Solskjaer plotting United future

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has warned his players that they are still playing for their futures in the closing weeks of the Premier League season.

Having enjoyed initial success after taking over at Old Trafford just before Christmas, Solskjaer has seen his side's form dip in recent weeks, with the Red Devils having lost five of the last seven games they have played in all competitions.

And the former United striker says he will be monitoring things very closely in the coming weeks, with the club expected to be big movers in the transfer market in the summer.

He told reporters ahead of a Sunday trip to Goodison Park to take on Everton: "There's no hiding place and everyone can see what your level is at. The performance on the pitch will determine where they're at – if it's short term or long term.

"I've learnt a lot about them over the months I've been here. Most of them have really impressed in their attitude and some need to get a reality check of where they're at.

"But most of the players know they can improve if they keep working as they do."

United are currently in sixth place in the Premier League standings, but they are just two points behind Arsenal, who currently occupy the all-important final Champions League spot of fourth.

The Red Devils are priced at 11/4 to finish in the top four, with the Gunners available at 4/9 and Chelsea 13/8.

Meanwhile, Solskjaer also confirmed that both striker Alexis Sanchez and midfielder Nemanja Matic are back in contention for the clash with the Toffees.

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Silva in race for seventh

Everton manager Marco Silva says he is focused on getting the results between now and the end of the season to achieve seventh place in the Premier League table.

A seventh place finish will be good enough for Europa League football next season if Manchester City win the FA Cup at Wembley next month and the Toffees approach the final few games of the season in good form.

Silva's team have won their last three league games, beating Chelsea, West Ham and Arsenal and sit ninth in the table with the race for seventh looking to be a four-horse race with Leicester, Wolves, Everton and Watford separated by a solitary point.

The Toffees travel to already relegated Fulham on Saturday and, at a press conference ahead of the game, Silva said there was plenty left to play for between now and the end of the season.

He said: "We have to keep fighting to achieve the best position possible in the table. This is most important for us. Our goal is to improve on the season before and we will keep doing that to the end of the season. Then we will see what it means for us."

Everton are 3/4 to win at Craven Cottage on Saturday with Fulham 15/4 and the draw 13/5.

Silva also commented on summer transfer plans, saying that he hoped to keep Kurt Zouma and Andre Gomes at the club.

The pair are on loan from Chelsea and Barcelona respectively and, while the Everton boss said their future was out of his hands, he hoped a way could be found to keep them at Goodison Park beyond the end of the season.

He added that he was not worried about speculation linking midfielder Idrissa Gueye with Manchester United. With Ole Gunnar Solskjaer set to lose Ander Herrera in the summer, Gueye has been mentioned as a replacement, but Silva said he wouldn't comment on rumours.

Gueye is 15/2 to score at any time against Fulham while Everton are priced at 17/2 to win the game 2-0.

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Emery upbeat despite Everton setback

Unai Emery is determined to stay upbeat over Arsenal's top-four hopes despite their 1-0 Premier League defeat at Everton on Sunday.

After some promising form, the north Londoner suffered a blip at the weekend as a Phil Jagielka goal saw Everton claim the spoils at Goodison Park.

The result means a draw or a win for Chelsea against West Ham on Monday night would see the Gunners drop out of the top four.

Emery admitted the result against the Toffees was a disappointing one but the Spaniard is about to press the panic button just yet.

"I am in my mind in the same as before the match," he said. "We know it is going to be difficult and today was a very good opportunity to take the three points and go third, but after the result we are fourth and we need to be consistent.

"We are going to have chances also in the next matches and it depends on us and on other teams. After the result we can be negative because (we have) three points less (than we could have had), but it is in our hands to continue taking chances to be in the top four.

"It is a bad result, not a good performance, but we are fourth."

Arsenal are 8/11 to finish in the top four, while Chelsea are 6/5 to achieve the same feat.

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Premier League: Arsenal’s Away day Blues!

Everton 1-0 Arsenal

Unai Emery’s Arsenal failed to take a firm hold of a top four place in the Premier League today, losing to in-form Everton at Goodison Park.

An early goal from Toffees captain Phil Jagielka was enough to seal the points, and it was a worryingly lacklustre performance from the Gunners, so impressive at home, but so flaky when they are on the road. Their sixth defeat away from home means they could well drop of the top four when Chelsea plays West Ham tomorrow.

And the win lifted the Toffees to ninth place and just one point behind Leicester City in seventh position in the race to be ‘the best of the rest’. It was fully deserved win for Marco Silva’s team and it could easily have been by a bigger margin.

Highlights of the game

Everton had a superb home win against Maurzio Sarri’s Chelsea recently and they got off to the perfect start today, when veteran defender Phil Jagielka helped on a long throw from Luca Digne and when the ball landed back at his feet he poked home.

