Arsenal will be without Danny Welbeck when they travel to Everton in the Premier League this Sunday (22 October). The England striker went off after an hour of the defeat to Watford last weekend and, after failing to feature in the Europa League success at Red Star Belgrade, will not be considered for selection for the game at Goodison Park.
Welbeck had previously missed five games, including England's final two World Cup qualifiers, due to a hip problem suffered in the draw at Chelsea in September. He lasted just 61 minutes at Vicarage Road after suffering a hamstring injury. Meanwhile Laurent Koscielny was replaced with five minutes remaining thanks to a muscular problem, but is fit enough to return.
Calum Chambers (whose return from a hip issue has been pushed back another two weeks), Shkodran Mustafi and Santi Cazorla are also missing for Arsenal. However, Francis Coquelin is in line for his first Premier League appearance since September after recovering from a hamstring injury – he played the full 90 minutes in Belgrade on Thursday – and David Ospina is also available after missing the trip to Serbia. Mathieu Debuchy is back in contention after making his first appearance of the season in the Europa League.
After a seven match unbeaten run, which included six wins and a draw at champions Chelsea, a listless defeat at Watford raised familiar shortcomings and leaves Arsenal nine points behind leaders Manchester City.
Arsene Wenger's team travel to an Everton side who have won just two of their last 12 games in all competitions, with manager Ronald Koeman under significant pressure having spent £140m (€156m) in the summer. Former Gunners midfielder Paul Merson expects Arsenal to take full advantage.
He told Sky Sports: "Which Arsenal will turn up? The one we've been raving about for a month before Watford? Or the team who turned up at Watford?
"This could be a must-win game for Ronald Koeman on Sunday. You look at Craig Shakespeare's sacking, and Leicester were always tipped to finish mid-table. Everton were a shoe-in for seventh, at least, and Koeman is under severe pressure. They could be in the bottom three after this.
"I'm going for Arsenal. I know they were beaten at Watford, but Everton are not a team who are going to kick you off the pitch. Arsenal will be more comfortable playing against them. Koeman bought a lot of the same in the summer, and lost Romelu Lukaku. I don't think it was money well spent."
Provisional Arsenal squad to face Everton [The Mirror]:
Cech, Ospina, Mertesacker, Holding, Koscielny, Monreal, Debuchy, Bellerin, Nelson, Kolasinac, Maitland-Niles, Ramsey, Wilshere, Xhaka, Elneny, Coquelin, Ozil, Giroud, Walcott, Sanchez, Iwobi, Lacazette.