Arsène Wenger could have three first-team players back for next match

Arsène Wenger could have three first-team players back for next match

Arsène Wenger could have three of his injured first-team players fit for Arsenal's next game against Blackburn Rovers on Saturday week. Alex Song is hopeful of making his comeback from knee trouble and Cesc Fábregas and Theo Walcott are also looking good to play in the fixture.

The Arsenal manager endured a scare when Nicklas Bendtner twisted his ankle in training with Denmark but the damage is not thought to be serious.

Song's injury has proved to be more serious than was first thought. He had been feeling some fragility in the knee before the Carling Cup final against Birmingham City on 27 February, but when he suffered a knock during the game it was not expected to rule him out for too long.

He has not played since, missing five matches, and was told that rest was essential. He continues to have intensive physiotherapy but has begun to train, albeit not yet fully, and considers the international break as the ideal opportunity to step up his rehabilitation and get himself fully fit for Blackburn's visit.

Fábregas will undergo a test on Thursday to ascertain whether he is able to return to full training, having suffered again from a recurring hamstring problem. The captain last felt it during the Champions League last 16 second-leg tie at Barcelona.

Walcott has not played since he injured his ankle in the home win over Stoke City on 23 February but, like Fábregas, he is optimistic about the prospect of facing Rovers. Wenger has made it clear that, as Arsenal hunt their first Premier League title since 2004, it is imperative that they win their home games.

Wenger had already received some good news on the injury front this week with Johan Djourou learning that he does not need surgery to repair the shoulder he injured in the FA Cup defeat at Manchester United. An operation would have ruled the central defender out for the remainder of the season but he now stands to return in four to six weeks, which could see him play in the probably crucial home fixture against United on 1 May.

That will be Arsenal's fourth last game of the Premier League season and Wenger believes the final three rounds of the competition ought to kick off simultaneously in the interests of fairness. Only the final round of matches, on 22 May, is scheduled to be in sync. One of the obstacles to Wenger's plan is that the FA Cup final is set for Saturday 14 May, which clashes with the penultimate round of the league programme.

"I think they should make each team's last three fixtures all kick off at the same time, not just the last one," Wenger said.

"There are advantages and disadvantages to kicking off later than the other teams. If you kick off later than your rivals, and they have lost, then you are in a more comfortable situation. Psychologically it can give you a lift and it's true that it can apply for us or Manchester United or Chelsea but I think it would be better not to give any team this advantage."

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by David Hytner, for The Guardian on Wednesday 23rd March 2011 22.00 Europe/London

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