Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has called on home supporters inside the Emirates to play a ‘crucial’ role in the Gunners’ Premier League encounter with Everton today, reports liverpoolecho.co.uk.
The Blues travel to North London this evening, just days after being edged by Aston Villa at Goodison Park after strikes from Ollie Watkins and Emiliano Buendia.
It means Sean Dyche’s side, who defeated the Premier League leaders just three weeks ago, travel to the Emirates sitting 18th in the league table and in desperate need of putting points on the board after wins for Leeds United and West Ham over the weekend.
Arteta, who spent six years at Everton, is under no illusion of how tough a test his former side will pose this evening, but believes the home supporters will have a big influence on the result.
“They’re going to be crucial,” said Arteta when asked about the supporters’ importance in the title race. “Tomorrow we expect to have the same support because with it we’re going to be closer to winning that game for sure.”
The fixture will also see the 40-year-old Spaniard come up against Dyche, who he has only managed to get the better of on one out of six encounters during his career, and Arteta is hoping his side can demonstrate the right mentality to overcome their defeat from earlier in the year.
“It’s a case of doing things better than we did when we played there a few weeks ago and earn the right to win the game,” added Arteta.
“Hopefully tomorrow we’ll play much better than we did that day.”
Elsewhere, Liverpool boss, Jurgen Klopp, yesterday, issued a positive injury update on his squad ahead of the Premier League clash.
Klopp was in danger of being without up to five first-team players for the match, which is crucial to the Reds’ faint hopes of breaking into the top four and qualifying for the Champions League. But striker Darwin Nunez and centre-back Ibrahima Konate are in contention to return to the squad for the midweek clash.
Nunez missed Saturday’s goalless draw at Crystal Palace with a shoulder problem but trained fully on Monday and, providing there is no reaction, looks set to go straight back into the side. Konate, who has been out for a month with a hamstring problem, is also back with the squad, while Joe Gomez, Thiago Alcantara and Luis Diaz remain sidelined.
“Joe Gomez is out. Ibou (Konate) trained yesterday (Monday) completely normal and Darwin as well. Then we will see,” said Klopp in his pre-match press conference.
“Darwin, we have to see. It looked absolutely OK yesterday, but we have to see how he reacts. Thiago is in rehab. Luis, I watched half-an-hour of rehab session on the pitch, doing shooting, moving. [He looked] really good but not in team training yet.”
Klopp added: “We haven’t had the full squad on the training pitch, but last week, even without Thiago and Luis, we had 26 outfield players. The squad is not too small.”
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