Football

Arsenal Vs Everton: Big Match Preview

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Arsenal will be without centre-half Sebastien Squillaci (suspension) and midfielder Samir Nasri (hamstring) for Tuesday night's Barclays Premier League clash against Everton at Emirates Stadium.

Midfielder Denilson (hamstring) and goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski (shoulder) are also not expected to feature, but full-back Bacary Sagna (head) should return to the side, along with Robin van Persie, Theo Walcott, Jack Wilshere, Johan Djourou, Gael Clichy and goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny, who did not play in Sunday's 2-1 FA Cup fourth round win over Huddersfield.

Thomas Vermaelen (Achilles) is still some weeks away from a possible return.

Nicklas Bendtner admits Arsenal are now facing a month of games which could make or break their season.

The Gunners are aiming to keep within striking distance of leaders Manchester United, currently five points ahead.

Bendtner knows with another packed fixture schedule ahead, there is little room for error.

"This next month is a bit of a decider," said the Denmark forward, whose deflected goal put Arsenal ahead against the Terriers, only for them to later need a late Cesc Fabregas penalty to see off the challenge of the npower League One side.

"Two cups will be decided and there are matches which will have a massive influence on the Premier League as well.

"February is a big month for us and at the end of it we will see where we are at. Hopefully it will all look fantastic."

First and foremost, though, Arsenal's battle-weary squad must recover quickly to take on an Everton side who have proved hard to beat away from home this season.

"It is always difficult to play again so quickly. We have played a lot of games, but we are sportsmen and this is what we have to do," Bendtner said.

"We have to be up for the challenge and be ready."

Bendtner, though, maintains Arsenal have developed a new-found resolve this season.

"People have said before that if we were not at our best games would end in draws," the 23-year-old continued.

"This season we have turned those question marks into victories, and that is what is making us stronger game by game."

Wenger feels Nasri's absence will be a "big blow".

Bendtner has challenged the rest of the squad to fill the void.


 

"Samir has been very important and scored some great goals. He can win games by himself, so obviously we will miss him - but someone else will have to step up and take his place," the striker said.

Everton manager David Moyes will check on the fitness of defender Tony Hibbert and striker Victor Anichebe.

Hibbert became ill following the FA Cup draw with Chelsea on Saturday while Anichebe missed the fourth-round tie with a groin problem.

Tim Cahill was due to return to England on Monday after appearing in the Asian Cup for Australia and Moyes says he plans to give the midfielder a few days off.

Moyes believes Louis Saha can help push his side up the table now the French striker has rediscovered his scoring touch.

Saha, 32, made it three goals in four appearances when he netted the opener against Chelsea.

Moyes wants the Frenchman to kick on ahead of the clash with the Gunners.

He said: "Goals change centre-forwards. If they get some goals it makes them look better and everything they do feels much better.

"Louis scored a lot of goals at the start of last season. Let's hope he can score a lot of goals in the second half of this campaign.

"He is playing with a lot more confidence and belief, which goals give you as a centre-forward. I would like to think he can keep it going."

Everton have lost only one of their last 10 games in all competitions and become draw specialists.

Moyes would accept another point in Arsenal's backyard.

He said: "We always want to take three points but if we added another draw I do not think it would be a terrible result. It is always a hard game.

"Arsenal have good sides every year. It is not in question the players and the quality they've got there. They do a good job. They are trying to compete at the top end of the league which is very difficult.

"We have drawn some games we should have won and drawn some where we have been a bit fortunate.

"Getting wins is really important as we have not really had enough of them."

Moyes has taken heart from the performance against Chelsea.

"It was a really good display even though we did not see it through and we need a replay," he said.

"My players did well and in recent games we have looked more liable to score which is pleasing."

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