Arsene Wenger has confirmed Arsenal duo Aaron Ramsey and Olivier Giroud are edging closer to making their respective returns from injury, although neither player will feature in Wednesday night's (19 October) Champions League Group A visit of Bulgarian champions Ludogorets Razgrad to the Emirates Stadium.
"For tomorrow we have a similar squad to the one that faced Swansea," Wenger was quoted as saying by the Gunners at a pre-match press conference. "There are no injuries and everyone is available."
On the condition of Ramsey and Giroud, who were pictured training together at London Colney on Tuesday, he added: "They continue their preparation as they have been out for a long time. I think they need sharpening up now, but they are not far away."
Despite playing a crucial role for Wales during their fairytale run to the semi-finals of Euro 2016, Ramsey was thrust into the starting lineup for a thrilling 4-3 defeat to Liverpool on the opening day of the season, being substituted with a hamstring problem shortly after the hour mark.
The midfielder has not played a single minute of competitive action since, with Wenger recently confirming that Arsenal, still missing long-term knee injury victims Per Mertesacker and Danny Welbeck, had decided to risk more missed games by giving him a complete pre-season now after a series of minor setbacks that led to the adoption of a more cautious approach.
Along with Mesut Ozil and compatriot Laurent Koscielny, French striker Giroud was given an extended break after his considerable European Championship exertions. He made his first domestic appearance of the season in a stalemate against defending Premier League champions Leicester City in August. He also featured as a substitute in the narrow defeat of Southampton before being sent off for two bookable offences during the latter stages of a Champions League draw in Paris.
The oft-maligned 30-year-old subsequently missed wins over Hull City and Nottingham Forest due to a toe injury and, suspended against Basel, has been sidelined since coming on with 20 minutes remaining of a hugely impressive 3-0 victory over Chelsea last month. That combination of rest, injury and a lack of form means Giroud has yet to make a single start for Arsenal in 2016-17, although Wenger, who continues to deploy Alexis Sanchez up front with summer signing Lucaz Perez a substitute, has provided reassurances that he still has a key role to play this season.
"He is an important player in our squad. The squad is not 11, we are 25 players and everybody will contribute at different parts of the season. What sometimes looks permanent in October is completely revolutionised in December. We all have only one target: to be successful together, no matter who it is."