Aaron Ramsey could make his long-awaited comeback from a thigh injury for Arsenal’s vital encounter with Everton on Sunday.
Ramsey has been out of action since suffering the problem in the 3-1 victory over West Ham on Boxing Day and has endured a series of setbacks to turn an initial prognosis of a few weeks on the sidelines to more than three months out. Having scored 10 goals from midfield in the first half of the season, his absence has been a major blow as Arsenal’s title challenge has faltered in recent weeks and they were knocked out of the Champions League.
Arsenal’s focus now is on ending their long trophy drought in the FA Cup, in which they take on Wigan Athletic in the semifinals in just over a week, as well as ensuring they qualify for next season’s Champions League. Ramsey could now play a major part in both, starting with this weekend’s clash at Goodison Park against Arsenal’s biggest rivals for fourth place. There is further good news, with left-back Nacho Monreal back in contention following a short absence and Abou Diaby, after more than a year out with a cruciate ligament injury, having rejoined training.
“Aaron and Nacho Monreal are back training with the squad, so that is good news,” Gunners boss Arsene Wenger said, according to Arsenal’s official website. “Hopefully they will be available for Sunday. Diaby is back on the pitches, so that is good news.”
Ramsey will be hopeful of a place on the substitute’s bench, with the aim of getting some valuable minutes under his belt in the second half. But the main target will surely be for him to play a larger role in Arsenal’s trip to Wembley next Saturday. Unfortunately, the semifinal will come too soon for Mesut Ozil. The Gunners’ £42 million record signing has been absent since injuring his hamstring in the second leg of Arsenal’s Champions League defeat to Bayern Munich last month.
“The FA Cup will be too soon for him, but he will hopefully be back soon after that,” explained Wenger.
Laurent Koscielny has a chance of being fit for the Wembley occasion, with Wenger stating that the French center-back faces another week to two weeks on the sidelines with his calf problem. Club captain Thomas Vermaelen will thus continue to fill in alongside Per Mertesacker against Everton.
Arsenal’s other absentees face a longer wait to return. Jack Wilshere was diagnosed with six weeks out, with a further two weeks to get back up to match fitness, following the fracturing of a bone in his foot in England’s friendly with Denmark at the start of last month. Meanwhile, Theo Walcott was ruled out for at least six months with a cruciate ligament injury in January.
“They are alright, they are doing well,” Wenger said when providing an update on the injured pair. “It is still early for them, of course for Theo the season is finished and Jack is progressing well.”