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Arsenal boss provides injury update on Xhaka and Smith Rowe

Mikel Arteta has provided a positive update on Granit Xhaka but Emile Smith Rowe could miss Arsenal’s trip to Everton on Monday night.

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Arsenal will look to get back to winning ways when they take on Everton at Goodison Park on Monday night.

Ahead of the game, Mikel Arteta has been speaking to the media at his pre-match press conference today and he’s provided a team news and injury update including the latest on the fitness of Granit Xhaka and Emile Smith Rowe.

Xhaka has been on the sidelines since suffering a serious knee ligament injury during Arsenal’s North London Derby victory over Tottenham Hotspur at the Emirates Stadium back in late September.

The Swiss international was initially ruled out until the New Year but he’s made excellent progress in his rehabilitation and is on course to return to action much sooner than expected.

Arteta has confirmed Xhaka is already back doing partial training with the rest of the Arsenal first team and the Spaniard even refused to rule out the possibility of the midfielder featuring against Everton on Monday night.

Smith Rowe doubt

However, Arsenal could be without Smith Rowe for the trip to Goodison Park as Arteta says the attacker will need to be assessed on Sunday after being forced off during the defeat to Manchester United on Thursday.

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Arteta told Arsenal.com:

on Emile Smith Rowe’s fitness…
He had some discomfort during the game and we decided to take him off. He’s been evolving well over the last few days, so we have to wait until tomorrow to see how he is.

on the latest on Granit Xhaka…
He is progressing well, he is doing all the right things and he’s feeling better but no more news on that. It’s very positive because the evolution he is doing is great, he is partially training with the team and he is heading in the right direction.

on whether Xhaka could return in time for Monday…
This week he has progressed again to a different level, and tomorrow we will assess how he is, have a conversation with him and decide when is the best moment to start to give him some exposure in games.

It will be a huge boost for Arsenal to have Xhaka back as they’ve missed his presence at times in the middle of the park but Arteta will be praying Smith Rowe comes through a late fitness test.

The 21-year-old has played an important role for Arsenal this season and would be a big miss if he was ruled out of the game against Everton on Monday night.

Elsewhere, Sead Kolasinac is definitely ruled out due to an ankle injury but Bernd Leno is back in training and should return to the squad after missing the United defeat with a minor groin issue.

Arsenal head to Merseyside sitting four points adrift of the top four so they’ll be desperate to close the gap on West Ham with victory over 15th-placed Everton on Monday evening.

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