Arsene Wenger has confirmed that Mesut Ozil, Santi Cazorla and Bacary Sagna have all been passed fit for Saturday’s Premier League encounter against Norwich at the Emirates Stadium.
Ozil’s participation has been in doubt since he was forced off during Germany’s 5-3 victory over Sweden on Tuesday, although Wenger had confirmed that the knock was a minor one and would not keep him out for long.
Despite this, he could yet choose to begin the match with the 25-year-old on the bench, with one eye on next week’s Champions League clash against Borussia Dortmund. Ozil has started every game league match for the Gunners since his £42.5m move from Real Madrid at the beginning of September, and Wenger is keen to rotate his squad where possible having already given Jack Wilshere a rest.
Cazorla hasn’t featured since the north London derby victory over Tottenham, having picked up an ankle injury that has kept him out for nearly two months. Regardless, Arsenal’s midfield has been hugely impressive in their rise to the top of the table, and the addition of the Spaniard only strengthens their creative attacking options – something Arsenal have never been shy on.
30-year-old Sagna suffered a hamstring injury in the 2-0 triumph over Napoli, though Wenger has rated the Frenchman at “80 per cent fit” ahead of this weekend’s match. Current England Under-21 defender Carl Jenkinson has deputised for Sagna in his absence, and with Sagna also providing cover for the Gunners’ central defence, his return will be welcomed news for Wenger.
"You want all of your best players to play together in a very positive way, which is what will happen,” Wenger said in a pre-match press conference on Friday.
"I am very happy with the team who has played until now, so we do not expect anything special (from the players coming back).
"What is important is that instead of focusing on one or two players, we focus on developing ourselves as a team and our team play, where there is still room for improvement. There is still the desire within the team to improve that."
Wenger also spoke on his – and the board’s – desire to extend his current contract, having been with his current club longer than any other manager in the entire Football League.
"Yes, I didn't deny that (that a contract had been offered)," Wenger said. "I just said what I said at the start of the season and nothing has changed."
"I believe that when you are manager at the club, you have to prepare for the long term always and act like you would stay forever.
"I believe that what is important is the next game."
In terms of their next match, Wenger has warned his squad that they should not take the Canaries lightly despite their struggles early on this campaign. The Gunners are seeking a return to winning ways having drawn their last league match, with Wilshere’s second-half strike salvaging a 1-1 result against West Brom.
"We have learned something in the last 18 months, that the Premier League has changed, that every single game is a potential danger for any team in the league and the recent results in the Premier League have confirmed that,” Wenger stressed.
"Every team who is favourite today is on its toes because they know every game is a potential danger."
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