Arsenal look set to welcome back Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil this weekend for their London derby clash with Chelsea, while Francis Coquelin is ahead of schedule in his recovery according to Arsenal.com.
The Gunners suffered no further issues after Sunday’s 0-0 draw with Stoke City, with Arsene Wenger’s side struggling to find a breakthrough without key midfielder Ozil pulling the strings in midfield due to a precautionary withdrawal from the squad.
Alexis has also returned to the fold, however Wenger remains cautious in using the Chilean to avoid any further setbacks.
“Compared to last week we have no big problems from the squad that was available to face Stoke. The good news is that Ozil will certainly be available. For Alexis the next few days will be decisive but I think this time he will make it to be available for selection,” Wenger revealed (via Arsenal.com).
Alexis has been missing since late November, suffering a hamstring injury against Norwich City that lingered through the Christmas period and consequently ruled him out for half of January. Naturally the Arsenal boss wants to ensure the forward is fully fit when he makes his return to avoid losing him for the decisive part of the season.
“The doubt is that he has been out for a long time and [there is] the risk of a setback if you try to go too early. To be clear on all the tests is one thing, after he is clear on training is another thing, and after that the intensity of a big game which you can never repeat in a training session,” Wenger said.
“You can make sure after a certain amount of time that the risk is minimal. I am cautious with him because we cannot afford a setback with him. A setback would mean a very long period out so we don’t want to take this gamble. The signs he has shown in training this week are positive.
Arsenal’s injury woes seem to be easing (touch wood) with Coquelin returning ahead of schedule which is a huge boost for the depleting midfield, Wenger confirmed his compatriot is in full training and will be joined with Danny Welbeck next week. Meanwhile, long-term absentee Tomas Rosicky is expected to make his long awaited comeback in the upcoming U21 match against Swansea City.
“Coquelin is back in full training today and he is ahead of schedule. He has still a few steps to go through. Welbeck will be in full training next week so that is positive news,” Wenger confirmed.
“It is possible Rosicky will play in the under-21 game [on Friday]. He was a bit sick at the beginning of the week but we planned for him to play tomorrow night. We have a few players coming back because we go into a very important period now for us.”
A massive boost all round for the Gunners, who desperately need more depth with matches expected to come thick and fast over the coming months.