in Premier League. His ability in front of goal has had the Goodison Park faithful on their feet on more than one occasion this season, the young Spaniard testing the opposition ‘keeper with 92.3% of his 13 shots on goal so far this term. Deulofeu is 15/4 to score at any time with 888sport.com.
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