Arsenal have been handed an injury boost after forward Danny Welbeck admitted that he is confident of an early return to the squad in January.
The England international has not featured for the Gunners this campaign as he last featured for his side in April. He suffered a knee injury and underwent a surgery in September and is expected to on the sidelines for the rest of the year.
Arsene Wenger admitted the former Manchester United man suffered a setback in his return to the first team and is expected to return in February.
“He is still not available because of bone bruising that deteriorated. It is a big blow for us, especially because we could not rotate and lost Alexis Sanchez,” Wenger explained.
However, Welbeck claims his road to recovery is going “pretty well” and is eager to get on the pitch after spending the majority of this calendar year in the treatment room.
“It’s going pretty well. I think with the way it’s going now I’m more positive with things and can’t wait to get back on the pitch. It’s a pretty serious injury and it’s difficult to go through those tough periods but it’s part and parcel of football,” Welbeck told Sky Sports.
“I think it has been frustrating; before I had the surgery I was trying to get back fit, but I’m starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel now.
“I’ve said the new year, January or February, but there’s no exact date yet, I’ve just got to make sure I’m 100% when I come back. Obviously I don’t want to come back too soon and make the injury worse. I can’t look too far ahead. I think the most important thing to me is to get back and show what I can do for Arsenal.”
Welbeck has joined his compatriot Jack Wilshere in the list of long-term injured players at Arsenal. The duo joins Francis Coquelin, Santi Cazorla and Alexis Sanchez as the list of key players sidelined with injuries.
Arsenal host Manchester City in the Premier League tie on Monday and Welbeck admitted that he will keep a close eye on the fixture at the Emirates.
“It’s a big game. It’s going to be interesting and I can’t wait to watch it. I hope we get the right result,” the former United man said.
“Obviously there’s quite a few boys out with injuries, but I think as we get a full squad it’s going to give us a good push to the end of the season.”
A defeat for Wenger’s side will see them lose the second spot to City, with Leicester City leading the Premier League table with 38 points.