Date: 13th August 2009 at 9:00am
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In a returning feature for the site, we’ll be sending brief questions across to the fans of rival clubs to get their thoughts on the upcoming fixtures. The new Premiership season is almost upon us and we kick ours off with a difficult away match to Everton.

Historically, Arsenal have a good record against the blue half of Liverpool, but Goodison Park is never an easy place to go to and Everton under David Moyes are always a team who can cause trouble for the strongest sides. We caught up with Matthew Gamble from the official Everton website and asked what he thinks of the new season and his prediction for the upcoming match.

Arsenal Mania: Matthew, thanks for taking the time to answer our questions.
Matthew Gamble: No problem.

AM: Who do you think will be Arsenal’s biggest threat in the match?
MG: You’d imagine much of the emphasis will be on Cesc Fabregas in the midfield, especially after he missed most of last season.

AM: Who do we have to look out for from your team?
MG: Louis Saha has had a good pre-season and looks fit and sharp, while Tim Cahill scored twice for Australia in midweek and is always a man for the big occasion.

AM: How will you play against us?
MG: Difficult to say – the manager will be keeping his tactics close to his chest!

AM: Looking at the head-to-head, we have quite a good record over you. What do you think the score will be?
MG: Arsène Wenger has gone on the record to say what a hard place Goodison is to play at, so perhaps he’d be happy with a draw. Everton could sneak it by the odd goal though.

AM: How has pre-season treated you, any new signings that would make a big impact on your season?
MG: Jo is our main new signing so far this summer and he looked really good but could be a doubt for this game with an ankle knock.

AM: Which Arsenal player would you like in your squad?
MG: No comment.

AM: Do you agree with the billionaire investor culture in the league at the moment?
MG: No comment.

AM: Where do you expect to finish this season?
MG: As high up the table as possible! We’ve been fifth the last two seasons and improvement – or even matching that – would probably be regarded as a big success.

JazzG from Arsenal Mania also took the time to answer some reciprocal questions from Everton.

MG: How do you assess your pre-season?
JazzG: A pretty standard build up to the new season, some ok performances in the Emirates cup but a poor performance against Valencia. Most of us still aren’t quite sure how we will line up this season.

MG: Who’s impressed in pre-season?
JazzG: Jack Wilshere has looked the most impressive, I feel he might be a few years off holding a first team place down but he has not looked out of place in our first team in the last few matches.

MG: Star of last season?
JazzG: While we had a few steady performers throughout the season like Manual Alumunia I think Andrei Arshavin was the stand out performer despite only arriving in January. Until he arrived we looked like we would fall out of the Top 4 but his arrival really revitalised us. He put in some great performances as well including that memorable performance at Anfield which I’m sure most Evertonians quite enjoyed.

MG: Biggest loss to the squad?
JazzG: We have lost two key players in Adebayor and Touré, one we will miss for his goals but I think we will miss Kolo more. Despite some indifferent form in the last few years on the whole he has been a solid performer for us.

MG: Who’s got something to prove?
JazzG: Eduardo and Rosicky are two who will feel they have something to prove. Both have had a rough time with injuries in recent times so and hopefully they can move on from that. Eduardo is the one I’m really looking forward to seeing. Everton fans I’m sure will remember how good a finisher he is and hopefully he will stay fit this season and score many goals for us.

MG: Your likely tactics?
JazzG: We will most likely go in with a 4-5-1 formation. I don’t think we will be as attacking as we usually are but I can see us have a decent share of possession in this game.

MG: Which Everton player do you fear?
JazzG: Tim Cahill is the one to look out for, I believe he has scored against us in our last two league visits to Goodison Park and we do have a big weakness on crosses and set pieces, an area where Cahill seems to thrive in.

MG: Predicted scoreline?
JazzG: I think it will be a score draw, most probably 2-2.

MG: Your predicted finish this season?
JazzG: Unfortunately can’t see us finishing higher than 4th, not without a few much needed additions to the squad.

Arsenal Mania would like to thank Matthew for his time. You can view the reciprocating piece here.


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