Not sure if it’s just me but the international break in September seems to go on forever. After the anticipation of the start of the season, it always seems crazy that we stop for this break after only a handful of games.
We have also had all of the takeover talk and as Sean Dyche sat down to focus on the team it was nice to know that football will be back on Sunday at Goodison and we will be able to get distracted by the right thing......the match.
Dyche was pleased to report that Dominic Calvert-Lewin was ready to go on Sunday after recovering from the head injury that he suffered in the Aston Villa match:
“With Dom, it was obviously the facial injury so he managed to keep his fitness up, which is good. He will certainly be coming back into the fold.”
There were some concerns for Lewis Dobbin and Jarrad Branthwaite but Dyche was optimistic that both will be available for Sunday’s match.
“Dobbo is back, he trained with us and Jarrad is fine, they’re just knocks, nothing too major. So we are getting stronger.”
Seeing Jack Harrison in a royal blue shirt will have to wait as he continues to build up his fitness after recovering from the hip injury that has had him sidelined since the end of last season. When asked to clarify on the exact availability of Harrison, Dyche said:
“Not Jack. He’s only just out on the grass working with the team, he’s been on the grass with the strength and conditioning team and that side of things, but actually training with us just a couple of days, so he’s going to need more time.
“It’s early stages of him getting true fitness but he is a fit lad, that’s for sure. He tests well, as in our physical testing, and he looks free. The main thing with injuries sometimes - when players come back sometimes they don’t look free, but he does. He’s joined in training and he looks like he’s clear and ready to go, so know it’s just about getting him up to full match speed and match fitness.”
That means only Seamus Coleman and Dele, who are both currently completing individual work, are unavailable for Everton this weekend along with Harrison.
“Dele and Seamus still needs a bit of time away, but they’re on the grass with the physios so that’s good, but not working with us in the team.”
The last time Arsenal stepped on the Goodison turf it was the first match for Sean Dyche in charge, and the fight and determination that he requires from all of his teams was front and centre as the Blues came away with a 1-0 win. In fact, Everton have won four of their last five home league games against Arsenal, including each of the last three in a row. They last won four consecutively against the Gunners more than 100 years ago between March 1910 and March 1913.
As for Arsenal, Jurrien Timber and Thomas Partey have been ruled out for the long and medium term respectively and are not expected to travel with the team. It looks like Bukayo Saka will be ready for the match after having some achilles issues. With Arsenal’s Champions League commitments beginning next week it will be interesting to see if any players are rested and if some rotation happens for the Gunners.
Check out Sean Dyche’s full press conference here:
Mikel Arteta’s press conference is here: