Arsenal News March 2015

Arsenal News

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Arsenal’s Theo Walcott HAS started negotiations over new Emirates deal, insists Arsene Wenger

theo walcott new deal

Arsene Wenger has said that the club have begun contract negotiations with Theo Walcott after the winger stated the opposite on Twitter.

Despite Walcott’s tweet earlier on this week, Wenger has reiterated his desire to keep the England international reassuring Arsenal fans that talks have indeed begun.

Wenger told beIN Sports: “We start to negotiate with Theo to extend his contract. Personally I would like to keep him.”

However, it seems Wenger has contradicted Walcott who claimed on Twitter that his full attention is solely on playing for the Gunners.

Walcott tweeted on Thursday: “There have been no contract talks as yet and my current focus is not on contracts but on doing my best for Arsenal FC.”

But it is believed that the forward, who is currently earning £90,000-a-week, is hoping to bump up his salary to over £100,000 with a new deal.

While speculation continues to circle around Walcott’s future, Liverpool are reportedly interested and will look to step up their bid if Raheem Sterling decides against renewing his deal at Anfield.

Nottingham Forest confirm Chuba Akpom loan deal

Chuba Akpom loan

Nottingham Forest have confirmed Arsenal youngster Chuba Akpom will join the Championship club…

Newcastle v Arsenal preview

newcastle v arsenal preview

  • Arsenal has won their last six matches against Newcastle United
  • Newcastle has lost three of its last four matches, conceding nine goals
  • Olivier Giroud has nine goals in his last 11 games

With the Gunners spirited but nevertheless out of the Champions League, the team can now focus on retaining that status. Liverpool is scorching hot and just three points adrift of the Gunners, while Manchester United is a measly point back.

So this week is all about getting back on the horse against Newcastle at St. James Park on Saturday (Watch live, 11:00 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via Live Extra). Arsenal has torched the Magpies in recent history, with six wins in their last six, and they could use all three points now more than ever.


Arsene Wenger has no new injury concerns for the Gunners, while Newcastle is going to be without Fabricio Coloccini as their captain serves a three-match ban for his sending off last weekend. Many expect Daryl Janmaat to deputize in the center of the pitch. The Coloccini suspension leaves Newcastle with just 13 outfield players fit and available for the match as they look to turn around a poor stretch of results.

What they’re saying:

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger on full-backs: “When you look back at the positive results of the team you always realise that you have great full-backs. That is a vital part in any successful team. Today they are dangerous going forward. They have crucial, important decisions to make defensively, and they contribute in a reliable way to the defensive efficiency. It’s probably one of the most important positions in the team.”

Newcastle manager John Carver on future captaincy: “Since I took over this situation Tim Krul has been one of the leaders. He’s been one of the big characters. He is certainly one who drives the team. He’s got an opinion too, which is great and he speaks up for himself.”


Arsenal is looking to pounce on a Newcastle side that is struggling for consistency. The Magpies have looked defensively sound at home, but still truly struggle to score. The Gunners eek out a nervy but vital three points by a 2-1 scoreline.

Wenger’s men must make Champions League history

monaco v arsenal preview

No team, with the competition in its current format, has ever progressed needing more than one away goal, with the Gunners looking to overturn a 3-1 first-leg deficitArsene Wenger has urged his Arsenal players to believe in the prospect of an improbable Champions League turnaround at Monaco on Tuesday.The Premier League club endured a humiliating 3-1 defeat when the sides met in the first leg of their last-16 clash at Emirates Stadium last month.No team in the Champions League era has progressed going into the second leg of a tie needing to score more than once away from home to avoid elimination.Barring this unprecedented comeback, Arsenal will exit at the first knockout round for a fifth consecutive season, but their form since Monaco’s triumphant night in London offers plenty of reasons for encouragement.Danny Welbeck returned to haunt his old club with an FA Cup quarter-final winner at Manchester United on Monday and Saturday’s 3-0 derby victory over West Ham United was a fifth consecutive league success that closed Wenger’s men to within a point of out-of-form Manchester City in second.”We now go to Monaco and come out of a big week because we played at Man United, we played a derby,” Wenger said. “We need belief to prepare well so let’s do that.”After that we’ll see. If you have no belief, you have no chance. We have to believe we can do it and give everything.”We know this time Monaco are favourites so we have to go there, give absolutely everything and come back out of the game with that feeling.”Wenger has a selection quandary in attack, where he must choose between Welbeck and Olivier Giroud in the central striking role.France international Giroud was the subject of much scorn following a nightmare performance in the first leg, although his goal against West Ham was a sixth in seven outings.Monaco should be in a similarly buoyant mood to Giroud and Arsenal following a 3-0 Ligue 1 win over nine-man Bastia on Friday, where Anthony Martial bagged a brace.Leonardo Jardim’s men can also be bolstered by a miserly defensive record that saw them keep three clean sheets in their home group matches this season – results that extended an unbeaten European run at the Stade Louis II.Andrea Raggi (knee) and Tiemoue Bakayoko (hamstring) are both sidelined for the hosts, while Wenger is without Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain due to an ankle problem.Monaco’s Lacina Traore (broken leg) is a long-term absentee, as are Arsenal trio Jack Wilshere, Mikel Arteta (both ankle) and Mathieu Debuchy.

