* All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change.
Friday 20:00: Arsenal v Everton
Sky Sports Main Event/Sky Sports Premier League
It’s hard to tell who this game is more irrelevant for. Arsenal, who are just two points away from slipping into the bottom half, have literally nothing to play for in the Premier League and will surely focus all of their energy on winning the Europa League and securing Champions League football for the first time since 2017.
The only reason for Arsenal to continue trying to win games in the league this season is to avoid the embarrassment of finishing in the bottom half and Mikel Arteta will not want to risk any injuries ahead of their first-leg clash with Villarreal next Thursday.
Everton, meanwhile, have failed to build on a promising start to the season and now look almost certain to miss out on the European places after a wretched run of five games without a win which has partly arisen due to an injury crisis in recent months.
Carlo Ancelotti’s side have failed to win since football returned from the international break in March and it appears that their season is petering out to an inevitable and all too familiar conclusion. Arsenal can cement their place in the top half with a victory and leapfrog Everton in the process and should be able to capitalise on the Toffees dreadful form.
While Arsenal may boast the fifth-best defensive record in the league, their recent defensive performances suggest that that is down to luck rather than design.
The Gunners have kept one clean sheet in their last 11 league games in a run stretching back to the beginning of February, with their one shutout coming against a Sheffield United outfit that has long since accepted their relegation to the Championship.
Most recently, Liverpool and West Ham ripped Arsenal apart at their leisure, while relegation-threatened sides such as Fulham – who don’t score a lot of goals – were also able to find joy against them.
As bad as Everton have been recently, they still boast several forwards who are capable of inflicting damage against this Arsenal defence and the Gunners will most likely have to score twice if they are to claim three points on Friday night.
Both sides will have to turn to alternative goal sources in the absence of their top-scorers, with Arsenal missing the services of Alexandre Lacazette and Everton likely to be without Dominic Calvert-Lewin.
With Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang also due to miss out, Arteta will have to rely on the goalscoring exploits of younger players and those operating on either flank.
Despite not scoring in his last six goals, Nicolas Pepe has proved to be an important player in Arsenal’s Europa League run, scoring vital goals in both legs of Arsenal’s Europa clash with Slavia Prague.
Pepe has only started 12 games in the league for Arsenal this season, so his ostensibly poor return of five league goals this season is actually far better than it seems. He can play an important role for an injury-hit Arsenal on Friday.
Their six-minute demolition of Slavia Prague aside, Arsenal have largely been a second-half team in recent games. They recently rescued a point in the seventh minute of stoppage time against Fulham, while they staged a second-half comeback against West Ham prior to the international break.
They also scored a second-half winner against Tottenham in the North London Derby and score two of their three goals after the halftime break in their 3-0 win over Sheffield United. Everton, meanwhile, have conceded in nine of their last 14 second halves, conceding 12 of their last 20 goals in the league after the interval.
* A Bet Builder on these four best bets pays at approximately 7/1 with Paddy Power.
NOT SURE WHAT WE’RE TALKING ABOUT? CLICK HERE TO LEARN ALL ABOUT WHAT A BET BUILDER IS
Bet Builder Acca Insurance
If one leg of your 4+ fold Bet Builder lets you down, you get up to £/€10 back as a free bet. Customers can qualify for 1 Bet Builder Acca Insurance per day up to £/€10. The free bets will be credited by 12pm the following day.
- Click here for our £/€20 risk-free sign up offer
- Klopp urges Liverpool squad to summon spirit of 2-2 draw with WBA
- PSG plot Neymar and Mbappe swap plus cash for Lingard
- Frank Lampard files for full custody of Mason Mount
- Dulux dog blames Joe Hart’s social media team for Spurs tweets