Arsenal have the opportunity to make a major statement of progress against Everton on Sunday.
Arsenal have a dire recent record of playing away against Everton. In their last five Premier League visits to Goodison Park, the Gunners have lost on four occasions and drawn once.
On paper, Mikel Arteta’s side is significantly stronger than Everton’s squad. Arsenal also head into this match in far better form, having taken ten points from their opening four Premier League games of the season, compared to the Toffees’ one.
However, Arteta will still be uncomfortably aware of Arsenal’s recent Merseyside woes. The Gunners need to get this monkey off their backs and bring all three points back to the Emirates Stadium with them on Sunday evening.
Victory at Goodison Park would give this Arsenal squad a major psychological boost. On the other hand, despite it being so early in the campaign, failure to win would be considered catastrophic.
Arteta needs to get his game plan right in this match, and the players must keep cool heads in what will be a physical encounter in a raucous atmosphere.
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Maturity required for Arsenal
In front of a fired up Goodison Park crowd, Sean Dyche will instruct his players to take the game to Arsenal. In this instance, the Gunners must resist being dragged into an emotional battle. This is where Arteta’s young group must demonstrate their maturity.
If the likes of club captain Martin Odegaard, Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli, Declan Rice, and William Saliba – all aged 24 or under – can take control of this match, and coolly impose their authority on it in a clinical, efficient manner, it will show just how far this squad have come.
In the last two seasons, Arsenal have fallen short of their main objectives in the final stretch of the campaign. In 2021/22 they missed out on Champions League qualification. Last time out, they slipped up in a Premier League title race. Amongst other factors, inexperience contributed to these painful failures.
With a composed and ruthless win over Everton, Arsenal can show that they have learned and grown as a team as a result of these experiences. This will give them extra belief that they have what it takes to go the distance this time around.
A mature display is precisely what is required on Sunday.