After the disappointment of an opening-day defeat to Aston Villa, Arsenal have gone onto produce a superb start to the season. What has made a run of 10 straight wins even more impressive is that it has been achieved with a thin squad strained to its limits by a rash of injuries. For Gunners fans already on a high following the performance of the season in dismantling Napoli 2-0 in the Champions League on Tuesday, the good news is that some quality players are on their way back.
However, ahead of Sunday’s trip to face West Brom, there is a short-term fitness concern involving Bacary Sagna.
“The only uncertainty we have could be Bacary Sagna who had a little hamstring problem,” Arsene Wenger said, according to Arsenal’s official website. “He has a scan today [Thursday] and from then on we will assess his situation. Everybody else came out of the Napoli game without a major problem so they should all be available.”
Tomas Rosicky made his return against the high-flying Italians at the Emirates and fellow attacking midfielder Santi Cazorla’s progress has also been discussed by Wenger on Thursday. The Arsenal boss revealed that he expects the Spaniard, who has been out with an ankle problem since the last round of international fixtures last month, to return after the next international break. That could mean Cazorla being fit to take some part in Arsenal’s home clash with Norwich City on October 19. The match, believes Wenger, could also witness the return to fitness of young French striker Yaya Sanogo.
And Arsenal’s attacking options could be further boosted with the return of Theo Walcott a week later. The flying winger had successful abdominal surgery a week ago and may be fit to face Crystal Palace. With the signing of Mesut Ozil and the emergence of 18-year-old Serge Gnabry, Wenger will have most welcome selection headaches if everything goes to plan in the coming month. Lukas Podolski, sidelined with a hamstring tear suffered in the second leg of the Champions League qualifier with Fenerbahce in late August, is currently expected to return on November 10, according to PhysioRoom.com. Alex Oxalde-Chamberlain, meanwhile, should make his comeback from a knee injury in mid-November.
There remains no set return date for Abou Diaby from the latest in his unfortunate long list of injuries; a cruciate knee ligament injury in March. Speaking last month, the 27-year-old French midfielder explained that he remains optimistic of making a full recovery.
"I'm always confident because I know my ability and I know that as soon as I'm fit I can play at a good level," he told Arsenal.com. "I always keep those references in my mind and I work every day to reach that level.
"I'm working back to my best level and beyond. I want to catch the train and bring something to the team. That's my objective."