Following a midweek defeat to Monaco, Arsene Wenger has made big changes for Arsenal’s Premier League matchup with Everton, live on NBCSN or live online at NBC Sports Live Extra.
Most notably, Per Mertesacker has been dropped from the Arsenal defense after the Gunners conceded three times to the defensively-minded French side. Since missing the opening game of the season, Mertesacker had played every single minute for Arsenal in the Premier League, and did the same last season minus a trio of matches out.
In his place in the middle of the back line comes new signing Gabriel Paulista. Danny Welbeck also drops to the bench in favor of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, while Olivier Giroud remains in the striker role. The Gunners are weak in midfield depth as Jack Wilshere misses out on a return, after minor ankle surgery will delay his comeback from injury. Aaron Ramsey and Mikel Arteta also miss out with knocks. David Ospina remains in goal with Wojciech Szczesny still on the bench.
A win would be enormous for Arsenal, as they look to solidify their spot in the top four, currently with just a precarious two point lead over Southampton. Everton, meanwhile, could give its supporters some breathing room with relegation worries beginning to creep into the conversation, with a six point gap between them and the drop zone.
Roberto Martinez has stuck with Tim Howard despite a shaky return from injury, while 21-year-old Luke Garbutt comes in at left-back for just his second Premier League appearance. The youngster replaces Leighton Baines, who is struggling with a knee injury. Romelu Lukaku is able to go up top despite a hamstring worry in the Europa League match midweek.
Arsenal – Ospina, Bellerin, Gabriel, Koscielny, Gibbs, Coquelin, Cazorla, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ozil, Alexis, Giroud.
Bench: Szczesny, Mertesacker, Monreal, Chambers, Rosicky, Walcott, Welbeck.
Everton – Howard, Coleman, Jagielka, Stones, Garbutt, McCarthy, Besic, Barry, Mirallas, Barkley, Lukaku.
Bench: Robles, Gibson, Kone, Naismith, Osman, Lennon, Alcaraz.