Carlo Ancelotti must immediately usher Dominic Calvert-Lewin back into the Everton starting line-up for Friday night’s trip to Arsenal.
The Toffees boss has confirmed that Calvert-Lewin will be available for selection at the Emirates Stadium after recovering from an abductor problem, in a quintuple injury boost.
Calvert-Lewin’s issue had kept the 24-year-old out of his side’s last two Premier League games, as the Goodison Park natives were held to draws with Brighton & Hove Albion and Tottenham Hotspur.
Everton are set to be with Yerry Mina at Arsenal, as well, after a similar abductor problem, while Andre Gomes (hamstring), Fabian Delph (tendon) and Bernard are also due to return after spells on the sidelines.
Ancelotti will still be without Abdoulaye Doucoure in north London as the Frenchman continues his recovery from a small fracture on his foot, while Jean-Philippe Gbamin remains out alongside the £20m summer signing due to the knee injury he sustained in training earlier this month.
“We have a lot of players available – almost all the squad, apart from Doucoure and Gbamin who are out,” the Blues boss said on Thursday. “The others are in good condition.
“We are ready to fight for this final part of the season. The squad is now much, much better and I have a lot of options, so I am pleased and confident.”
The Toffees also last beat the Gunners in north London in January 1996, losing 22 of the following 26 encounters across all competitions including each of their last seven visits.
Ancelotti will no doubt be loath to see his side’s torrid record continue having already brought one lengthy drought to an end, by orchestrating Everton’s first win at Anfield since 1999 when they beat Liverpool 2-0 in February’s Merseyside derby.
Clinching a first Everton win at the Emirates would catapult the Blues back into the European conversation, as well, with the Goodison Park natives losing ground in the race for the top-four after three-straight draws.
Everton cannot overtake any side by winning their game in hand, but will move one point behind Tottenham – who have played two games more – and Liverpool by beating Arsenal, while edging to within a win of fifth-placed West Ham United.
Calvert-Lewin represents Everton’s best chance of a rare result away to the Gunners, with the 24-year-old not only their top-scorer with 14 goals in 25 Premier League games but also key to how Ancelotti’s offence operates.
Everton are rarely the same unit going forward without having Calvert-Lewin to target and his off-the-ball runs, which create space for Richarlison to push up the pitch and James Rodriguez to find pockets of space to pick out defence-splitting passes.
Ancelotti, then, must instantly unleash Calvert-Lewin – who Noel Whelan believes has “exceeded every expectation possible” this season – now that he has been declared fit, in a huge boost for the Blues’ European ambitions, let alone being one of five returning players.