Poor Richard Keys. Not only will he have to suffer a week without Chelsea, but he will also have to put up with lengthy coverage of Arsenal, as Wenger’s men welcome Everton to the Emirates in one of just two Premier League games taking place over the weekend.
Keys made his feelings clear after the victory over Aston Villa when he said Arsenal’s pursuit for fourth place was given a real boost. Today, Arsenal can take advantage of a slim fixture schedule and move within one point of league leaders Chelsea, augmenting their surge for title honours while proving Keys wrong.
Arsenal are on the march at the moment, leading the way as the leagues most in form team having taken 16 points from a possible 18. The Toffees are on a decent run themselves, going unbeaten in five straight games. When it comes to matches against Arsenal though, Everton have lost 12 out of the last 13 meetings, the latest a 6-1 drubbing at Goodison on the opening day.
Both sides have players missing at the African Cup of Nations. David Moyes’ plans for life without Joseph Yobo and Ayegbeni Yakubu, adding to his woes up front – Jo is currently suspended by the club and top goal scorer Louis Saha (12) is doubtful. Life will be made harder knowing Arsenal have kept clean sheets in their last three home games.
Wenger will prepare without Alex Song. The Cameroonian has a special gift of keeping the ball that nobody else available tonight can imitate over a full 90 minutes. Because of this, Arsenal’s central trio must be smatter, support the man in possession and keep the Merseysiders guessing.
Naturally, Abou Diaby and Aaron Ramsey are attack minded players so Wenger will not want to kill the threat, and suspicion is Denilson will be the one to hold if anybody. Andrey Arshain is fit after a minor foot injury and completing the front three should be Samir Nasri and Eduardo.
Diaby, Ramsey and Nasri have found the net on recent outings. Eduardo is the clubs hottest striker right now having scored three in his last four games, so let’s hope he finds his range against his favourite opposition and adds to Arsenal’s 51 league goals this season.
Manchester United travel to Birmingham later today in the only other fixture. A win in the earlier kick-off could put some real pressure on Alex Ferguson’s team who sit two points ahead of Arsenal. It might also melt Key’s heart a little. Now someone get that man a shovel

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