Aaron Ramsey injury latest: Arsenal midfielder in squad for vital Everton clash

Ramsey has not played since the Boxing Day victory over West Ham after suffering a thigh injury

Aaron Ramsey has been included in the Arsenal squad for Sunday’s crucial trip to Everton, 14 weeks after his last appearance with the midfielder finally recovered from a thigh injury.

The Welshman was instrumental in the Gunners’ rise to the top of the Premier League, but his impressive form through the first half of the season was cut short when he suffered a thigh strain in the Boxing Day victory over West Ham.

Initially, the 23-year-old was ruled out for around six weeks due to the injury he picked up on his birthday, but two further setbacks has meant he has not played any football in over three months. His absence has coincided with Arsenal’s dramatic fall from title contenders to also-rans, and Sunday’s crunch clash will go a long way in deciding who will secure the final Champions league qualification berth.

With the Toffees just four points behind Arsenal and with a game in hand, Arsene Wenger knows his side can’t afford to slip up when they travel to Merseyside for Sunday’s encounter, but his confirmation at Friday’s pre-match press conference that Ramsey is fit to return will be a huge boost for fans who feared they were witnessing another end-of-season collapse.

Ramsey was in consideration for next weekend’s FA Cup semi-final against Wigan at Wembley Stadium, but his return for the Everton fixture will lift spirits even further, and having secured a point against title favourites Manchester City last time out, Arsenal are showing signs that they could still end the campaign with a first trophy since the 2005 FA Cup success.

 

Wenger also confirmed that left-back Nacho Monreal will also return to the squad, with doubts over fellow defender Kieran Gibbs due to an on-going ankle injury.

“Ramsey and Monreal will be back in the squad on Sunday”, said the Arsenal manager. “We have a doubt about Kieran Gibbs with an ankle problem and [Serge] Gnabry has a knee problem.

Speaking about the importance of having Ramsey available again, Wenger said: “He drives the team forward and he is a box to box player. It's good to have him back. Ramsey has worked very hard in training. What he lacks is competition.

“Everton are a good side and that's why they are where they are. It will be a very interesting game. The target is to finish as high as possible. It's impossible to predict where we will finish.”

The Frenchman is hopeful that they draw with City will provide a turning point in Arsenal’s season, and with the Wembley game firmly on the horizon, Arsenal are desperate to register their first victory in four matches.

“We know that every game becomes vital,” said the 64-year-old, who is yet to sign a contract extension beyond the end of the season. “We came out with a strong performance against City and I think we have turned a corner.

“All the teams at the top are in danger everywhere. Especially when you play teams who fight not to go down. We have a small percentage to win the title but we have to give everything to make it possible.

“Having someone like Ramsey back, who can help the team be successful is of course very important.”

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