The Everton players Sean Dyche will be without for visit of Arsenal after international break


For many reasons, Arsenal's first game following the September international break will be of huge importance.

A week on Sunday, the Gunners make the trip to Merseyside to face an Everton team who are yet to win a Premier League fixture so far this season and have lost their opening two matches at Goodison Park by the same 1-0 scoreline at the hands of Fulham and Wolves.

But the results in both games only tell half the story. And whilst the Toffees go into the meeting with the Gunners sitting in the relegation zone by virtue of an inferior goal difference to Sheffield United, Mikel Arteta will be well aware that his side will still have to be at their very best to keep pressure on Manchester City, Tottenham and Liverpool at the top of the table.

After all, the last time Arsenal visited Goodison Park they were league leaders with Everton languishing in 18th. Yet the form book was turned on its head as the hosts prevailed on a cold February afternoon thanks to a solitary second-half header from James Tarkowski to give Dyche the dream start as manager.

Desperate for a repeat result to kick-start the Blues' season, Dyche has been handed several boosts on the fitness front with Tarkowski, Michael Keane and Dominic Calvert-Lewin all taking part in a training session at Finch Farm on Friday. The former was substituted in the 2-2 draw with the Blades whilst the latter pair missed the trip to Bramall Lane altogether.

Meanwhile, central defender Jarrad Branthwaite is expected to be available for selection despite pulling out of international duty as a statement via the club's website reads: "Jarrad Branthwaite has withdrawn from the England Under-21s squad for their upcoming EURO qualifier to undergo planned treatment with Everton for a minor groin issue sustained in the summer while on international duty.

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"The 21-year-old Blues defender was called up by the young Lions for a match away to Luxembourg on Monday 11 September but it was agreed he would remain at Finch Farm for treatment with the Club’s medical staff. Branthwaite, who has started the past two Premier League matches for Sean Dyche's side, is expected to be fit after the current international break."

Also present in Friday's aforementioned training session was club captain Seamus Coleman. The right-back has been sidelined since May after sustaining a medial knee ligament injury but has returned to individual training this week, working on fitness drills and on-the-ball exercises.

Having said that, the Arsenal game will come too soon for the 34-year-old to make his return to action. In fact, according to Premier Injuries, Coleman and Dele Alli are the two Everton players who are unavailable for selection whilst it remains to be seen if summer signing Jack Harrison shakes off an injury to make his debut.

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