Arsene Wenger confident of Champions League progression ahead of Monaco showdown

ARSENAL have it all to do after losing 3-1 to Monaco last month, but Arsene Wenger believes there’s enough belief in his side to overturn their Champions League deficit in Tuesday’s return match.

“We can go there and create something special. I believe that we will have the desire to do it and give absolutely everything to do it.

“I think we wanted too much to make a difference in the first game and forgot our basics. That means to defend well and attack well. We just focused on attacking well.

“[We need to] do what we did [against West Ham United], go until the last second, be patient and play a quality game. We need to focus on the quality of what we want to do and try to do it together.”

Arsenal CAN beat Man United to SHOCK Bale transfer!!

gareth bale arsenal transfer

I once wrote an article about Gareth Bale being fed up with the Spuds and wanting to join Arsenal, but it was April Fools day. Strangely enough though, since then the Welsh wizard has admitted on Spanish radio that he used to be an Arsenal fan, as a report in The Mirrorrevealed.

And now it appears that Bale is ready to call time on his time at Real Madrid and would like to return to the Premier League. The reasons given in another report by The Mirror today are that he wants his young daughter to be educated and brought up in Britain and that he wants to settle down permanently.

Anyone who has been watching Spanish football recently will know that there is more to it than that, as Bale has become the subject of the Madrid fans´ frustrations for their recent poor form. They are whistling and jeering him as he plays and it all started with Ronaldo having a hissy fit because Bale dared to shoot instead of passing.

As a BBC report this week showed, Bale is under serious attack from the Spanish press and all this is clearly getting to him and affecting his game on the pitch. Who knows what it is doing to his morale off the pitch as well. When you consider that he was a major part of them winning a 10th Champions League last season, it seems incredibly unfair, and you thought some Arsenal fans could be hard on our players!

Okay so it looks like he could move on this summer and everyone seems to think it will be to Manchester United, but what if they fail to secure a Champions League spot, which seems ever more likely? The thing is, Arsenal can afford Bale. We could afford to buy two of him just with the cash reserves we are sitting on. He might cost around £70 million but that is like buying Ozil and Chambers.

Kroenke and Gazidis should also know that the amount of publicity and shirt sales his transfer would generate would be unbelievable. And it would send out a real message of intent as well as making the Gunners into a team that could win the Premier League and maybe even the Champions League.

Imagine a front three of Alexis, Giroud and Bale with the likes of Ozil, Cazorla, Ramsey and Coquelin in midfield. That team would be absolutely terrifying to play against. Why would Bale want to join a struggling United when he could come back to London and make the team he supported as a boy into world beaters?

Arsene Wenger has called on Arsenal to stand up and be counted ahead of Saturday’s Barclays Premier League encounter with West Ham United.

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The Gunners battled to a 2-1 victory at Manchester United on Monday to book their place in the FA Cup semi-finals, but face the daunting task of coming from 3-1 down at Monaco in the second leg of their UEFA Champions League last-16 tie next Tuesday.

With his side sitting third in the top flight, Wenger recognises the pressures that come with fighting for silverware on three fronts, but says it is now time for his players to make a name for themselves.

“We can only help so much, 99 per cent is down to the individual,” he told “We can push them over the line with the one per cent we can give, but 99 per cent is them having the responsibility to make their own life.

“You have to stand up to be strong enough, to fight, to show that you have the courage and that you’re not inhibited because you’re under pressure, and that’s the difficulty of the modern player.

“That has increased and the resistance to stress from the young players is immense today because everything is analysed. Every pass you make, every first touch, how far you run, how much you fight, everything.”

