With Arsenal’s busy festive period well and truly underway, let’s take a look at the players out and when we can expect them back.
The Gunners are currently without nine players.
The midfielder limped off during Arsenal’s 6-0 Champions League win over Ludogorets at the Emirates on 19 October and Gooners instantly feared the worst considering he was spotted holding an icepack to what appeared to be his Achilles.
After returning to training and suffering setback after setback, it was decided that the Spaniard would travel to Sweden to undergo surgery on his ankle.
The surgery, which took place 7 December, is expected to keep Santi out for two-to-three months but there is no set return date as of yet.
The big German has been out of action all season due to sustaining a cruciate knee ligament injury, which resulted in the centreback needing surgery.
Per went to Germany for treatment but returned to Arsenal at the end of November to gradually start training again. He’s expected back in January but there’s been no official date set.
Speaking recently, Arsene Wenger welcomed Per back to Arsenal after his treatment.
“We’ve had a welcome addition to the squad recently – Per Mertesacker has returned from a treatment break in Germany. You know Per is a leader in the group, on a mental front as well. That’s the only attribute he can use at the moment but he’s an important part of the dressing room. He gets everybody focused and I’m sure I can rely on his help to keep the team highly motivated.”
When the 21-year-old was left out of Arsenal’s Champions League squad to face FC Basel at home on 28 September, not many people said much considering no one really expected the striker to feature.
However, days later, it was confirmed that he’d picked up a lower back stress fracture at the end of September and the striker admitted that he was ‘gutted’.
Although Akpom’s not expected to return properly until January, he is back in training, which is encouraging.
Poor ol’ Debuchy. I swear the bloke can’t catch a break.
The right-back isn’t due back until January and Wenger admitted recently that he’s ‘totally broken’.
“Everybody (in the coaching staff) agreed that he was ready to play. I think he started the game playing superbly well.
“We are all so sad for him. Obviously, he feels totally broken.”
Our £35m centreback limped off just before the half-hour mark during Arsenal’s 3-1 victory over Stoke at the Emirates on 10 December with a hamstring strain.
While the German admitted shortly after sustaining the injury that he’s ‘extremely bitter’ over its timing, he has been predicted to return within three weeks and should therefore be back in action by early January.
Welbz’s cruciate knee injury has been well documented considering he’d only just returned from his previous one last season before sustaining the next during Arsenal’s 2-2 draw to Manchester City at the Etihad on the penultimate day of the campaign.
Although Wenger has admitted he’s being cautious with the striker, considering how long he’s been out, the former Manchester United man is back in training and on course for a January return.
“Yes [Welbeck is like a new signing], but I am cautious with Ramsey but even more with Welbeck because Welbeck will need some time,” Wenger said recently.
“Today is his first team training.
“Of course it’s fantastic because for him it is like starting a new career because he’s been out for such a long time but I am a bit cautious with the little setbacks you have when you’ve been out a long time, you have to be patient maybe.”
The Ox stormed down the tunnel during Arsenal’s 2-1 loss away to City on 18 December after he picked up a hamstring strain.
Fortunately, it doesn’t seem as serious as we once feared with Wenger confirming that the 23-year-old would be out for a matter of days, not weeks, ahead of Arsenal’s Boxing Day win against West Brom.
There have been reports suggesting that he could return for the Gunners’ New Year’s Day clash against Crystal Palace but I’d treat these with caution.
Walcott missed out on Arsenal’s Boxing Day victory over the Baggies with a calf strain, which the boss insists isn’t serious.
“Theo has a small calf problem, but a very small one,” he said.
Whether he’ll feature against Palace, we don’t yet know.
The left-back got a rare start against West Brom on Monday and was rewarded with a kick to the knee, which saw him subbed off for Nacho Monreal in the 71st minute.
It didn’t seem too serious but, since Gibbs is rather injury-prone, we’ll have to wait for more news on that.
“It’s a kick,” Wenger said.
“I don’t know how bad it is, but it’s a kick on the knee.”