Arsenal have been given some positive news in relation to winger Theo Walcott and central midfielder Santi Cazorla.
Arsenal have made a superb start to the season in the Premier League and the Champions League but October will give Arsene Wenger’s side two of their toughest tests yet.
The Gunners face home matches against Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League and Chelsea in the Premier League this month, which will test their credentials on all fronts extensively.
Arsenal will be lifted by the news that Santi Cazorla is back in training ahead of the Premier League match against Norwich this weekend, with Theo Walcott close to a return to first team training.
Several reports have suggested that Walcott needs to be training by this Thursday in order to be considered for selection ahead of Saturday’s match.
Both players are unlikely to feature from the start this Saturday owing to the success of the current group of players Wenger is using but they could feature from the bench with late cameos, which will help their match fitness.
Any game time against Norwich will be very important considering how dangerous Borussia Dortmund can be when they head to the Emirates Stadium next Tuesday.
The best way for players to get that sharpness, speed and reaction time back is to play competitive games but Wenger cannot risk playing either star with a slight doubt because they will be important players over the rest of the season.
Walcott probably has the better chance of starting when he gets close to the right fitness levels because the Gunners don’t have a ready made replacement in his position, other than youngster Serge Gnabry.
Cazorla will have a much more difficult time of things trying to force his way into a midfield which has been ably supported by Jack Wilshere, Mesut Ozil, Aaron Ramsey and Mathieu Flamini so far this season.
The home match against Chelsea in the League Cup should provide an opportunity for both Walcott and Cazorla to start against a very experienced and talented Chelsea side, led by Jose Mourinho.
Wenger is likely to make several changes to his first team for that game and while the League Cup may not be a priority in his eyes, it will mean important game time ahead of a return trip to Dortmund and Premier League games against Liverpool and Manchester United next month.
The problem Wenger faces is whether to force the progress of Walcott and Cazorla so they are ready to feature next Tuesday or whether to nurse them back lowly, so they can play full parts in the Premier League clash against Crystal Palace before that cup tie against the Blues.
image: © Ronnie Macdonald