Arsenal face Stoke City on Sunday, and, unsurprisingly, they have plenty of injury concerns as per usual.
But Arsene Wenger did have some good news yesterday. He feels Per Mertesacker and Mesut Ozil are finally 100% after their respective illness worries in the past weeks. Meanwhile the clubs vice-captain Mikel Arteta is now set to return to action against Stoke - with a late fitness test on Saturday to assess whether or not he is ready to play against The Potters.
Arteta is one of the leaders of this side and his influence is imperative to the club maintaining their recent good form - by bringing the combative stability his performances always conjure with him on his return from a quad problem.
So Arteta is up off the treatment table, even if this weekend has come around too fast for him.
But who is next?
The club have a slightly less cluttered medical area now, with Tomas Rosicky, Lukas Podolski, Yaya Sanogo, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and long-time occupant Abou Diaby are all still out with their respective array of different injury problems. But perhaps the player Arsenal want to see returning most of all has to be Spanish international and last season’s star performer Santi Cazorla.
Cazorla’s assists and guile were integral to Arsenal’s campaign last year and when it was announced he would miss the Sunderland game, and be out until after the October international break, there was frustration on Twitter, and rightly so.
But good news Arsenal fans - as he is the next man back according to Arsene Wenger.
When asked who he thought would be returning to action next after Arteta the boss had this to say:
‘’I think the next one that will be back after that is Cazorla. It's difficult to assess but maybe that is three weeks away.’’
If that calculation is correct Cazorla will be back on 11th October, so not much difference at all to the original assessment. That return is smack bang in the middle of the international break and will see Cazorla return against Norwich City on the 19th.
But Cazorla is the next man back Arsenal fans, just hope that is earlier than the 19th October - as he could be useful against Napoli on the 1st.
image: © Ronnie Macdonald