It was Jagielka’s first Premier League goal for two years, and he was only in the side because centre back Michael Keane felt unwell in the run up to the game. It was a great moment for the Everton stalwart who was wearing the captain’s armband.

Everton vs Arsenal results: Phil Jagielka put the hosts ahead

Phil Jagielka celebrates his first goal in two years

Everton had the better of the first half, playing at a higher tempo, snapping into tackles and getting the ball forward quickly. The Toffees no nonsense approach was paying off and they had a good chance to double their lead, shortly before the break when Gylfi Sigurdsson had space to shoot but Bernd Leno saved.

The Toffees’ goalkeeper Jordan Pickford has been under pressure after a series of mistakes and a lively night out in Sunderland which hit the front pages of the UK press, but he kept his place and had a mercifully quiet first half.

Unai Emery isn’t slow to make substitutions and he brought Arsenal’s top scorer Pierre- Emerick Aubameyang on, alongside Aaron Ramsey. And the Welsh midfielder almost made an immediate impact when he met a weak Pickford punch but volleyed over the bar. Arsenal was playing with more intent and Ramsay had another chance for a corner but sliced his shot well wide. He had twice as many efforts in five minutes than the whole Arsenal team had in the first 45!

Marco Silva’s side was chasing three consecutive clean sheets for the first time this season and the early second half exchanges suggested they’d have to work hard for it. But Everton came back on the attack and when Bernard latched on to a poor header from Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Leno had to be out quickly to deny the Everton man.

The game began to get stretched and Arsenal’s Henrikh Mkhitaryan beat Seamus Coleman but curled his shot just wide. And then Everton had two great chances to put some distance between them and the Gunners, but Sigurdsson’s first time effort was straight at Pickford, and then Richarlison fired wide when he had time to pick his spot.

Premier League: Bernd Leno denies Bernard's goal

Bernd Leno did well to stop Bernard when the Everton winger was clean through on goal

Bernard had another opportunity but, once again, shot straight at Leno. We waited for an Arsenal onslaught, and waited.

But it never came.

Key statistics

The recent Everton vs Arsenal results were very much in the visitors’ favour, but that mattered not one bit to the 39,000 fans packed into a sunny Goodison Park as they watched their team run out deserved winners.

The Gunners had won four on the bounce against the Toffees and so most Everton vs Arsenal betting tips pointed to an away win, but there was no sign of that in a first half as they registered just one shot, while the hosts had six attempts on goal.

Everton’s first win against Arsenal in three years was never in much doubt as they ended up registering 22 shots to the Gunners’ seven.

Arsenal still hasn’t had an away clean sheet this season, and if they don’t remedy that I can see the Gunners missing out on Champions League football.

What’s next?

The Toffees have a very winnable game away to relegated Fulham next week; and then it’s one of their fans’ favourite fixtures, a home game against Manchester United. We’ll be watching that one so keep it here for the latest us tips and updates.

Meanwhile, the Gunners have a home Europa League tie against Napoli to look forward to and that will be a fascinating clash between two of Europe’s most attractive sides. Napoli will be in the Champions League again next season where Unai Emery’s team will hope to join them. But they’ll have to play better than they did today.

 

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Jagielka scores on rare start

Phil Jagielka was afforded a rare start by Marco Silva and justified his selection, scoring the only goal of the game as Everton beat Arsenal 1-0.

The defender only came into the Toffees starting line-up shortly before kick-off as a replacement for Michael Keane and scored ten minutes in, forcing the ball home after a Dominic Calvert-Lewin header.

Everton built on the lead to dominate the first half. Arsenal improved after the break but it was still the home side who continued to create the better chances.

Gunners keeper Bernd Leno saved well from Bernard and he, Andre Gomes and Theo Walcott had further opportunities to extend Everton's lead.

However, they held on for the three points and continue their good run of form, this being their third successive victory.

The result means that Everton stay firmly in the hunt for European football next season, moving up to ninth in the table, just a point behind Leicester who sit seventh.

Meanwhile the Gunners were a disappointment as they seek a top four place in the Premier League. The result keeps them fourth in the table, only ahead of Chelsea on goal difference.

Jagielka said afterwards that he was in the right place at the right time, telling Sky Sports: "They are the best goals. It was nice to come away with the win. (We need to) keep wining games, it is all about momentum until next season.

"It feels great. Obviously to keep a clean sheet as well. We are trying to build a little bit of momentum. We could have had a few more."

While Everton seek Europa League football next season, Arsenal are still in this year's competition and they are in action in midweek at home to Napoli in the first leg of their quarter-final.

