Danny Welbeck returned to training this week to give Arsène Wenger a much needed boost. Initially ruled out for nine months in May, the England international is targeting a return two months ahead of schedule and hopes to return to action before the end of this year according to reports.
Wenger is expected to bring Welbeck into full training after a two or three week spell working on the striker’s rehabilitation.
Having suffered serious cartilage damage against Manchester City at the Etihad and there are concerns that he may be overly ambitious in trying to get back into action during the festive period.
It would give Wenger a selection headache up front although it seems most likely Welbeck will be used predominantly as a wide forward, occupying the place in the team currently taken by Alex Iwobi.
However, too often in the past we’ve seen players brought back too quickly and suffering soft tissue injuries causing them to be out for a significant length of time.
Arsène is keen to avoid a repeat of those problems with his £16m signing who has made just 49 appearances since joining from Manchester United in September 2014.
Welbeck’s return from a knee injury last season provided a brief injection of energy, culminating in his late headed winner against Leicester City at the Emirates in February. That proved to be a false dawn; a month later, we were ten points behind and out of the title race.
This time, his return may give us an extra source of goals as we enter a busy time of the season with the FA Cup starting in January, as well as the Champions League knockout phase a month later.
Not that the latter is much of an issue. Failing to beat PSG has left us facing the usual Round of Sixteen exit so it’s only another two games in the fixture list.