Aaron Ramsey has been passed fit for Arsenal’s trip to Everton on Sunday, as Unai Emery’s side look to strengthen their grip on a top-four place.
The 28-year-old midfielder was substituted with a groin injury in Monday’s 2-0 victory over Newcastle having scored their opening goal, and his recent fine form would make his absence keenly felt.
With Granit Xhaka facing a late fitness test, Ramsey’s availability provides a further boost for Emery’s improving team, in which the attacking talents of Mesut Ozil are also an increasing strength.
Emery said: “Aaron trained normally and all the players are working.
“We are thinking game by game and we know seven matches, and five away, for us is a big challenge. We have confidence now but we know it is very difficult. It’s a long way for the last matches.
“We hope we can take the next matches. Three points like Sunday with Everton is the most important because we know also the other teams are going to demand a lot of us.
“Everton won against Chelsea 2-0 and drew against Liverpool in their last matches at home.”
Ozil, 30, is pushing to retain his place, having featured less for Emery in away fixtures. Laurent Koscielny faces a late assessment on a foot injury, while Lucas Torreira misses out through suspension.
“(Mesut) is working well and helping us. I am very happy with him,” added Emery. “The team has good effort and good spirit and each player is helping us with his quality. This is the spirit I want. They are doing that and Mesut is another.”
Arsenal are currently level on points with fifth-place Chelsea, who face West Ham on Monday.
In a week when the racist abuse suffered by Juventus’ Moise Kean at Cagliari has been in the headlines, as well as comments on the subject from other players, Emery was also asked if it was right to take players off the pitch if they are being racially abused.
“I agree,” he responded. “We need to be together against the racism and not let the racism in the stadium.”