Santi Cazorla still won’t be back until after Christmas, but the signs are positive for a return at that stage, according to Arsène Wenger.

The Arsenal manager was speaking after the Gunners’ 2-0 win over West Bromwich Albion, and seemed cautious not to sound too optimistic.

Nevertheless, the news generally sounds encouraging, as Wenger said: “The first signs are positive. But still he has not played for one and a half years,” reports the Daily Star.

“It won’t be before Christmas. He is not in full training yet, he needs a few games with the reserve team. So I think if all goes well, it will be after Christmas.”

Wenger’s timeline isn’t quite accurate, since the Spaniard injured himself playing in a match against Ludogorets last October, just 11 months ago, not one and a half years.

However, it’s still felt like an eternity for most fans, given how much the team has missed him, and how we keep being promised the midfielder isthree months away. Unfortunately that hasn’t changed much yet, as “after Christmas” is exactly three months from now.

This time it seems Cazorla is closer than three months away from recovery, he just needs a bit of extra time to get his match sharpness back, so hopefully this is slightly better news than usual.

Cazorla had scored two and assisted three in his 11 appearances from central midfield last season before his injury, a goal contribution no Arsenal midfielder has ever fully replaced since then.

In fact, Santi‘s two league goals last season were equal to or greater than the totals managed by Xhaka, Ramsey, Coquelin and Elneny, despite the Spaniard sitting out most of the campaign.

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Arsenal fan since a young age, now a season ticket holder who enjoys writing, tweeting and making videos about the Gunners.