Everton complete first training session in Dubai as part of warm weather trip

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Tom Davies, Theo Walcott and Co are in the UAE.

Everton took to the pitch for the first time on Thursday as part of their short warm weather mid-season training break to Dubai.

Sam Allardyce’s men made the most of the UAE sun and went through their paces at Nad Al Sheba complex at Meydan.

The Blues arrived on Wednesday evening and are staying close to the city’s iconic Burj Al Arab.

Given the Toffees’ next fixture isn’t until Saturday February 24 at Watford, Everton have used the gap in the fixture list to train in more favourable conditions.

Among the travelling party was Argentine Ramiro Funes Mori, who is stepping up his recovery after being sidelined with an ACL injury since March 2017.

It is the third time in as many seasons the Merseysiders have travelled to the city.

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Arsenal talking points as Europa League has become crucial for Gunners

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Arsenal have work to do qualify for the Champions League next season.

Arsenal face a potentially tricky Europa League tie away at Ostersund on Thursday night.

Here, Press Association Sport looks ahead to the main talking points ahead of the tie at the Jamtkraft Arena:

BIGGER GAME FOR WENGER THAN HE WOULD HAVE HOPED

Arsenal eased through the Europa League group with little difficulty as Arsene Wenger utilised his squad in a competition that was seen as inferior in their targets compared to the Premier League and FA Cup.

Now, however, the Gunners are a massive 27 points behind leaders Manchester City in the league and are struggling to make the top four while their ambitions of defending their FA Cup ended with a shock third-round exit at Nottingham Forest.

That means the Europa League now offers the most likely route back into the Champions League for Wenger and Arsenal, which is why a strong squad will be present on Thursday.

Wenger knows this may be his best chance of qualifying for the Champions League.

Wenger knows this may be his best chance of qualifying for the Champions League.

POTTER ATTEMPTING TO CONJURE UP MORE MAGIC

There has been much written about Ostersund’s manager since the draw was made late last year.

Graham Potter, a Midlander who played in defence for the likes of Birmingham, Stoke, Southampton and West Brom, has turned the Swedish side from lower-league minnows to top-flight cup winners.

Their Europa League adventure has included victories over established names such as Galatasaray, PAOK and Hertha Berlin and now they can add Arsenal to their ever-growing list of scalps.

Graham Potter has been making a mark in Sweden, but this is his big moment.

Graham Potter has been making a mark in Sweden, but this is his big moment.

CAN GUNNERS COPE ON THE SLOPES?

Freezing conditions will greet the Arsenal squad when they disembark from their aircraft at Ostersund Airport.

Although not quite the -23°C of last month, it will still be a shock to the system – as will the compact stadium and artificial pitch.

Wenger is expected to bring some of his top names out to this Swedish outpost and their ability to adapt could prevent any embarrassments.

Ostersund will promise a raucous atmosphere - and cold weather.

Ostersund will promise a raucous atmosphere – and cold weather.

HOME BOYS GIVEN A CHANCE TO SHINE

Jamie Hopcutt and Curtis Edwards are not household names in their native England but the pair have become integral to Potter’s plans at the Jamtkraft Arena.

Hopcutt, a 25-year-old midfielder, had unspectacular spells at York, Whitby, Ossett Town and Tadcaster before making the move to Scandinavia.

Middlesbrough-born Edwards had a similar adventure in England’s lower leagues as he turned out for Darlington, Spennymoor and Thornaby.

Now the duo can show they can cut it with the best that the Premier League has to offer as they aim to play their part in a major upset.

Curtis Edwards has been instrumental in Ostersund's European campaign.

Curtis Edwards has been instrumental in Ostersund’s European campaign.

WELBECK TO BE GIVEN RARE OPPORTUNITY TO IMPRESS

With club-record signing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang cup-tied and summer recruit Alexandre Lacazette injured, the chances are that Danny Welbeck will lead the line for Arsenal.

The former Manchester United man has struggled with injuries since his move to the Emirates Stadium but could now play his part in making sure the Gunners advance in Europe.

With Theo Walcott, Alexis Sanchez and Olivier Giroud leaving in the January window, Welbeck is now one of Arsenal’s established attacking players and the England international will be desperate to grasp his opportunity if it arises.

Danny Welbeck has yet another chance to shine in an Arsenal shirt.

Danny Welbeck has yet another chance to shine in an Arsenal shirt.

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Olivier Giroud calls Chelsea the 'perfect club' after promising full debut

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Giroud endeared himself to Chelsea fans with a warrior-like full debut.

Olivier Giroud is focused on nailing down a first-team place at Chelsea after a dramatic full debut against West Brom, during which he was forced to have five stitches for a head wound.

The France striker, who moved from Arsenal for £18million last month, impressed during Monday’s 3-0 win against West Brom at Stamford Bridge, where he created the first of Eden Hazard‘s two goals before being substituted in the second half.

He had been struggling with a calf injury, having already had five stitches for a cut when taking studs to the head, but his manager Antonio Conte expects him to be fit for Friday’s FA Cup fifth-round fixture with Hull.

“It’s been a while since I played regularly and that’s why I needed to move,” said Giroud, who was replaced by Chelsea’s summer signing Alvaro Morata. “I needed a new challenge and Chelsea was the perfect club for me.

“It’s the Premier League, a club which has won more titles in the past 10 years than any other. It’s a massive club and I am very proud to be here and to carry on my career.

“I feel very good. It’s been maybe two months since I started a game so I felt good. I worked hard in training to be physically ready and to do what the coach asked me to do tactically. There is still room for improvement but I take a lot of pleasure from (my performance) and I’m happy to set the first goal for Eden.”

The 31-year-old said he was focused on Chelsea after “five amazing years” at Arsenal.

“I said at half-time when they put stitches in my head that I wanted to carry on, but the calf was very painful and I couldn’t play the whole game,” he added.

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