Arsenal have been handed a major injury boost ahead of the busy festive period fixtures with Laurent Koscielny, Alexis Sanchez, Theo Walcott and Kieran Gibbs set to return to the first-team squad in the coming weeks. This news will come as music to the ears of Arsene Wenger, who was facing the prospect of going through the busy Christmas schedule without the former two after they picked up injuries along with Santi Cazorla during the Gunners' 1-1 draw against Norwich City on 29 November.
According to Sky Sports, the French defender, who was replaced by Gabriel after just 11 minutes at Carrow Road with a hip problem, could return to training by the end of the week and be available for selection for the north London club's home game against Sunderland in the Premier League. The report also claimed that Gibbs, who missed the last two games with a minor calf injury, could return to be part of the matchday squad against the Black Cats.
Meanwhile, the Daily Mirror has reported that the attacking duo of Sanchez and Walcott are also expected to return ahead of schedule, and could be available for selection ahead of the busy Christmas period fixtures. The Chilean international limped off with a suspected hamstring strain in the second half against the Canaries, while the England international has not played since suffering a calf strain during Arsenal's loss to Sheffield Wednesday in the League Cup.
The former's injury is not expected to be as bad as first feared and Sanchez could return to face Manchester City in the Premier League on 21 December. The former Barcelona star was playing with a minor knock, but Wenger was unwilling to rest his star forward as they looked to get their Premier League title challenge back on track. Arsenal are currently in fourth position, two points behind the Etihad Stadium outfit, who are on top of the table.
Walcott, on the other hand, has not played since the end of October, but is expected to return ahead of schedule, with the report claiming that he could make the bench for the weekend clash against Sunderland. The 12-times FA Cup champions are undergoing a major injury crisis with long-term absentees Jack Wilshere, Danny Welbeck, Tomas Rosicky and Francis Coquelin not expected to return until the New Year.