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Wenger: Duo close to return

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has reassured fans that England duo Kieran Gibbs and Jack Wilshere are not far away from returning from injury.

Last Updated: 02/05/14 at 15:45 Post Comment

Gibbs has been sidelined with an ankle problem, while Wilshere has been out for almost two months after a foot injury sustained during England's friendly against Denmark.

Wenger indicated the duo are likely to feature in the FA Cup final later this month but stressed the team's focus is on ending their 2013/2014 Premier League home campaign in style.

"Kieran Gibbs is very very close now (to returning from injury) and Jack Wilshere is not far away as well," the Arsenal manager said. "They are both very close to being integrated back into training again.

"We have to finish as close as possible to the top and to win our remaining games - that is what is at stake for us.

"The important thing for us is the next game. Let's win at home to West Brom. It is our last home game. The FA Cup is two weeks away. That is a long time."

Arsenal have suffered just one Premier League home defeat all season and that came on the opening day against Aston Villa, who beat Wenger's side 3-1.

Wenger admitted his side have improved since then and believes they would have been much closer to the top had they converted some of their home draws into wins.

"We started in the worst possible way and after some rest we've had a good strong home record," he said.

"The only restriction has been maybe that in the big games we had a few too many draws and not won some of them. That is maybe where the missing points are at the moment because we are very close to the top and one or two more wins at home could maybe have made that difference.

"When we came out of Christmas, we were in a strong position and what you want then is to have your strong players available in March and April. We had too many injuries.

"It is very, very difficult - you can have one or two, but after that when you have too many injuries you always have to play the same players and that is detrimental to the efficiency of the group.

"The regret we have is that too many players were out at the same time between Christmas and April."

1. squad is small 2. season start early with important CL qualifications = more early body stress compared to other top clubs 3. fight on four fronts with limited bench talent and a high pace, high risk game plan. At its best Arsenal is dizzying. 4. Most Arsenal players are also the lone stars in home countries and expectation is on them to play friendlies and carry club in qualifiers (Bendtner is unchallenged forward for Denmark...) 4. First injuries happen. Normally would give decent bench players a chance and continuing rotation. Instead, more reliance on same few players that actually can play on world class level and call up 17-year olds that are impressive but unreliable to fill gaps 5. continue to fight on four fronts, plus national friendlies for all first team players (not even all top 6-7 teams in premier league are usually in four fronts at this point) 6. More injuries to the remaining top players as a result of overuse. 7. Massive blows in a few crucial games. Players get demotivated. Set backs in rehab. Season crumbles on all four fronts. Out of three cups, risk missing fourth in league 8. Star players return. Season reinvigorated, fourth place secured. 9. Sell the most reliable or best players. Buy more kids 9. Repeat next season. Hey Wenger, how about opening the vault, and get 6-8 quality players and also some of that medicine that seem to help players in other clubs return quicker and stronger. then maybe we get third and CL semi next year.
- monkeymanboy

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resumably, Diaby is in this team but receiving treatment

lee
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deadwood 11 and not an arsenal player listed. Heady days.

EssexGooner
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ithout doing any research I would have to say that Richard Wright is the singular most successful ex Ipswich Town player I know. Yes, thats what the kaleidoscopic whirlwind of highs and lows feels like supporting the Tractor Boys. In other exciting news I saw two, count them, TWO squirrels today. What a start to August.

hump3.
The Pre-Season 'Is He Still There?' XI

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