Arteta urges Arsenal to embrace ‘battle’ to end Everton curse

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Arteta urges Arsenal to embrace ‘battle’ to end Everton curse

LONDON – Mikel Arteta has warned his Arsenal stars they will only end their Everton curse if they are willing to put their bodies on the line at Goodison Park on Sunday.

The Gunners are without an away win against Everton since 2017 and Arteta knows they will only banish that bitter streak if they match the aggression of Sean Dyche’s team.

Without a league win this season, Everton are already desperate for points, while Arsenal have made an unconvincing start despite their unbeaten record.

“I’m really excited about it, the last six years we have not won there so we are going to have to earn it,” Arteta told reporters on Friday.

“We know we are going to have to be at our best to beat them there and that’s something we haven’t managed to do so that’s where we are going to start.

“We’ve been to grounds before where we haven’t won and we’ve done it. It’s about understanding the importance and knowing what we lacked in those games and putting it right.”

Former Burnley boss Dyche has a well-earned reputation for building bruising teams capable of bullying opponents into submission.

But Arteta is confident Arsenal will be able to stand up to the physical test.

“Sometimes you cannot avoid a battle (with Everton), the style of play they have is very clear and they’re very good at that,” Arteta said.

“It’s about trying to impose your way of playing and the tactic is just to make sure your opponent’s strengths are hiding and that ours are coming out every single time.”

Arsenal’s Champions League opener against PSV Eindhoven next week is their first time back in the competition since the 2016-17 season.

But Arteta is trying to ensure his players are not distracted by their long-awaited return to Europe’s elite club competition.

“We played three games a week last year, but the Champions League is obviously different with the expectations and that we’ve been away from it,” he said.

“This is where we want to be when you look at the fixtures and the games we are going to have to play.”

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