Jack Wilshere may have had a setback in his recovery from his long-term ankle problem, but several other first team squad members are closing-in on a return.
Speaking to the media ahead of the FA Cup clash with Aston Villa, the boss confirmed that the likes of Mikel Arteta, Thierry Henry, Francis Coquelin and Bacary Sagna could all be involved on Sunday, while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will definitely be included in the squad despite being subbed last week with a cramp-ridden calf.
“[Mikel Arteta’ is very close to full training, Thierry Henry as well,” Arsene told assembled press at London Colney.
“Bacary Sagna is back in full training. Many players who are not specialist right backs have been playing in this position so we are relieved to have Bacary back.”
“[Coquelin] is back in the squad, he is available. That makes him, Henry, Bacary and Arteta back in contention for the squad.
“[Chamberlain] is alright, it was just fatigue. His calf was not gone or anything like that, he just started to tire a little bit. It is normal for a guy who plays a game at that intensity. But health-wise he has no problem. He will be involved on Sunday.”
The return to fitness of Kieran Gibbs and Thomas Vermaelen and the steady improvement of Andre Santos also means the prospect of signing Wayne Bridge (or any other dodgy, unwanted football charlatan…or Omani trialist) has been dismissed once and for all.
“Gibbs is back in full training on Monday, and Vermaelen can [also] play left back and he is fit. [Andre] Santos will be fit in March,” he said.
“Three left backs, plus Sagna – who can play there – is four. We are not [shopping for a] left back.”
While Arseblog News could harp on about the fact that the winning goals scored by Fulham, Swansea and Manchester United were arguably down to the fact a recognised left-back was not available, we can’t be bothered to cry over spilt milk.