Arsene Wenger has said that Arsenal could be boosted by the return of a number of players after next month’s international break, with Santi Cazorla and Lukas Podolski set to return to action after lengthy spells out with injury.
Speaking in a pre-match press conference ahead of tomorrow’s Premier league match against Swansea, Wenger confirmed that Cazorla should be back for the October 19 clash with Norwich City.
"Santi Cazorla is on schedule [to return] after the international break,” said Wenger. “It’s fine, they (Lukas Podolski, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Abou Diaby) are doing well but they are nowhere near ready. The next one back might be Lukas. Alex will be one and a half months more.”
Wenger also confirmed that Theo Walcott’s surgery on his damaged abdomen went well and that he is now on the road to recovery.
“Theo's surgery went as well as it could go,” Wenger explained. “There were no complications. You know sometimes you open and you find an unexpected problem. It was very simple.
"If we are optimistic he will be back in three weeks but realistically it will be five weeks."
However, Tomas Rosicky is expected to resume training on Monday after recovering from a thigh injury, and he could feature in the midweek Champions League encounter against Napoli, when Rafael Benitez returns to the Emirates Stadium after finding success hard to come by during his time in charge of Liverpool – Benitez has never won at either the Emirates or Highbury, earning three draws and five defeats.
"Rosicky should be back in the training squad on Monday so he has a chance to be available for the squad on Tuesday. Saturday is too short for him. But we all love Rosicky so it's good to have him back."
With Mikel Arteta returning to the squad last weekend, Wenger confirmed that he was taken off in the Capital One Cup penalty shootout win over West Brom due to cramp and nothing more, and it seems the Gunners are slowly returning to full fitness as they look to prolong their stay at the summit of the Premier League.
They will kick-off at the Liberty Stadium having been knocked off the top though, with one of Tottenham of Chelsea set to leapfrog the Gunners in Saturday’s early kick-off. Manchester City could also go above them with a win at Aston Villa, with Wenger’s side featuring on Saturday evening.