Arsenal, aiming for a fifth successive BPL win, received plenty of plaudits for their performance at Old Trafford on Monday and West Ham manager Sam Allardyce is braced for a tricky encounter at Emirates Stadium.

“I watched Arsenal’s game away at Manchester United and everyone could see the quality they have,” he said. “We know how difficult it is at the Emirates, where we’ve actually gone in front a few times but not managed to hold on.

“We’ll go there and give it our best shot and see what happens. I think they have different threats from all over the team, which is why they are so difficult to beat, especially at home.

“We conceded two goals very quickly in the reverse fixture [Arsenal were 2-1 winners at the Boleyn Ground in December] which was the only difference between the two teams on the day.”

Arsenal remain without the services of Gabriel Paulista (hamstring), Jack Wilshere (ankle), Mikel Arteta (ankle), Mathieu Debuchy (shoulder) and Serge Gnabry (knee), while there are doubts over the availability of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who injured a hamstring against United.

West Ham’s biggest injury concern is Enner Valencia, who cut his toe on a broken cup in an accident at home, and Winston Reid is set to miss out due to a hamstring problem. Former Arsenal midfielder Alex Song is struggling with a knee issue and Carl Jenkinson is ineligible to face his parent club.

A run of one win in their last 11 league matches has left West Ham lying 10th.

Arsenal (from): Martinez, Ospina, Szczesny, Bellerin, Chambers, Gibbs, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Monreal, Cazorla, Coquelin, Flamini, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ozil, Ramsey, Rosicky, Akpom, Giroud, Sanchez, Walcott, Welbeck.

West Ham (from): Adrian, Jaaskelainen, Collins, Cresswell, Demel, O’Brien, Potts, Reid, Tomkins, Amalfitano, Downing, Jarvis, Kouyate, Lletget, Noble, Nolan, Poyet, Song, Sakho, Valencia.

Match Appointments
 Chris Foy Assistants: A Garratt, D Bryan Fourth Official: A Taylor

Match Facts
Arsenal’s Theo Walcott has scored five goals and set up three more in his last four Barclays Premier League matches against West Ham United.

West Ham have won none of the last 13 Barclays Premier League fixtures against Arsenal (W0 D2 L11), losing the last eight in a row.

The Hammers have scored the first goal in four of the last five BPL meetings with Arsenal but the Gunners have come back to win on each occasion.

Arsenal have won seven consecutive home league matches.&nbsp; They last won eight in a row in November 2005 (13).

Arsenal’s Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain facing a month on the sidelines

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain injury news

Read full article…

Manchester United v Arsenal preview

man utd vs arsneal fa cup

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Manchester United take on Arsenal in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup on Monday with Arsene Wenger expecting a typically intense clash between the two teams.

Old Trafford will play host to the most successful clubs in the competition’s history, after Arsenal’s win over Hull City last year brought them level with United on 11 FA Cup triumphs apiece.

And Wenger knows that the team to prevail from this tie will strongly fancy their chances of bringing up number 12 at Wembley in May.

“It is a [game with] special intensity because it is between two teams who have a chance to win this competition,” the Arsenal boss told his pre-match media conference.

“Both teams will think: ‘If we get over this hurdle, we have a good opportunity to win the competition’.”

The rivalry between United and Arsenal intensified in the modern era as Wenger led a succession of battles for the Premier League title against old nemesis Sir Alex Ferguson.

An altogether more pragmatic tussle for a top-four place now occupies Wenger and opposite number Louis van Gaal on a weekly basis, with the FA Cup representing the most realistic chance of silverware for both teams this season.

Wayne Rooney has secured nine major honours during his time at Old Trafford, but does not count an FA Cup winners’ medal among his collection.

Having been on the losing side in finals against Arsenal in 2005 and Chelsea in 2007, it is a situation the England forward is keen to remedy.

“We haven’t been to a final for a few years, we want to try to win that game and we are looking forward to that,” he told United’s official website

“Of course, I think it is a massive trophy. It is a trophy that, growing up as a youngster, I used to love watching and I was fortunate enough to see Everton lift the FA Cup in 1995 when I was nine years old. It is something which I would love to do and hopefully it can be this year.”

Both teams have defensive absentees heading into the match.

Gabriel Paulista misses out for Arsenal due to a hamstring injury that is set to keep him on the sidelines for around three weeks, while United’s Jonny Evans begins a six-match suspension for his involvement in a spitting incident with Newcastle United striker Papiss Cisse in midweek .

