Arsenal Vs Everton: Big Match preview

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Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger feels the fear factor plays a big part in football matches being postponed when "there is no real need for it".

The Gunners were denied the chance to close the gap on Barclays Premier League leaders Chelsea down to just one point when their midweek fixture against struggling Bolton was called off just hours before kick-off due to the extreme weather conditions around the Emirates Stadium.

While the pitch itself, which like most top-flight clubs has under soil heating, may have been playable, the area around the state-of-the-art 60,000-seater venue had become treacherous.

The police also expressed concerns for supporters travelling to and from the stadium.

Wenger can understand the reasons behind such decisions, and is hoping tomorrow's clash with Everton goes ahead.

"Personally I know only the inside of the stadiums - I don't know the surroundings well enough, but I must say it is the price we pay for living in a society where everybody wants 100% security," he said.

"Nobody accepts any risk any more and everybody is always guided by fear.

"If one of 60,000 people has an accident, you feel very guilty and nobody accepts anymore that the slightest insecurity could exist in our society and that is why the games are postponed when there is no real need for it."

Wenger believes should more fixtures fall to the weather, then perhaps the authorities may consider cancelling all the other matches, so as to keep a sense of fair play.

He said: "The question you can ask is, for the fairness of the Premier League, if there are two or three games postponed, should the whole day be re-scheduled?

"Because if you play one team now who fights not to go down, and you play them again in May when they are already safe or already down, it is not the same game."

Arsenal have recovered from slipping 11 points behind Chelsea following their 3-0 home defeat by the Blues at the end of November to be right back in the title race.

Arsenal will again be without captain Cesc Fabregas because of a hamstring strain, but the Spain international is expected to return for next weekend's trip to Bolton.

Denmark striker Nicklas Bendtner has resumed training following a groin problem, and could be back in action by the end of the month.


Everton manager David Moyes has thanked midfielder Tim Cahill - whom he rates as one of his best signings - for leading the club's recent resurgence.

The Australia international scored his 50th goal for the Toffees in last weekend's FA Cup victory over Carlisle but it is his influence in the Premier League campaign which has impressed Moyes.

Everton are unbeaten in the league since defeat to near-neighbours Liverpool at the end of November and, after a shaky start, they are now up to 12th in the table.

Injuries have decimated Moyes' squad this season but in the absence of many established players Cahill has led by example, captaining the side while Phil Neville was injured.

And although his four-goal tally for this season is on the low side for such a prolific midfielder, Moyes could not be happier with the 30-year-old.

"He came from Millwall, who were in the Championship at the time, and we paid #1.5million for him," said the Everton boss.

"He has been really good value for money, not because of the price but because of what he has given us on the field.

"A lot of our resurgence over this period has a lot to do with Tim Cahill so we have a lot to thank him for.

"And he is very good off the field, he has been a great ambassador for us."

Moyes is also hoping loan signing Landon Donovan, who has joined for a 10-week spell from Los Angeles Galaxy, can also give the side a lift.

The 27-year-old United States international only started training with his new club this week, but because of the on-going injury situation Moyes is considering whether he should feature against Arsenal tomorrow.

"He has had a month's holiday off the back-end of their season and to put him back in after five days' training is not really the right thing to do, but the needs are at this present time that we might need to do that," said the Scot.

"When you take players from anywhere you just never quite know but he has been really keen.

"I hope the players see we have tried to bring in a proven international, who can play in several roles for us, who we hope can help us.

"We won't be able to tell that until he has featured in some of the games."

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