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Everton came racing out of the blocks this season with four consecutive victories, before a poor spell that saw them win just one of seven games.
However, they’ve recovered well with back-to-back victories over Chelsea and Leicester, accompanied by clean sheets, as they led at both half-time and full-time in each encounter.
The Toffees are certainly in a much better place than their visitors and sit a massive 10 places higher in the table.
The Gunners have made their worst start to a season in nearly half a century and Mikel Arteta has actually won more cup matches (14) than league games (13) from his 50 at the helm.
In fact, Arsenal are just W1-D2-L6 in the top flight since mid-October as they failed to score in six of these games, while they’re without a win at all in six, and must now additionally cope without suspended defender Gabriel Magalhaes.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s equalizer last time out against Southampton was his first goal in six appearances too, but though the Gabon striker clearly hasn’t been at his best this season, he’s not exactly been helped out by a lack of service.
Mesut Ozil’s creativity could have helped matters but the German remains completely frozen out of the picture, and only the three tams occupying the relegation zone have scored fewer goals than the Gunners this term.
Mikel Arteta has placed a clear emphasis on making Arsenal tougher to break down during his 12 months in charge. Although the goals have dried up, defensively they’ve been much better and only four teams (Tottenham, Man City, Chelsea and West Ham) have conceded fewer goals per game this season.
Under 2.5 Goals
As a consequence, Arsenal have had the lowest-scoring matches of any team so far and under 2.5 goals looks worth getting behind, especially given Everton’s past four matches have all gone under that threshold with a combined six strikes across them.
Moreover, three of four head to heads over the past two seasons have seen fewer than three goals, with the two clashes at Goodison Park seeing a goalless stalemate and a 1-0 win for the Toffees.
Arteta must be exasperated by his side’s lack of discipline and the Gunners have now suffered three red cards in their past five league games. Arsenal had been known for years as a soft touch, but perhaps it’s not surprising that there’s a spikier attitude under the Spaniard.
Indeed, 0.7% of all Premier League red cards have been handed to Arteta or teams managed by him, while since his first game in charge, the seven red cards dished out to Arsenal is four more than to any other side.
Everton +0 Asian Handicap
Everton have hardly been a clean team this season either, with Jordan Pickford’s reckless challenge on Virgil van Dijk the standout memory.
The England number one actually avoided a booking of any kind for that challenge but his club side still sit bottom of the fair play table this season, and with 14 yellow cards handed out across the past three head to heads, it’s worth keeping an eye on booking points in this clash too.