Danny Welbeck returns to Old Trafford for the first time since moving to Arsenal in August and recent form suggests there should be little to choose between the two sides.

Arsenal have won 10 of their past 12 games in all competitions, while United have only tasted defeat twice in their past 22 outings.

Arsenal’s Provisional Squad: Ospina, Szczesny, Bellerin, Gibbs, Chambers, Monreal, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Coquelin, Ramsey, Rosicky, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Cazorla, Ozil, Sanchez, Walcott, Welbeck, Giroud, Akpom.

The Gunners will put their defence of the trophy on the line when they travel to Old Trafford for Monday night’s quarter-final

wenger fa cup against manchester united

Their recent record at the Theatre of Dreams leaves much to be desired – they have not won there since Emmanuel Adebayor secured a 1-0 triumph in 2006.

But Wenger’s men are in good form away from home, winning four of their last five games on the road

And they produced arguably their best away performance of the season on their last visit to Manchester when a superb defensive display set up a 2-0 win against City following Santi Cazorla’s first-half penalty.

Wenger believes a repeat performance is dependent on his side grabbing the first goal and insists he is not worried about Arsenal’s previous Old Trafford nightmares.

“It will be decided by who scores the first goal,” the Frenchman said.

“Because at Manchester City we scored first, then we were more on the defensive.

“What is for sure is you need a winner after the game, so that means both teams will go for it.

“We will have to attack well and defend well on both sides.

“I don’t believe too much in history I believe just in the performance of the day.

“At the moment we are doing very well away from home and the size of the pitch is exactly the same everywhere.

“It is just down to how we turn up and how much effort we put in to win the game.”

The trip north will see Danny Welbeck return to Old Trafford for the first time since his £16m move to the Emirates last summer.

The striker has scored seven goals in 26 appearances for Arsenal including a hat-trick against Galatasary in the Champions League group stages.

But he has found himself on the substitutes bench in recent matches with Wenger preferring Olivier Giroud in the central striker role with Alexis Sanchez supporting the Frenchman.

It has prompted suggestions that Welbeck’s Arsenal career could follow a similar path to his United one, where he was highly regarded but found playing time limited.

However, Wenger insists the 24-year-old remains a key part of his plans and thinks the competition for places – which has also seen Theo Walcott, Per Mertesacker, Calum Chambers and Wojciech Szczesny warming the bench – can only help Arsenal’s ambitions.

“Danny is very important to the team. He has played many many games since the start of the season, playing in nearly every single game,” Wenger said.

“I believe that Danny puts a lot of effort in for the team. He plays very well and he is an exceptional football player. I’m very very happy that I bought him and I think he has a great future at Arsenal.

“People always raise questions when you do not have enough players and when you have enough players. We have chosen a job where competition is part of our job and that means you cannot complain about that.

“Our job is to serve the club and compete with other people to do as well as we can to serve the club.”

Wenger will be without January signing Gabriel Paulista for the game after the Brazilian was ruled out for two to three weeks with the hamstring injury he suffered against QPR on Wednesday.

But Nacho Monreal and Szczesny will return to the squad should they pass fitness tests today.

Goalkeeper Szczesny has lost his No.1 spot to David Ospina since the turn of the year, only playing against Brighton and Middlesbrough in the FA Cup following costly errors against Southampton on New Year’s Day.

But Wenger claims he will have no hesitation restoring the Pole to the starting XI against United should he be free of the illness which forced him to miss the QPR game.

“Wojciech is used to playing big games and I think that he will take it as a big challenge to show his quality,” he added.

“He works very hard and I don’t think [his lack of match action] will be a problem.”

City plot shock move for £22M Arsenal star

jack wilshere transfer news

Manchester City are said to be keen on signing Jack Wilshere at the end of the season.

The Premier League champions are looking to add homegrown talents to their squad over the summer and have put the 23-year-old on top of their list, according to the Sunday Mirror.

Wilshere has struggled to stay fit this season, making just 10 starts, and faces a battle to get back intoArsene Wenger’s first-team plans.

In recent years, City have signed Gael Clichy, Bacary Sagna, Emmanuel Adebayor and Samir Nasri from the Gunners and Arsenal legend Patrick Vieira is also their Elite Developments coach.

The England international’s future has been clouded with some uncertainty after a few incidents off the pitch, with pictures emerging of him smoking on holiday, but still has three-years left to run on his existing deal at the Emirates – meaning prising Wilshere away from the Emirates will not be easy.

