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Wenger gives return dates for Arsenal midfield duo

Tomas Rosicky, Arsenal. Picture: Adam Davy/EMPICS Tomas Rosicky, Arsenal. Picture: Adam Davy/EMPICS

Friday, November 23, 2012
4:35 PM

Arsene Wenger expects midfielder Abou Diaby to be back in “three to four weeks” from his latest muscle injury, while Czech international Tomas Rosicky is set to rejoin full squad training on Monday.

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The Frencham hasn’t featured for Arsenal since the 2-1 defeat to Chelsea at the end of September after suffering a thigh problem while his team-mate is yet to play this season after picking up a hamstring injury during Euro 2012 this summer.

Both are continuing their rehabilitation and tomorrow’s Premier League trip to face Aston Villa comes too soon as well as Theo Walcott (shoulder) and Andre Santos (stomach muscle).

Wenger said: “Last year from January to the end of the season, Rosicky was one of the most influential players in our squad,” said Wenger.

“I hope he can repeat that because until now we haven’t seen him and he was injured at the European Championship.”

One positive for Arsenal has been the return from a long injury lay-off by midfielder Jack Wilshere.

The England international netted his first Arsenal goal in almost two years with the opener against Montpellier.

Wenger feels there is plenty more to come from the combative 20-year-old, who had to serve a one-match domestic ban after his red card in the recent defeat at Manchester United.

“It is fantastic. I always said if we have Jack back in January, we (would) have done well. He has done much better than expected,” said Wenger.

“Jack focuses on what is important for a midfielder: defend well, make the team play well and then he will get on the end of things.

“What is good to see as well, is that he can absorb games now, however, I don’t forget that he has been out for 17 months and that we still have to be a bit sensible.”

Wenger admits he has a “few tired legs” in the group following their recent exertions. While the Arsenal manager could look to rotate his side at Villa Park, there will be no chance of taking the challenge of Paul Lambert’s young side lightly, despite the hosts own inconsistent form which has dropped them into the bottom three.

“Villa are a dynamic side. At the moment, it is difficult to find a team in the Premier League who cannot cause you problems if you are not completely up for it,” Wenger said.

“Looking at the results of last weekend, every team had problems everywhere, that is why we are just prepared to be as good as you can be, and hope that will be enough.”

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Arsenal

Nickname: The Gunners.

Ground: Emirates Stadium (capacity 60,361).

Founded: 1886.

Honours: First Division (until 1992) and Premier League: 1931, 1933, 1934, 1935, 1938, 1948, 1953, 1971, 1989, 1991, 1998, 2002, 2004.

FA Cup: 1930, 1936, 1950, 1971, 1989, 1991, 1998, 2002, 2003, 2005.

League Cup: 1987, 1993.

Fairs Cup: 1970.

Cup Winners’ Cup: 1994.

Leading goalscorer: Thierry Henry, 228.

Leading appearances: David O’Leary, 722.