They are 5/4 for the win with Napoli 11/5 and the draw 23/10.

Arsenal are 5/1 to win this season's Europa League with Napoli 4/1 and Chelsea 7/4.

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Emery hails front pair

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette are amongst the best strikers Unai Emery has worked with, says the Arsenal boss.

Emery has worked alongside the likes of David Villa, Kylian Mbappe, Edinson Cavani and Neymar during his managerial career to date and he believes Arsenal's current strike duo are as good as anything he has seen.

Their formidable strike partnership this season has seen them scoring 37 goals in all competitions for the Gunners already.

"I had at Valencia, Villa and (Fernando) Morientes; (Roberto) Soldado and (Aritz) Aduriz," said Emery.

"I had at Sevilla (Kevin) Gameiro and (Carlos) Bacca. I had at Paris Saint-Germain, Cavani and Mbappe. Here I have Aubameyang and 'Laca'. It's perfect.

"Each striker has his qualities and characteristics but one is similar. They are strikers and score a lot of goals. All of them.

"That's Villa, (Alvaro) Negredo, Carlos Bacca, Gameiro, Cavani, Morientes, and Soldado, and now here, Lacazette and Aubameyang. It's the same."

Explaining his decision to omit Aubameyang from his starting line-up for Monday's 2-0 win over Newcastle at the Emirates, Emery suggested different approaches are required for certain games.

"Sometimes you need to play both, with two strikers, and sometimes you can play with one player wide, and sometimes you can play with another on the bench," he added.

Arsenal can be backed at 5/4 to take all three points at Everton on Sunday afternoon, while the draw is priced at 13/5 and a 2-1 Gunners victory is available at 9/1.

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Silva won’t change Everton approach

Everton boss Marco Silva says his side do not treat games against the Premier League's top six any different to facing other opposition.

A 2-0 victory over Chelsea in March was the Toffees' first win against one of the Premier League's big hitters in 26 attempts, which dated back over two years.

And while the victory against the Blues was lauded as important in restoring Everton's confidence against that level of opposition, the Everton head coach has said their approach to that game was no different from many others.

With his side preparing to face Arsenal in the Premier League on Sunday, Silva is adamant their approach won't change.

"When we won the game against Chelsea, our obligation as a club and as a manager was to do everything we can to win," he said.

"It (25 matches without victory against the top six) is something which should not happen again if you do the right things.

"Two years is too many, a big number of games, but it is in the past and it is not important to talk about that game.

"It is the same mentality (against Arsenal) as when we played the last match against West Ham and the same mentality as the second half we played against Chelsea.

"I can say, also, it is the same mentality as some of the away games we played against some of the top sides this season.

"We didn't win but in some of them we were close to achieving a good result."

Everton are 21/10 to win, 13/5 to draw and 2/5 to lose to the Gunners at Goodison Park.

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Premier League: Goodison Glee or Glum – You Decide?

Everton vs Arsenal

Two in-form sides, one trying to secure a place in next season’s Champions League, the other bidding to bring renewed hope of better times for next season.

It’s rare that the Premier League doesn’t have something to offer and this game at Goodison Park should be no exception.

Tenth plays fourth and there is plenty at stake still for both sides, especially as the higher a team finishes in the Premier League, the more millions a club will receive in its coffers.

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Talking Points

Arsenal are sitting in the Champions League places with seven matches remaining,

Given they have not been involved in the competition over the past two seasons, that is surely a position their supporters and manager would have taken at the start of the campaign.

They have remained consistent and taken advantage of stutters from Spurs, Chelsea and Man Utd – their latest success a routine home victory over Newcastle – to ensure the destiny of a top four finish is in their own hands.

Given five of their last seven league matches are away from home, beginning at Goodison, they will also be aware there is much work to be done.

Team news wise, their selection concerns surround Granit Xhaka and Laurent Koscielny, while Uruguayan midfielder Lucas Torreira is suspended.

Their main threat may be soon-to-depart Welshman Aaron Ramsey who has scored six goals in his last five Premier League games against Everton, his best overall return against any team.

Arsenal have already matched their tally of 63 points from last season with seven games left which shows the progress they are making.

Everton hope to be making headway of their own and will, likely, still have their eyes on seventh spot with just four points separating them and Wolves, who currently occupy that position.

Marco Silva eyes to upset the Premier League odds against Arsenal

Marco Silva instructing from the sidelines

On the upside, they have won consecutive Premier League fixtures for only the second time this season and Marco Silva’s side are now chasing three consecutive clean sheets for the first time in 2018-19.

Victory against Chelsea in their last home game also ended a 25-match winless run against the big six.

On the downside, that was only their second win in nine league matches at Goodison and, if they lose on Sunday, Everton will have been defeated for five consecutive times against the North Londoners for the first time in 19 years.

