Arsenal stars Santi Cazorla and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are in line to return to full training next week after significant spells on the sidelines through injury.
Cazorla has been out since the end of November after two injury setbacks, while his teammate hasn’t featured since February due to a knee injury.
Although the absences of both men have been felt by Arsene Wenger, it is the Spaniard’s return that is arguably the biggest boost given his influence on the team in the first part of the season.
Cazorla suffered a knee problem initially and was expected to return last month, but an Achilles knock set him back further and resulted in him missing a large part of the campaign.
Naturally, Arsenal supporters will be disappointed that they have returned so late with their Premier League title hopes already all but over for another season.
The Gunners sit third in the table and remain 13 points adrift of leaders Leicester City with six games remaining, as the Foxes continue to edge closer to the title each week.
Nevertheless, it will be a boost to see Cazorla back on the pitch and end the season impressively as the creative midfielder has undoubtedly established himself as a fans favourite at the Emirates with his influential displays.
“Next week [Chamberlain and Cazorla] will be back maybe, they are not back in full training yet. They are still on fitness work,” Wenger said, as reported by Sky Sports.
As for Chamberlain, the England international will be under pressure to impress in the final few weeks of the season as he has been the subject of transfer speculation with Chelsea the latest club to be linked with a move, as reported by the Metro.
The 22-year-old hasn’t developed as expected since his arrival from Southampton in 2011, while he has scored just two goals and provided two assists in 33 appearances so far this season.
For a player so highly thought of by the Arsenal coaching staff and with such big expectations from the supporters, he will potentially face a fight to prove himself between now and the end of the campaign.