All Arsenal fans will surely admit that our injury situation so far this season is at least twice as good as at this point in the last campaign, but we still have a few on the sidelines. We have already heard that Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini should be in the squad to face Watford next weekend, and Arsene Wenger is also hopeful that Laurent Koscielny will ready in time to face Bayern Munich just a few days later.
Wenger announced back in September that striker Danny Welbeck was predicted to return around Christmas, and you can guarantee that Arsene Wenger will use the immortal words “like a new signing” when he comes back during the January transfer window! The player himself has now been quoted on SkySports as being more or less on target for that period. Welbeck said: “It’s difficult to put an exact date on it, around the New Year. After I had the operation I was in a leg brace for about four weeks, which wasn’t easy. I had to do a lot of machine work, about six hours a day.
“Sleeping in a leg brace isn’t good. At night it’s not comfortable; it was the first time I slept on my back in years. It’s good to finally be out of the brace now and walking.
“It feels like I’m getting that little bit closer to getting back out on the pitch.”
“It’s frustrating being on the sidelines and watching in – you feel kind of helpless. But you just have to keep motivated.
“The appetite’s there, you just want to get back out on the pitch and show what you can do. So it’s difficult but you’ve got to see the positive side of things at times.
“Obviously there’s some days when you just want to be back out there playing, but it’s a process and something that I’ve learnt to deal with in time.”
When Danny finally does return to fitness at least he should be fresh for the rest of the campaign as we get down to the nitty-gritty of the closing stages. Another returnee at about the same time should be Jack Wilshere, who was so cruelly taken out just before the Community Shield after working so hard to be superfit to begin the season.
If Danny is back in the New Year, then we should also expect Tomas Rosicky to return also as Wenger told us on the same day that he announced Welbeck’s surgery, “It’s similar [to Welbeck], it’s a similar surgery.”
So, right now we have six players out injured, but by the time we face Bayern that number could be down to three. And as we near the end of the international break it would seem most Arsenal players have come out unscathed. But there is one possible massive problem in that Alexis Sanchez’s Chile team face Peru tonight, and we just have to pray that he doesn’t come back with a worse groin strain than he left with….