Colombia international Yerry Mina is their only absentee through injury.

A trip to Goodison is rarely easy but Everton will both create and concede chances.

It could come down to whichever side is the most clinical.

History

us fans may remember the meeting earlier in the season when Unai Emery’s side triumphed 2-0, then in the early stages of an impressive run which has led Gunners’ fans to believe their new manager is leading them in the right direction.

That was their fourth consecutive victory over Everton, a run going back to December 2016 when a late Ashley Williams goal gave the home side a 2-1 success.

Last season, this fixture marked the end of Ronald Koeman’s reign in charge on Merseyside.

Despite going in front through a superb Wayne Rooney goal, Nacho Monreal, Mesut Ozil, Alexandre Lacazette, Alexis Sanchez and Aaron Ramsey were on target in a 5-2 romp.

In fact, Arsenal have won seven and drawn one of their last nine clashes.

Overall, this fixture – a bastion of top-flight English football – has seen Arsenal triumph on 106 occasions, with 60 Everton victories and 45 draws.

Arsenal’s 97 wins in this fixture is an English league record for one side against another.

Betting Tip

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Everton vs Arsenal Draw 1X2 @ 3.20
April 7, 21:05 (GMT+8)

Arsenal are favourites with us Premier League 2019 betting odds.

You can back them 1X2 @ 2.33, compared to Everton @ 3.05 and the draw @ 3.20.

Elsewhere, Asian Handicap odds favour the home side 0.00 @ 2.25 and + 0.25 @ 1.88, with Arsenal -0.50 also available @ 2.33.

Goals are regular commodities in this fixture and over 3.00 goals will pay out @ 2.16, total goal 2-3 @ 1.98 and total goal 4-6 @ 2.94.

Indeed, the Gunners have scored 107 goals versus Everton, a Premier League record against a single team.

A repeat of Arsenal’s 2-0 victory earlier in the season will offer odds of @ 13.00 with correct score, while for Everton to re-run their success of just over two years ago – correct score 2-1 – there’s a bet available @ 10.50.

Double Chance Everton or Draw @ 1.55 suggests this will be a close encounter.

A SHORT EXPLANATION ON HOW OUR (??) BETS ARE WORTH:
?? = €20 (Highly confident) ?? = €10 (CONFIDENT) ?? = €5 (SOMEWHAT CONFIDENT)

Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.

 

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Emery eyeing up away success

Unai Emery admits his Arsenal side need to hit top form away from their own Emirates Stadium to try and ensure a top-four finish in the Premier League.

The Gunners have won their last ten home league games and their last seven in all competitions, but on the road they have just five victories from 14 top-flight games played so far this season.

And, with five of their remaining Premier League games this term away from home, head coach Emery is only too well aware that his players need to start performing better on their travels.

He told reporters ahead of a Sunday afternoon trip to face Everton at Goodison Park: "We know we have five of our seven games away from home. For us it is a big challenge.

"We want to play as well away as we have played (at home). We have confidence now, but we know it is very difficult."

Arsenal can be backed at 27/20 to take all three points at Everton, while the draw is priced at 11/4 and a 2-1 Gunners victory is available at 9/1.

Spaniard Emery went on to speak of the importance of trying to secure a win on Sunday and move clear in third place in the table, with his team embroiled in a battle with Tottenham, Chelsea and Manchester City for a top-four finish.

He added: "I am realistic – we are in a good moment. If we win we are third. We want to win so we can hold this position, but it is a long way (to go).

"We need to be positive but also realistic. Realistically, Sunday is a very big challenge."

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Silva has faith in Calvert-Lewin

Marco Silva believes England Under-21 international Dominic Calvert-Lewin can be an extremely important player for Everton in the future.

The 22-year-old has started Everton's last five Premier League matches and has scored six goals in the top-flight this season, including recent efforts at Cardiff City and Newcastle United.

He was outstanding in last month's 2-0 victory against Chelsea and has now earned a rave review from his manager.

Former Hull City and Watford boss Silva said: "Dominic is developing well and he is scoring goals, which is important to him. It is his best season when you look at the goals he has scored.

"There are more games to play, more good things for him to do. He is a player we believe in.

"He has the talent to achieve what I have told him is possible. He is already an important player for us and can be a really important player for us in the future. Of course, he has many things to improve but he has the quality to improve."

Everton face Arsenal at Goodison Park in the Premier League on Sunday. Calvert-Lewin is 11/5 to score at any time against the Gunners, who beat Newcastle 2-0 on Monday and are 2/5 to finish in the top four this season.

Everton can be backed at 10/1 to win this weekend's match against Arsenal from behind.