Everton v Arsenal odds, betting preview, free bets : Can Toffees replicate last season’s success?
Everton face a tricky first home game of the season as they welcome Arsenal to Goodison Park on Saturday evening.
The Toffee’s got their campaign off to a solid if unspectacular start last time out with a 2-2 draw away to newly promoted Leicester although Roberto Martinez will rue Chris Woods last-gasp equaliser which cost his side all three points.
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Everton won 3-0 when the two teams met back in April with Steven Naismith, a scorer last weekend, and Romelu Lukaku both getting on the score-sheet.
The final goal was an own-goal from Mikel Arteta, however the former Rangers midfielder won’t get a chance to atone for his mistake with injury ruling him out of the game.
Arteta is likely to be joined on the sidelines by Per Mertesacker, Lukas Podolski, linked with a move to Galatasary, and Mesut Ozil as they work their way back to match fitness after the World Cup.
Kieran Gibbs misses out with a hamstring injury while summer signing David Ospina is a week away from a return following a thigh injury. Theo Walcott is also out.
Calum Chambers is set to feature after making a promising start to life with the Gunners while Aaron Ramsey, scorer of the winner in the 2-1 win over Crystal Palace, will also feature despite being sent off in the midweek Champions league playoff draw with Turkish side Besiktas.
Everton meanwhile will have Seamus Coleman available however they will be without long-term absentee Bryan Oviedo, Arouna Kone and Ross Barkley.
The absence of Barkley is a blow for Everton with the young midfielder tipped to make an impression this season and while the rising England star faces a period out of the side, his manager does not believe it will be the five months reported in the press.
Martinez told the club website: “His knee has reacted really well to treatment.
“I don’t know where the figure of five months [in the papers] came from but obviously the extent of the injury is a little unsure at the moment because we don’t know how the next two weeks are going to develop.
“It’s a medial ligament injury and we know that Ross, in terms of the power and the strength that he has in his body, he could easily react to treatment a lot better than other players.
“The length that Ross will be out is a little uncertain at the moment and it could be anything between the eight weeks that we mentioned or a little further. Until the end of the week, or probably the next 10 days, we won’t know how the knee is progressing and how quickly Ross can be back.
“Obviously we are keeping an eye, very closely, on how that knee reacts and every time we have a real improvement we are checking that.
“At the moment his knee is in a brace and this is a very important period of rehabilitation, making sure that the ligament can be repaired in a good position. Obviously we are going to get further updates in days to come but we need to leave Ross alone and leave him to recover.”