3 Key Battles That Could Decide Saturday’s Clash Between Arsenal and Everton

Arsenal will do battle Everton at the Emirates Stadium in Saturday’s late kick off looking to re-establish some much needed Premier League momentum.

The Gunners are woefully out of touch with the top four, and trail Chelsea by eight points in the race for Champions League qualification.

Everton overcame Leicester in the week to end a run of six league games without a win. Sam Allardyce will be looking to keep his players motivated to push on and secure a 7th place finish.

Here are 3 key battles to watch out for in Saturday’s clash:

3. Mesut Ozil vs Wayne Rooney

The encounter at the Emirates Stadium will pit together two of the most influential players in Premier League history.

The Gunners look to creative machine Mesut Ozil to fashion a fair bulk of their chances, with the German having been contributed 53 assists in his four-and-half Premier League seasons in north London.

Arsenal’s chief creator is likely to play in front of a midfield duo, and will be expected to orchestrate the chances for exciting attacking duo Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

He could pair up against former Manchester United legend Wayne Rooney. The Evertonian returned to his boyhood club in the summer, and has enjoyed a decent first season back at Goodison Park.

No longer quick enough to play as the main striker, Rooney will act as a midfield foil, looking to break forward with regularity, but also support his teammates defensively.

2. Nacho Monreal vs Theo Walcott

Arsene Wenger made a huge decision when deciding to let Theo Walcott leave the Emirates Stadium, after over a decade at the club.

The winger made almost 400 appearances for the Gunners during that time, but dramatically fell out of favour this season, forcing him to look for first-team football elsewhere.

He joined Everton for £20m during the January transfer window, and has kicked his Toffees career off with a bang, scoring twice and providing an assist in his two Premier League games for the club.

Walcott will start on the right wing, coming up against former teammate Nacho Monreal. The left-back has been in great form himself, scoring three goals in the month of January.

He will look to provide attacking support for the Gunners when he can, but must be wary of Walcott’s blistering pace on the counter attack.

1. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang vs Michael Keane

All Gunners eyes will be focusing on debutante Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. The Gabon striker arrived on Deadline Day from Borussia Dortmund for a club record £55m, and is likely to be thrown straight into the limelight on Saturday afternoon.

The striker had an incredible scoring record during his time in the Bundesliga, and leaves Germany having scored 98 goals in 144 league matches.

The controversial 28-year old has missed recent action due to disciplinary problems, but should be fit enough to start if Arsene Wenger decides to use his marquee signing from the off.

Lining up against him is likely to be England central defender, Michael Keane. The former Burnley man joined Everton for £25m at the start of the season, but has struggled for form this season, losing his place in the team to youngster Mason Holgate in recent months.

Now back in the side, Keane will look to impress Sam Allardyce once more by keeping the Gunners new striker as quiet as possible.

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