Arsenal are preparing for Premier League action under the lights against Everton on Friday night.
The two teams have already met this season, with the Gunners losing 2-1 at Goodison Park back in December – a result which forced manager Mikel Arteta to shake things up afterward in terms of his team selection.
But his side still trail the Toffees in the table and go into the game at the Emirates Stadium without a home win across all competitions in four.
Whilst Arsenal will most likely have an eye on their Europa League semi-final against Villarreal next week, the game in north London remains an important one as they look to finish as high as possible in the Premier League table.
Although, hopes of returning to winning ways at home have been dealt a blow with news that Alexandre Lacazette and captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will be unavailable.
The latter is still recovering after contracting malaria on international duty last month and Lacazette will be sidelined with the hamstring injury sustained in last weekend’s 1-1 draw against Fulham.
An update on the club’s official website reads: “Alex Lacazette. Left hamstring. Alex has sustained a strain to his left hamstring and will be unavailable for Friday’s match against Everton.
“He will continue to work with the medical team and will be assessed ahead of next week’s matches.”
In recent weeks, Lacazette has been a regular in Arteta’s attacking set-up, leading the line to great effect with goals against Tottenham, West Ham United, Sheffield United and Slavia Prague.
As a result, the Frenchman’s absence will leave the Spaniard with a big decision to make.
Some Arsenal fans have called for Folarin Balogun to be handed his Premier League debut against the Toffees, but it would not be a surprise if Eddie Nketiah gets the nod.
After all, the England U21 international did score as a substitute against Fulham and was alternating with Lacazette for the centre-forward role earlier in the season.
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Another option is Gabriel Martinelli and Arteta has already hinted that a central role is where he sees the Brazilian in the long-term.
“[Aubameyang and Martinelli] are centre forwards but with the squad balance that we have at the moment, to play on those positions on the left we don’t have five players,” Arteta told reporters after a 1-0 win over West Ham United a year ago.
Under the Spaniard, Martinelli has predominately been used as a left-winger, but the Everton game could provide Arteta with the chance to experiment with the teenager.