Arsene Wenger admits he will have to exercise real caution over Aaron Ramsey and Danny Welbeck and avoid risking the Arsenal pair suffering any setbacks in their returns from injury.
Both Ramsey and Welbeck returned to full first-team training with the rest of the Gunners squad on Friday (23 December) with the former in with a slight chance of making the match day squad for the visit of West Brom on Boxing Day.
The Wales international missed 13 games in all competitions earlier this season due to a hamstring injury before picking up the same problem earlier in December. As a result, he missed the club's last three Premier League games but is now expected to return over the festive period.
Wenger told a press conference on Friday: "Ramsey has a chance of making the squad, he is back in full training today." He added: "We know the strengths of Aaron, he is efficient defensively and has a high level of activity, a very complete box-to-box player. Overall I think he gives us options in midfield.
"He has not played many games, but let's not be too premature; he has had some setbacks so I hope this time he will be alright."
Wenger has greater concerns for Welbeck, whose spell at the club has been disrupted by injury. The England striker has been sidelined since May, when he underwent surgery to correct significant cartilage damage in his right knee, a blow which came just 12 weeks after his return from another long-term knee problem.
"I'm cautious with Ramsey but even more with Welbeck. He will need some time. Of course it's fantastic for him; it's like starting a new career but I am cautious over little setbacks that can happen after you have been out for a long time."
Arsenal will also be without Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain for the visit of Tony Pulis' side. The former Southampton winger limped off just 13 minutes after coming off the bench in the defeat to City, with Wenger revealing post-match his player had been picked up a hamstring injury.
Wenger insists Oxlade-Chamberlain's injury isn't serious, however, adding his spell on the sidelines will be a question of "days, rather than weeks".
The Gunners are also still without Shkodran Mustafi, who will be available again at the start of January, according to Wenger.