Despite his off-field behaviour, Wilshere, who is valued at £22 million by, is highly-rated by Wenger and the fans, and unless an offer too good to turn down is tabled, the tenacious midfielder will remain at Arsenal.

Southampton set to offer Morgan Schneiderlin £60,000-a-week to stave off Arsenal interest

morgan schneiderlin transfer arsenal

Southampton are ready to break the bank to stop Morgan Schneiderlin going to Arsenal. France international Schneiderlin is Arsenal’s No1 midfield target this summer but the Saints have begun contract talks to try to tie him down to St Mary’s. Even if Schneiderlin doesn’t sign a new deal, they will slap a £25million-plus price-tag on his head to try to scare off potential suitors, which would mean only the likes of the Gunners and Manchester United from the interested parties could afford him. Schneiderlin, 25, has got two more years left on his current contract and Southampton are ready to make him their top earner on around £60,000-a-week. Gunners boss Arsene Wenger has already tied down emerging star Francis Coquelin to a new deal while fellow holding midfielder, and captain, Mikel Arteta is signed up until 2016. But that will not stop Wenger from moving for a new face at the position, with Schneiderlin heading the list of targets. Arsenal are also long-time admirers of Bayer Leverkusen’s Lars Bender and Christoph Kramer and Ilkay Gundogan of Borussia Dortmund. Schneiderlin was on Wenger’s radar last summer but Saints made it clear they did not want to sell, and resisted several approaches from Tottenham.

New signing Gabriel Paulista is set for a minimum three week absence

gabriel paulista injury qpr

New signing Gabriel Paulista is set for a minimum three week absence…

Why Arsenal should worry about `Lucky´ Man Utd

man utd vs arsenal

There is such a thing as good luck in football, honestly Arsenal fans I have seen it happen to other teams, and there is no doubt that our next opponents Manchester United have had their fair share of it this season. But when a side keeps being called lucky as they win, you have to wonder if there is a bit more to it.

To be honest, I kept thinking that it would all catch up with them but they keep grinding out the results and I am starting to believe that it is because that is what they are set up to do. Once again last night, away to Newcastle, United had to call on David De Gea. The Spaniard has rescued them countless times this season, including at the Emirates when we battered them without scoring. But is it lucky to have a good keeper?

The creative players and strikers of Arsenal will need to be sharp in order to breach De Gea´s goal on Monday, that is for sure.

And although their attacking play is far from fluent, they keep coming up with the goals to win or draw games. Ashley Young scored their winner right at the end last night, with the benefit if a defensive mix-up, but if he and Rooney and Januzaj had not been pushing until the end and pressing the Newcastle defenders and keeper, it would have been a draw. Van Gaal has clearly got them playing this way because he feels it is their best chance of winning and you can´t argue with their results and their place in the league table.

What I´m saying is that we should not dismiss them as lucky, because just two defeats in 22 games cannot be a coincidence. What do you think Gooners?

QPR v Arsenal match preview

qpr v arsenal

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Chris Ramsey’s side are out of the drop zone on goal difference only and welcome a Gunners’ side eyeing second spot after moving to within four point of Manchester City

Charlie Austin believes QPR are ready to kick-start their fight for Premier League survival when they return to action against Arsenal on Wednesday.

QPR did not play last weekend due to Tottenham’s involvement in the League Cup final – and they watched on from Dubai as fellow strugglers Sunderland, Burnley and Aston Villa all lost.

Chris Ramsey’s side are out of the bottom three on goal difference only, but now have a game in hand on all of the teams around them, with the exception of bottom-placed Leicester City.

QPR face a huge battle to maintain their top-flight status, but top scorer Austin is confident they have what it takes.

“We’re raring to go, we have got two big games at home coming up with Tottenham visiting on Saturday,” he told the club’s official website. “Hopefully we can continue our home form.

“We’ve got 12 games left, a big 12 games – it’s a 12-game season now for us, hopefully we can get enough points.”

QPR’s home form had been in stark contrast to their dismal away record up until the end of December, but the west London club have taken just two points from their last four outings at Loftus Road.

Successive defeats to Manchester United and Southampton have harmed their bid for survival, and Wednesday’s visit of another Champions League-chasing team is sure to represent a tough test.

