Arsenal v Everton - Five key battles

Emirates at Sunset

Mertesacker v Lukaku, Cazorla v Barry, Sanogo v Stones and more.

Arsenal host Everton in a difficult to call FA Cup fixture this weekend which is important for both sides.

The Gunners will be forced into changes following Jack Wilshere’s broken foot and the fact they are due to play Bayern Munich next week while the Toffees proved against Chelsea they can raise themselves for big games in the capital.

There will be some fascinating individual battles breaking out all over the pitch this weekend and we’ve taken a look at five potential match ups.

Per Mertesacker v Romelu Lukaku

Lukaku has made it clear he wants to take Everton all the way in this competition.

He could drift onto Per Mertesacker’s side of the defence over going up against Thomas Vermaelen because the German doesn’t have that injection of pace, which could allow the on loan Chelsea man to get in behind.

It’s not an unfamiliar tactic to Mertesacker and something he’s had to deal with before but it will be interesting to see how he copes against Lukaku’s pace and power.

Mikel Arteta v Ross Barkley

Barkley has proven to be one of the most promising creative midfielders in England since he broke into the team.

Everton will more than likely try to get the ball up to him as quickly as possible so he can turn and attack the Arsenal defence. Barkley will be relying on the pace of Lukaku and Kevin Mirallas to pull other Arsenal players out of position.

Mikel Arteta’s job is to wise up to the youngster, making sure the Everton star knows he’s there and to generally make it difficult for the Toffees to move the ball around easily.

Lukas Podolski v Seamus Coleman

Podolski could be handed a start over on the left hand side and despite his calibre and experience, Coleman will probably fancy his chances of dominating the German.

Coleman could see Podolski as someone he can get the better of going forward for Everton and also someone who isn’t going to rinse him for pace down that side of the pitch.

What Podolski is good at is dragging the right-back inside, which creates space for the left-back overlapping.

Santi Cazorla v Gareth Barry

Barry will be the player who sits and holds in the Everton midfield, offering some protection to the defence.

If Mesut Ozil is rested, then Cazorla could be the man Arsene Wenger turns to, to create chaos in behind the Arsenal main striker. Barry has to be focused throughout because the Spaniard can unlock the opposition defence in a second.

Yaya Sanogo v John Stones

Sanogo could get the nod with Giroud likely to start against Bayern Munich next week.

Arsenal’s front man should find the prospect of matching up against Stones more favourable to the experience of Sylvain Distin.

Whoever wins this battle between two raw and younger players could well end up on the winning side after 90 minutes.

image: © HITC

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