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Arsenal pre-game latest: Including Walcott and Wilshere fitness

News and gossip from Arsenal ahead of the midweek fixture with Everton at Goodison Park.

Arsenal travel to Merseyside to try and earn victory against Everton tonight; after a drab goalless draw against Aston Villa last weekend there is good news on the injury front. Theo Walcott is expected to play after recovering from a shoulder injury picked up in the North London derby and is likely to start at Goodison Park. Jack Wilshere has also been cleared for action as the swelling on his ankle has gone down significantly since pre-match against Villa. Tomas Rosicky remains on the side-lines despite a return to training last week as he tries to prove his fitness ahead of a potential comeback in December. Abou Diaby is continuing his rehabilitation while Andre Santos also remains injured. Otherwise Arsenal have a full complement to choose from.

Everton will pose a bigger threat than they did in the 1-1 draw with Norwich this weekend gone as Maraoune Fellaini returns from his one-match suspension and is expected to go straight into the starting XI. Phil Neville remains injured but Kevin Mirallas, Victor Anichebe and Darron Gibson are all expected to return to the fold even if that does means starting from the bench. Tony Hibbert is fit to start but may struggle to oust Seamus Coleman from the starting line-up.

Theo Walcott has been omitted from the Arsenal 2013 calendar. He is not alone as Bacary Sagna has also been told his face is not needed for any of the twelve months on view as the two are currently embroiled in contract talks with the club. Walcott’s contract expires in the summer and rejected the initial offer of a new deal while Sagna has 18 months remaining on his current deal and has been heavily linked with a move to Inter Milan in recent months.

The 12 players chosen to feature in the calendar are as follows:

Thomas Vermaelen, Mikel Arteta, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Olivier Giroud, Lukas Podolski, Wojciech Szczesny, Aaron Ramsey, Andre Santos, Kieran Gibbs, Jack Wilshere, Santi Cazorla and Per Mertesacker.

Schalke 04 have insisted that Arsenal do not have the money for star striker Klaas Jan Huntelaar. The Dutchman, 29, has yet to commit to the Bundesliga outfit and with his contract expiring in the summer it is believed that they may be willing to cash in on the marksman. However Schalke general manager Horst Heldt was quoted as saying: ‘’from Arsenal circles we hear there is no money anyway."

Arsenal have reportedly placed Pepe Reina at the top of their wish list for January as Arsene Wenger hunts for an experienced goalkeeper to rival Wojciech Szczesny for the number one jersey. While they also chase Wilfried Zaha, Adrian Lopez and Thierry Henry a goalkeeper is believed to be a priority with Thomas Sorensen and Michel Vorm joining the Liverpool custodian on the shortlist.

What are your thoughts on everything Arsenal ahead of the game with Everton?

image: © fabiopao

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