Arsenal sit just four points adrift of second-placed Manchester City after their 2-0 win over Everton on Sunday, and goalkeeper David Ospina feels upbeat despite last Wednesday’s chastening Champions League defeat to Monaco.

“We know we are close to them now but we need to concentrate on ourselves and not think about them City,” said the Colombian. “We will keep doing our job, picking up points and then see what happens.

“After what happened against Monaco, the only thing that was important was to continue increasing our confidence and keeping heading up the table.

“Now we are already thinking about the next one, which is QPR.”

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger continues to be light in midfield due to the absences of Jack Wilshere (ankle), Mathieu Flamini (hamstring) and Mikel Arteta (ankle), while Francis Coquelin is a doubt after breaking his nose against Everton.

Ramsey has no new injury problems – with knee issues continuing to rule out Mauricio Isla, Leroy Fer, Richard Dunne, Sandro and Alejandro Faurlin – but captain Joey Barton begins his three-match suspension after he was sent off against Hull City.

ARSENE WENGER has revealed he was delighted with Arsenal’s victory over Everton.

giroud vs everton

The Gunners’ recorded a 2-0 triumph over Roberto Martinez’s side earlier today to partially erase the memory of their Champions League defeat to Monaco.

Speaking after the match, Wenger hailed his players for their positive response to Wednesday’s loss and claimed the victory was a ‘mentally determined’ one.

He said: “We were focused, it was a mentally determined performance.

“You could see we suffered on Wednesday night against Monaco and that was still in our mind but we were patient, that got us a good chance and we got a good win today.

“We were a bit cautious. We just wanted to do our job and win. I am very happy with the mental aspect of our response. With the ball we could do better but the win was the focus today. We just needed the win because the result was very significant for the rest of the season.

“It is tight at the top of the table. It is down to consistency.”

Wilshere’s comeback delayed by more surgery on ankle

jack wilshere injury

Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere has had more surgery on his left ankle…read more

Arsenal v Everton match preview

arsenal v everton preview

Arsenal will want to put Wednesday’s Champions League shock defeat to Monaco firmly behind them when Everton travel to the Emirates on Sunday.

The Gunners were left smarting when last season’s Ligue 1 runners-up caused the upset of the round with an assured 3-1 win in North London.

Despite the manner of the defeat, Sunday’s game presents Arsene Wenger’s side with an instant opportunity to respond and pull clear of their top-four chasing rivals.

Contrary to the Gunners, Everton head to London buoyed after booking their place in the last-16 of the Europa League with a convincing 7-2 aggregate victory over BSC Young Boys.

Key to their progression has been the form of striker Romelu Lukaku, who scored five goals against the Swiss side in the last round. He will be hoping to transfer his European form to the league as the Toffees bid to climb the table after an inconsistent start to the season.

Team news

Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere is set for a short spell on the sidelines following a minor procedure to remove a stud in his ankle which was causing discomfort.

Midfielders Aaron Ramsey and Mathieu Flamini (both hamstring) are set to train on Friday, but are not expected to be available.

Mikel Arterta (ankle), Abou Diaby (calf) and Mathieu Debuchy (shoulder) all continue their recoveries.

Everton boss Roberto Martinez expects Lukaku to be fit. The striker came off early in the second half of Thursday’s Europa League victory over Young Boys, but Martinez has played down suggestions a hamstring problem might keep the striker out of the game at the Emirates, saying he is “fine” and “trained well” on Friday.

The Toffees have John Stones and Aaron Lennon – suspended and cup-tied respectively on Thursday – back available, but remain without Steven Pienaar, Aiden McGeady (both knee), Christian Atsu (illness), Bryan Oviedo (hamstring) and Tony Hibbert (knee).

Opta facts

Arsenal have now gone five games without a win against Everton, their worst such run in the history of this fixture.

Steven Naismith has scored in his last two Premier League appearances against the Gunners.

Everton have won none of their last 20 away matches against Arsenal in all competitions (D4 L16).

Mesut Ozil has scored two goals and set up one more in three appearances against Everton in all competitions.

Only Everton (17) and Swansea (16) have dropped more points from winning positions than Arsenal (14) in the Premier League this season.

Merson’s prediction

Arsenal will win this match quite easily. Everton are struggling quite badly at the moment and only got out of jail last week with a last-minute goal at home to Leicester.

It is Arsenal all over really, they will get back to normal and then their disastrous Wednesday against Monaco will all be forgotten about. So I do not see anything other than an Arsenal win here.



Arsenal News January / February