Arsene Wenger has revealed he could have a near full strength side to travel to Aston Villa on Monday, with the news that Aaron Ramsey and Kieran Gibbs are closing in on their respective returns.
Olivier Giroud and Mesut Ozil have trained this week, rendering them available, while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain could be in contention after a five month lay-off.
Arsenal lost Theo Walcott for the remainder of the campaign due to a ruptured ACL of his left knee earlier this week, and he is set to undergo surgery when the swelling reduces in a couple weeks.
The news of Giroud’s fitness is certainly welcomed with Nicklas Bendnter out for another three weeks, meanwhile Thomas Vermaelen’s withdrawal at half time against the Spuds has resulted in a small knee problem however he is expected to be return either for Monday’s tie or the following match.
Wenger told Arsenal.com:
[on Theo Walcott’s injury] He has surgery and then it’s rehab. You know that it is six months and you hope it all goes well. The only thing I can say is it’s very sad news for us and above all for him.
[on Oxlade-Chamberlain being back] It is unbelievable because he played the first game of the season, against Aston Villa, and now he is back and available and it is against Aston Villa again. That makes it five months where has been completely out, so that means he is fresh and that should give us a boost.
[on Ramsey and Gibbs] Ramsey and Gibbs are very close. There is a small possibility that both of them could be available on Monday.
[on Giroud and Ozil] They had a good training session yesterday and today they had no problem. They could be back.
[on Bendtner] Bendtner, you count three weeks from now until he is back in training.
[on Vermaelen] Vermaelen had a little knee problem so he had to come off against Tottenham. He could be short for Monday but there’s still a chance. But everybody else should be alright.
Predicted lineup to follow…