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Everton vs. Arsenal Free Betting Pick & EPL Handicapping Preview

Everton vs Arsenal 

The second weekend in the English Premier League features a few intriguing match-ups for both footy fans and sports betters alike. [ad-1519080]

EPL Betting

Premier League Previews
Date: Saturday, August 23, 9:30 AM
Venue: Goodison Park
EPL Gambling Odds: Everton +170, Arsenal +160
O/U: 2.5 Everton (-125) Arsenal (+105)

Former Tottenham skipper Harry Redknapp will get a visit from his former club when the Spurs travel to Loftus Road to visit the Queens Park Rangers. Last year’s league champions Manchester City will travel to Anfield to take on Liverpool who were surprise title contenders during the 2013-14 campaign and are now without goal scoring machine Jaws – err – Luis Suarez.

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The match up that grabbed my attention this week however is Everton vs Arsenal in a game between two clubs that could both vie for spots in the UEFA Champions League next year. Title contenders these clubs may not quite be, but with Luis Suarez’s move  from Liverpool to Barcelona, one of the four spots in the European club championship is certainly up for grabs.

Games like these, as early in the season as  it may be, can shape your team’s identity and whether you’re a contender or a pretender. Everton figures to scrap and hang around the top six in the EPL this season, and they’re going to need to beat sides like Arsenal, Tottenham and Liverpool if they want to crack the top four.

Let’s take a look at how these clubs fared last week.

Everton (0-1-0)

The Toffees opened their campaign on the road with a 2-2 draw against newly promoted Leicester City. Twice in the match Everton led and twice they saw three points slip out of their grasp. Midfielder Aiden McGeady opened the scoring for Everton in the 20th minute, but the glory was short lived when Leicester drew level just two minutes later.

Everton’s Scottish striker Scott Naismith found the net late in the opening half, giving the Toffees a 2-1 lead at the break. Leicester’s Chris Wood drew the home side level in the 86th minute and points were shared.

Arsenal (1-0-0)

The Gunners were a bit fortunate to get out of their week one game against Crystal Palace with a 2-1 victory at home. Having dominated possession for much of the match, Arsenal found themselves behind in the 35th minute after  Brede Hangeland opened the scoring for Palace.

A headed goal by defender Laurent Koscielny from a set piece in the 45th minute leveled the score at half time. The game remained deadlocked with the Gunners dictating play but unable to find any cutting edge in the final third until midfielder Aaron Ramsey tucked away the winner in the 90th minute.

Everton vs Arsenal – A (very) brief history:

In the recent past, Everton has had Arsenal’s number and the Gunners have not enjoyed their visits to Goodison Park in the last few seasons. Arsenal’s last win at Everton came in March 2012, which was also the last time the Gunners got the better of Everton at any location.
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The teams have shared points in three of their last four matches, and Everton handed Arsenal its most recent EPL loss, a 3-0 drubbing at Goodison Park late last season. Since that loss, Arsenal have been on a tear in English competition, winning six straight EPL matches including their week one win over Crystal Palace, and also claimed the FA Cup title in May 2014.

Everton closed out the 2013-14 campaign on a seesaw; after their impressive 3-0 win over Arsenal they also staked claim to a 2-0 home win over Manchester United and a 2-0 win on the road against Hull City. Sandwiched between those victories however were a pair  3-2 losses at home to eventual league champs Manchester City and Crystal Palace, as well as a 2-0 loss to Southampton.

The Toffees finished the season in fifth place, seven points behind fourth place Arsenal.

This week’s game and pick:

Arsenal get  play-making midfielder Mesut Ozil back this week and Everton will be without their young spark plug Ross Barkley, and I think this will be enough to turn the game in the Gunners’ favour as the advantage in the middle of the field is on Arsenal’s side.

Last season when Everton dismantled Arsenal, Barkley had his way through the middle of the park, while Beligan forward Romelu Lukaku wreaked havoc on the right wing. Arsenal’s defense corps should keep Lukaku and Scott Naismith in check without the threat of Barkley making runs up and down the middle of the park.

I’ve always subscribed to the theory that trends are made to be broken. Before Arsenal’s victory over Crystal Palace last week, they had not recorded an opening week win in the last four seasons.

With one trend already erased, look for the Gunners to turn the tide in their struggles against Everton as of late with a victory, to open the season 2-0-0 and push the Toffees to 0-1-1.

Pick:  Arsenal (+160)

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About Matt Durnan

A (self-proclaimed) fantasy sports guru since 2004 and a journalist since 2007. He has been offering unsolicited sports gambling advice to his circle of friends for years and has now put himself at the mercy of online readers everywhere. "It's not whether you win or lose, it's how much fun you have"... His hockey coach told him that when he was 7. His team lost every game that year.