Everton vs Arsenal: Three key battles on the pitch by SE
Arsenal visiting Goodison Park this weekend should bring us some intriguing one-on-one battles on the pitch, which, more importantly, could go on to decide who reigns superior at the end of 90 minutes. Here are three key battles to look forward to:
Mertesacker/Koscielny vs Lukaku
Everton’s new signing should, in all probability, lead the line for the Toffees. Last season, in the corresponding fixture, Lukaku played on the Right-Wing, and it proved to be an astute piece of tactic from Martinez, as Lukaku posed serious problems for Monreal, with his pace and power acting as the lynchpins to Everton’s first and second goals.
Tomorrow, however, Lukaku could get to play through the middle, which means one of Arsenal’s Center-Halves will have the job of marking the buccaneering Belgian. Expect Koscielny, who’s a lot more mobile than Mertesacker, to pick up Lukaku, and this should be one great battle to witness. Lukaku can drop deep into midfield, at times, which will not make Koscielny’s job any easier, as he would need to keep an eye on the 21-year old throughout.
Mesut Ozil vs Gareth Barry
The German playmaker is expected to return to action against Everton, which would be hugely welcomed by Wenger and the whole of Arsenal. I don’t think Ozil will play as Arsenal’s No.10, with Wenger shifting to a more dynamic 4-3-3 system this summer. Ozil could get to play on either wing, more so on the left, and drift in to do layoffs or even have a shot on goal, if the chance presents itself.
Gareth Barry, former Manchester City midfielder, will be tasked with looking after Ozil. And, the Englishman, having played this Defensive Midfielder role his entire career, would want to make it disconcerting for the German by hustling and harrying him incessantly. What could work against Ozil, though, is that he may find it tough to be at his best in his first game back, after a two month layoff; On the other hand, Barry is indefatigable, and it could come down to fitness of both men. Unlike Lukaku vs Koscielny, this won’t be a battle of pace and power, though.
Alexis Sanchez vs Leighton Baines
It would be the first time that Sanchez plays in a match of this magnitude, after moving from Barcelona to London. The Chilean was particularly impressive during the European night on Tuesday, as he single-handedly sought to win it for Arsenal. The way he ran, with the ball at his feet, was a sight to behold. And – had it not been for some last ditch tackling from Besiktas’ defenders – Sanchez could have harnessed his incisive runs into the box, with a lot more venom.
However, tomorrow, he would have to do a lot more than what he did on Tuesday night, as he could be confronted by one of the reputed Left-Backs in the world, Leighton Baines. The Englishman might not have the pace that Chilean has, in abundance, but Baines is renowned for his immaculate positioning, and it will be up to Sanchez to test out England Left-Back’s credentials, as the best Left-Back in the country.
Sanchez vs Baines will be one great battle, as both of them render their respective sides, with more or less the same utility: Crossing, set-pieces, and the stamina to keep running around.
Albeit it’s difficult to forecast whether the match could be decided on the basis of the aforementioned trio of battles; there is a distinct possibility that these three battles could impact the match on a serious note.