Speaking at Thursday’s press conference, Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger gave updates on the fitness of some long-term absentees.

Jack Wilshere and Danny Welbeck have both had operations at the beginning of the season, and are yet to make an Arsenal appearance between them.

Both players will be members of Roy Hodgson’s Euro 2016 squad, should they prove their form and fitness, so it’s important for club and country that they’re back as soon as possible. Thankfully, everything is going according to plan.

When he was operated on in September, Wenger said that Wilshere would hopefully return at Christmas, but an early boost would be fantastic news for Arsenal.

Currently, Alexis is the only viable option on the left wing while the Gunners are relying on the fitness of Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini (who should both be available for Saturday’s trip to Watford) to cover Francis Coquelin. While Wilshere is not a holding midfielder, having an extra midfielder who can play centrally would be no bad thing.

Wilshere’s return could prove a timely boost ahead of a packed Christmas and New Year schedule.

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Though – according to the latest estimation – we will have to wait a little longer for Welbeck, it’s vital that the injured players aren’t rushed back.

If Arsenal can get both Englishmen fit, we will be in a great position to end the season strongly. A long season can take its toll on the squad, so two fresh players for the second half of the campaign would be very welcome.