Soccer English Premier League 2 March 2023
Arsenal vs Everton - Match Preview
Arsenal’s recent wobble looks behind them after Saturday’s 1-0 win at Leicester handed them successive Premier League (PL) victories. Their charge towards a first title in 19 years looked to be faltering after dropping seven points from a possible nine at the beginning of February, however, this weekend’s resolute display, which gave Arsenal their first clean sheet in six league outings, has handed them a platform to extend the gap at the top to five points with a win.
It was Everton who started the Gunners’ mini-rot with a 1-0 win in the reverse fixture just three weeks ago, but Mikel Arteta’s men should be confident of getting their revenge as they often put the Merseyside team to the sword on their own patch - Arsenal have lost just one of the last 26 home PL meetings (W21, D4), and have also lost just once at home this PL campaign (W8, D2).
It’s been a rollercoaster first month in charge of Everton for new boss Sean Dyche, who has won two and lost two of his opening four PL matches in charge. He claimed Saturday’s 2-0 defeat to Aston Villa was “harsh” based on the performance level of his side, but now he’s got to try and pick the relegation-threatened Toffees up as they try and win away from home against a team starting a match at the top of the table for the first time since September 1986 (since D5, L19).
However Arsenal might be the ideal opponent for them to achieve that feat as they’ve actually beaten the Gunners in four of the last five H2Hs (L1). Everton has also scored in six straight games against their hosts, which could be seen as a good omen for a goal-shy side who have failed to score on ten occasions already this PL campaign; only two sides have failed to do so more often.
📋 Players to watch: Gabriel Martinelli has scored in his last two PL appearances for Arsenal – he's never before scored in three in a row within the same season. After his winner three weeks ago, James Tarkowski could become the first Everton player to score home and away against the Gunners in the same PL campaign since Tomasz Radzinski in 2003/04.
⚡ Hot stat: Arsenal could become the first team in English league history to register 100 victories against one opponent by beating Everton here.
Liverpool vs Wolves - Match Preview
The momentum gained from Liverpool’s back-to-back Premier League (PL) wins over Everton and Newcastle seemed short-lived as their disjointed season continued with a lacklustre 0-0 draw against Crystal Palace at the weekend. That result means Liverpool has now failed to score in four of their last six PL matches, somewhat hindering their attempts at recovery as they sit in seventh place and nine points adrift of the top four, though they do possess two games in hand.
The Reds have at least coupled those recent poor offensive displays with some improved defensive performances, having kept three consecutive league clean sheets for the first time this season. That accumulation of shutouts started after their embarrassing 3-0 thumping at the hands of opponents Wolverhampton Wanderers, whom they now face for the fourth time already this year (W1, D1, L1). But with Liverpool losing just one of their last 34 home PL matches (W25, D8), revenge will be firmly on the mind of the Kop.
Wolves themselves seemed to be on the right track after consecutive wins over Liverpool and Southampton alleviated some relegation pressure, only for them to falter by losing 1-0 to Bournemouth before then following that up with a 1-1 draw against Fulham last time out. That leaves Julen Lopetegui’s men just three points above those in the drop zone, although that perhaps isn’t a fair reflection given 14 of their 24 points have come during the Spaniard’s nine PL games in charge.
The men from Molineux now journey to Merseyside with history to make, as they seek their first league double over the Reds since 1950/51. However, Anfield has largely been an unforgiving hunting ground, where Wolves have often been the prey and not the predator, losing 18 of their last 20 league visits (W2).
📋 Players to watch: Liverpool will be looking to Cody Gapko to get them back to winning ways as he did with goals against Everton and Newcastle, which extended his unbeaten streak when scoring for his club to 23 matches (W19, D4). Rúben Neves scored the third goal in the reverse fixture and could now become the first Wolves player to score home and away in the same league season against Liverpool since John Richards in 1972/73.
⚡ Hot stat: No PL team has scored fewer second-half goals this season than the Wolves’ seven.
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