Marco Silva

Getty Images

Premier League preview: Everton v. Arsenal

Leave a comment
  • Arsenal is the last PL team without a road clean sheet
  • Alexandre Lacazette has 27 goals, but just 7 on the road
  • Everton has lost four straight PL matches against Arsenal

Unbeaten over the last six matches, Arsenal looks to push up the table in a crowded race for the Champions League positions as they visit Everton, live Sunday on NBCSN at 9:05 a.m. ET or live online at NBCSports.com.

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE HERE

The Gunners can jump their North London rivals Tottenham in the table with a win, gaining the advantage over the tight Champions League battle in the process. Currently, four teams sit within three points of each other, battling for positions three and four in the Premier League table. At the moment, Arsenal rests in fourth, a point back of Tottenham and level with Chelsea on points.

Arsenal boss Unai Emery will be having selection headaches, with the Gunners’ squad depleted by injuries. Granit Xhaka and Laurent Koscielny are both questionable after missing the win over Newcastle United last time out, while Aaron Ramsey came out of that match with groin trouble but should be ready to go. Lucas Torreira is suspended for the third and final time for his red card against Tottenham, and Hector Bellerin, Rob Holding, and Danny Welbeck are all out long-term.

Everton, meanwhile, is pushing for a top-half finish and sits just on the precipice at the moment, looking for its third straight victory. The Toffees suffered through much of the winter, but wins over Chelsea and West Ham have Everton on the club’s first league winning streak since early October. They are without Yerry Mina through injury, but otherwise Marco Silva has a full-strength squad.

What they’re saying

Everton boss Marco Silva on playing Arsenal: “On Sunday, we are playing another top team. I know how the atmosphere will be in our stadium again and how the fans can be a key for us. Together, our fans and players, can help us to get a good result. We will play with the same mentality we had in second half against Chelsea and in the last match against West Ham.”

Arsenal manager Unai Emery on strikers Lacazette and Aubameyang: “We need a lot of good passes, good crosses, to give them the best option to score in the box. We can be proud that both are with us. Sometimes you need to play both, with two strikers, and sometimes you can play with one player wide, and sometimes you can play with another on the bench.”

Prediction

Arsenal has had Everton’s number of late, but that won’t matter as two in-form teams meet at Goodison Park. Everton just took down Chelsea, and they should be equipped well to keep that up. Arsenal hasn’t kept a single away clean sheet this season, and the two teams will draw 2-2 to keep the Gunners in the thick of the Champions League race, unable to fully pull away.

Everton’s Silva explains post-match incident with refs (video)

1 Comment

Under fire Marco Silva may be in hot water with the Premier League after a fiery post-match engagement with referee Lee Mason and his crew.

[ RECAP: Newcastle 3-2 Everton ]

The Toffees had just thrown away a 2-0 lead at St. James’ Park to lose 3-2 against Newcastle United when Silva hit the pitch to accost the crew.

It was a game of much controversy as Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford was not sent off after American football tackling Salomon Rondon in the box, and Rondon was offside on Newcastle’s winner. From the BBC:

“They gave one penalty to them but not us when Gylfi Sigurdsson [was fouled]. Then the third goal was clear offside. Rondon was in a clear offside position.”

The post-match incident was not too different from Mauricio Pochettino‘s against Burnley, which earned the Spurs boss a two-match touch line ban.

In a separate interview, Silva clarified that his anger was regarding the Sigurdsson incident (which, opinion alert, would’ve been right on the edge of a harsh decision).

“It was difficult to understand when for one side to decide one way then for the other side it’s the opposite way.”

Everton’s Silva under pressure ahead of ‘must-win’ v. Cardiff

Photo by Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Marco Silva‘s only been on the perpetually hot Everton hot seat for seven months, but he’s — surprise surprise — already feeling that seat as it gets uncomfortably warm following a poor two months of Premier League results.

[ MORE: Top PL storylines for Week 28 (Tuesday & Wednesday) ]

So warm and so poor, in fact, that Silva went so far as to call Tuesday’s visit to 17th-place Cardiff City (Watch live, 2:45 p.m. ET, on NBC Sports Gold) a “must-win” game if he is to comfortably continue on in his job — quotes from the Guardian:

“We must be more competitive in some moments, keep more focus in other moments, be more aggressive and show that desire we showed earlier in the season to go against this bad run we have had in the last two months. Cardiff is a must-win, it is a game to win for sure, and like always I prepare the game to win.”

[ MORE: Premier League midweek streaming, TV schedule ]

While he refused to campaign on his own behalf, Silva rightly acknowledged the constant upheaval that Everton has experienced in the last few years — “four managers in the last 18 months,” as he put it — and his belief that the club could use a bit of “stability” and continuity. That much should be granted without thinking twice, especially given the number of new arrivals to the first-team squad over that same period.

“The club has had four managers in the last 18 months and signed more than 20 players over maybe the last 18-20 months. Forget Marco Silva and the players we signed, it is not about the names. What we have to do is the right things and everyone is working in the club to take the right decisions.”

