Everton FC Team News vs Arsenal: James, Coleman, Allan

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Arsenal FC visits Everton on Saturday in a battle of two clubs that have obviously seen much better days. The proverbial big six used to be the big five, with Everton FC a part of the elite club back in the days when Chelsea and Manchester City hadn’t become nouveau riche yet.

As for Arsenal, they are still the only club in the modern era to produce a side that went undefeated, and they were once so big that they were able to lead the revolution in stadium building and upgrading. Now they’re lower table, hovering just above the drop zone. They must start scoring some more goals, and soon.

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Arsenal at Everton FYIs

Arsenal Team News, Starting XI Prediction: go here

Kickoff: 5:30 pm GMT, Sat Dec 19, Goodison Park

TV/Streaming: NBC, NBCSports.com

Odds: Everton win +130, Arsenal win +200, Draw +240

Table Position: Everton 5th, Arsenal 15th

The Toffees got off to a rip roaring start this season, vaulting to the top of the table out of the gates, but then they hit a rough patch and came back down to Earth. However, following the midweek win over a top four contending Leicester City side, the blue Merseyside club is riding positive momentum again.

They are just give points behind the league leaders, the club just across Stanley Park, and a win over the Gunners would make it three in a row.

“I understand the owner is really attached to the club and really focused on improving this club,” said manager Carlo Ancelotti of Owner Farhad Moshiri.

“This is really important for the club and for all the supporters. The pressure I have is that he has a lot confidence in me. He has trust in me because he signed me and he brought me to Everton. I’m doing it to bring his club to the top. That is my goal and what I promised to him.”

Ancelotti has an elite record, he’s one of the top managers in the game, but his roster will be a bit depleted for this league clash on Satruday.

The big news is Brazilian midfielder Allan, who had to be stretchered off in the win at Leciester. He suffered a serious hanstring injury that will keep on the sidelines for awhile.

Summer splash signing James Rodriguez is doubtful with a calf injury.

“[Rodriguez] started individual training sessions yesterday,” said Ancelotti. “As I said, we have to check him day-by-day. [His injury is] not a big problem. When he starts to train with the team, it means he will be able to play.

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“We have to look at him for Saturday or for next Wednesday.”

Team captain Seamus Coleman is also a doubt here, as his thigh/hamstring injury has kept him in and out of the line-up. Long term innury Jean-Philippe Gbamin (calf) is expected to hopefully start training  with the side again, after recently resuming running.

Lucas Digne (surgery for ankle ligament damage) and Fabian Delph (thigh) are both out of commission as well.

Prediction: Everton 2, Arsenal 1

The Gunners look lost, with no real identity right now, but that’s probably more the fault of a few bad apples in the squad than it is manager Mikel Arteta.

The north London club has really shot themselves in the foot this season with red cards, and it’s very hard to win when you’re often playing a man down.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank, partnered with News NowBanks, the author of  “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” has regularly appeared in WGNSports IllustratedChicago Tribune and SB NationFollow him on Twitter and Instagram.

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