Arsenal could have Aaron Ramsey and Mathieu Flamini back available when they attempt to keep their Premier League title hopes alive at West Ham on Saturday. While Leicester City appear to be surging toward a stunning title triumph, Arsene Wenger has refused to give up on his team clawing back from an 11-point deficit with seven matches and, perhaps crucially, still a game in hand over the leaders remaining.
With every point set to be vital, Arsenal could really do with having as many players available as possible, particularly in a midfield zone where Wenger is currently short on options. He will be particularly pleased, then, that Ramsey is closing in on a return following a month out with a thigh injury.
“Ramsey could join the squad again because he had a good training session on Wednesday,” Wenger said in his press conference ahead of the trip to West Ham. “Flamini is available as well.”
Wenger, who described Arsenal’s current injury situation as “quite positive,” could soon have more midfield enforcements at his disposal, with Santi Cazorla and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain now “practicing together.” Cazorla has not played since November because of a knee injury, while Oxlade-Chamberlain has been sidelined since being forced off in the Champions League defeat to Barcelona in February.
Meanwhile, a midfielder yet to kick a competitive ball this season is also on the comeback trail. Jack Wilshere injured an ankle in pre-season, but, along with fellow long-term casualty Tomas Rosicky, is scheduled to take part in an Under-21 game against their Newcastle United counterparts on Friday night. Wenger, however, made it clear that he was taking a cautious approach over the return of a player who has been blighted by injuries in his young career.
“I don’t know [when he will be back] we have to see,” the Arsenal manager added. “I am a bit cautious because of the history. Let’s not rush it too much and let’s see how he responds to the next game. He will have a big part in the game tomorrow night and hopefully he will come through well.”
While he remains sidelined, Wilshere has been in the news this week after being pictured on a night out last Sunday. Wenger confirmed that he had spoken to the England international, but that it was an “internal” matter. Still, the incident, which was far from the first of its kind for the 24-year-old, has again raised questions over whether he will ever fulfill the huge potential he first displayed as a teenager. Wenger, though, insists that it is only injuries that can derail Wilshere's career.
“I believe he has a real football brain, he loves football,” he said. “He’s very serious, very dedicated. The only thing that could stop him from having the career he can make is injuries. He had the history of injuries, it has been bad recently, but I hope he can get rid of that and then he will have the career he deserves.”