“It’s not for me to talk about myself, but stability is important. No one wants to have [a different] manager, manager, manager inside 20 months, and 20 players inside 18 months. You have to create something, an identity with our club, and you have to allow for some adaptation for this football, to adapt within our club and also to the Premier League. It is a special club and the players have to feel they can create an identity with our fans also.”

Top Premier League storylines for Week 26

Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images
Leave a comment

We suppose we should have known no lead is safe, even as well as Liverpool has performed this season.

[ MORE: Sala body identified ]

A pair of draws have the Reds in the neighborhood of losing a seven-point Premier League lead within a week (which of course has technically already evaporated given Man City’s one further game played).

So we begin in Liverpool for our top storylines, even if the Premier League weekend starts in London.

Liverpool is set to bounce back from consecutive draws, right? Right?
Liverpool v. Bournemouth, 10 a.m. ET Saturday on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com

Liverpool is on a three-match win streak against Bournemouth, outscoring the Cherries 11-0. The visitors to Anfield have just one win over Top Six competition this season, although it was against Chelsea just two weeks ago.

But this Liverpool team is feeling unprecedented league pressure, and the Reds need to bounce back from a pair of league draws and a 2-2-2 run in all competitions.

Chelsea meets the leaders as both sides hope to bolster top credentials
Man City v. Chelsea, 11 a.m. ET Sunday on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com

The winner has kept four-straight clean sheets in this series, with Chelsea’s only win the 2-0 defeat of City at Stamford Bridge on Dec. 8. City will know it can at-worst reclaim first place and at-best create a distance from Liverpool. That pressure shouldn’t be a problem, but the heat created by Eden Hazard and Gonzalo Higuain might provide a significant obstacle.

Combustible Spurs-Foxes rivalry sees hosts’ form showing mettle
Tottenham Hotspur v. Leicester City, 8:30 a.m. ET Sunday on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com

The visitors have taken at least a point in nine of 12 matches between these two since Leicester City rejoined the Premier League in 2014-15. The Foxes have slipped from their perch as perceived favorites for seventh place, and will certainly hope Spurs’ fine run without Harry Kane and Dele Alli ends at Wembley Stadium on Sunday, perhaps looking too closely at the Champions League.

Solskjaer puts unbeaten Man Utd record on the line at Craven Cottage
Fulham v. Manchester United, 7:30 a.m. ET Saturday on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer remains unbeaten as Manchester United boss, but there were some lumps in the mashed potatoes last time out. Can Fulham boost its survival hopes with a surprising home win.

Desperate Silva returns to Vicarage Road
Watford v. Everton, 10 a.m. ET Saturday on NBC Sports Gold and online via NBCSports.com

Everton looked decent against Manchester City, but moral victories aren’t cutting it for the Goodison Park faithful. Now Marco Silva squares off with the club that fired him for flirting with the Toffees about 14 months ago.

Silva confident of Moshiri’s backing with young Everton squad

Photo by Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Farhad Moshiri spent more than six month chasing Marco Silva before he was named Everton boss last summer, therefore the Portuguese manager must surely be safe despite his side’s recent rough patch of results… right? Right?

[ MORE: Liverpool suffer PL title slip-up in draw at West Ham ]

Sure, the Toffees have won just three of their last 12 games in the Premier League — plus an exit from the FA Cup at the hands of Championship side Millwall — but Moshiri, Everton’s ambitious billionaire owner, isn’t about to fire his fourth manager in 32 months’ time… is he? Is he?

For what it’s worth, Silva believes he has Moshiri’s long-term backing after the braintrust made the decision to prioritize the development and integration of young players — many of whom have come through the club’s youth academy — last summer. Silva insists that he and Moshiri have a good working relationship built upon constant communication and the exchange of ideas — quotes from the Guardian:

“When we have the possibility to meet we do. When not, we speak on the phone. I know what his feelings are. I know what is our project also when he spoke about the situation with the young players. We decided at the beginning of the season that some of them would be part of our squad.”

“You cannot achieve your goal with just young players. We have to see them growing in a stable, mature squad. I believe in our squad, I believe in what we are doing and I believe in our young players also. We took one decision at the start of the season and in the January market also. We didn’t go in the market because we took a decision and now is not the moment to go in a different way.

“Everyone thinks about Everton spending a lot of money, but if you look at last season you can see how different it is to this season. The club spent more than double last season (compared to this season) and in the January market signed two new players. This season we did it differently. We took a decision as a football club, and the manager is always involved. We took it together and we are together in this project. Football will always be about the results because if you are winning and taking good results, you are not asking me about the young players.”

While there’s no reason to believe anything Silva said in the above quotes is anything but 100 percent true, he does come off as a bit defensive in the end. Unfortunately for Silva, his side still must face each of the top-six sides — Manchester City (Wednesday, Watch live, 3 p.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com), Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur — over their final 13 games of the season.