The postponement of the games over the weekend might have left many people fuming, but it has turned out to be a good mini break for us. Most of our injured players are back and better than before as Wenger revealed while speaking to Arsenal TV online.
Diaby, Fabianski, Fabregas and Van Persie are all good to go against Chelsea. Most of them would have been available for the Stoke match but an extra week would have certainly helped them to prepare better and get their fitness levels up.
“We have everybody back. We had them in the squad for Stoke – Diaby, Fabregas, Van Persie. Fabianski too.
They have had one more week to prepare for this game and build up their fitness. That will have helped them of course.”
Apart from them, the ones who have been involved twice a week for the past couple of months will also have benefitted from this postponement.
On the other hand Vermaelen, Gibbs and Almunia are still out injured and won’t be back over Christmas.
“So overall we miss only Vermaelen, Almunia and Kieran Gibbs now. They will not be back in the short–term – over Christmas – but everybody else is available.”
The timeline that Wenger gave on Gibbs is that he will be back by early January.
On Vermaelen’s return, Wenger said that he will be back by late January. At the moment the signs are good from Vermaelen as he needs to build his match fitness. It will take about four weeks to get him fully match fit. Wenger is, righfully, being cautious with him as he already has had a lot of setbacks.
“I would rather say late January. He is short on fitness and we have to build it up. That will take three to four weeks. He has started now and the signs are good. But I have been hit so many times with backlash that I am very cautious with Vermaelen.
“However Gibbs should be available at the beginning of January.”
So, if all goes well we will have the whole squad back by the end of January, provided there are no new injuries, and hopefully till then we will remain near the top and continue with our title charge.