Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has claimed that Granit Xhaka could make his return earlier than expected.
The midfielder has been out of action since having to be replaced during our 3-1 win over Tottenham, and had supposedly been targeting a return in January, but the manager appears to believe that he could well be back sooner.
“Hopefully he will be a little bit sooner than expected, he is training and pushing himself and all the staff so hard like he always does,” Arteta said in his pre-match press conference (as quoted by Arsenal.com). “He is in a good place, he is evolving well and hopefully we can have him a little bit earlier. It is still a bit early to decide.”
When asked if that could mean that he returns before January, he replied: “I hope so, yes.”
The manager also admitted that he didn’t have any further issues in his squad ahead of the weekend, which will also be pleasing to hear after a number of absences in the opening weeks of the season.
We appear to have had a run of luck on injuries in recent weeks (touch wood), although that hasn’t come without scares and minor injuries.
Xhaka will be a boost to our team however, with Sambi Lokonga not quite stamping his authority in the role. Our team has been in top form of late bar the Liverpool game, so there is no urgent need to rush him back into contention, although with nine matches between December 2 and January 1 we could well need as many players fit and ready as possible.
Does anyone else deserve an extended run of first-team football before Xhaka returns? Does the Swiss walk back into the starting XI?