Arsenal have received a boost with the news that four of their injured stars look set to return to first-team action against Aston Villa on Monday night.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain ended his five month injury absence by playing 45 minutes for Arsenal’s under-21 side against Fulham on Thursday night and is set to be included in the squad which will travel to Villa Park.
Aaron Ramsey, out since Boxing Day with a thigh strain, is also back in training and available for inclusion. Full-back Kieran Gibbs, who has been missing recently with a hamstring problem is also likely to be in the squad.
Olivier Giroud, who missed out on Arsenal’s FA Cup third round win over Tottenham with illness which he picked up as he recovered from an ankle injury, will also be included in the squad and is likely to regain his starting spot.
Thomas Vermalen could, however, miss out, The defender was substituted at half-time in the game against Spurs with a knee problem.
It had been reported that Nicklas Bendtner would be back sooner than expected but Arsene Wenger has said that it will be three weeks until he is back in training.
Speaking to the media, Arsene Wenger said
Chamberlain 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. Giroud and Ozil had a good training session yesterday and today they had no problem. They could be back.
Bendtner, you count three weeks from now until he is back in training. He [Theo] has surgery and then it’s rehab. You know that it is six months and that 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.
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.