With a new year on the horizon, Arsenal fans have been handed an early Christmas present by Arsene Wenger, who issued some positive updates regarding the squad.
The Gunners will welcome back a host of players over the next week, a huge advantage to ensuring we pick up nine points in the space of nine days in the Premier League.
The first test comes on Boxing Day, with Arsenal welcoming mid-table West Brom to the Emirates as both sides look to shake off a hangover of form ready for 2017.
Wenger remained confident that his squad could deliver at maximum capacity over the next few weeks, despite a busy fixture schedule that includes a trip to Preston in the FA Cup.
Arsenal Team News
The biggest news for Arsenal fans is that Danny Welbeck has officially returned to full training after eight months on the sidelines, giving us another option on the left flank.
He joined Aaron Ramsey who linked up with the rest of the team on Friday after recovering from a minor toe injury that has left him out of action for the past few weeks.
Neither will be ready in time for West Brom, and it looks as if Shkodran Mustafi will have to miss another game but will be in contention for the trip to Crystal Palace.
Meanwhile, Oxlade-Chamberlain will sit out Monday afternoon as a precaution, Wenger ensured the injury to his hamstring wasn’t serious but remained wary of bringing him back too soon.
Long-term absentees Santi Cazorla and Mathieu Debuchy continue their recovery, whilst Per Mertesacker is lining up as another option for Wenger at centre back.
Arsenal Absentees: Cazorla (ankle), Welbeck (match fitness), Ramsey (match fitness), Mertesacker (doubt), The Ox (hamstring), Mustafi (hamstring), Debuchy (hamstring)
Predicted Line-Up (4-2-3-1): Cech, Bellerin, Gabriel, Koscielny, Monreal, Elneny, Xhaka, Walcott, Ozil, Iwobi, Alexis
West Brom Team News
The Baggies will be without their star striker Saido Berahino yet again this week as Tony Pulis revealed he needs significant game time to get up to the level required.
Reported Gunners target during the summer, Jonny Evans, will take part in a late fitness test to determine whether or not he’s ready to line up at the heart of defence.
There’s still uncertainty on how long Pulis will be without James Morrison, the midfielder has often risen his game when playing against Arsenal so that’s a welcome relief.
West Brom Absentees: Morrison (flu), Evans (calf), Berahino (match fitness)
Predicted Line-Up (4-2-3-1): Foster, Dawson, McAuley, Evans, Nyom, Fletcher, Yacob, Brunt, Chadli, Phillips, Rondon
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