Arsenal have been handed a significant injury boost ahead of their hectic schedule in December with Danny Welbeck back in training after recovering from the knee injury he sustained against Manchester City at the end of last season.
The former Manchester United striker was ruled out for at least nine months when he damaged a cartilage in his knee following a tackle by City defender Bacary Sagna, but has made an earlier than expected return. Arsene Wenger confirmed that he was three months ahead of schedule in September, and a Telegraph report now suggests that he has begun light training and will join up with the rest of the squad in the coming weeks.
The England international is expected to be available for selection during the festive period, but the severity of his injury is likely to see the French manager take a cautious approach. Arsenal have three strikers at their disposal at the moment in Alexis Sanchez, Olivier Giroud and Lucas Perez which will give the manager enough time to ease Welbeck back into action.
The 26-year-old striker's return in the second half of the season will be a major boost for the Gunners as they look to maintain their bid for the title with Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City, who are above them on the table at the moment.
Santi Cazorla, meanwhile, is set to undergo surgery to correct an Achilles problem that has kept him out of action since October. IBTimes UK had exclusively revealed that the midfielder was advised to go under the knife and the club have now confirmed that he will travel to Sweden to undergo a procedure that will keep him out for at least three months.
The Spaniard's absence will be a major blow to the north London club, who have struggled to fill his void in midfield in recent weeks. Wenger has tried various midfield combinations, but has been unable to find the guile and incisive passing the former Malaga player brings.
"Santi Cazorla is travelling to Sweden early next week to undergo surgery to his right ankle. The club's medical team and specialists have decided that surgery is required to the plantaris tendon in the Spain international's right foot," a statement on Arsenal's official site read.
"The problem has not progressed during a rehabilitation programme following the injury during the home match with Ludogorets on October 19. We expect Santi's full recovery to take approximately three months."