Arsenal boosted by return of Ozil & Giroud for Villa clash

The key duo are primed to face the Villans, while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain should also feature, but Nicklas Bendtner is still three weeks away from full fitness

Arsene Wenger has confirmed Olivier Giroud and Mesut Ozil are set to return for Arsenal’s trip to Aston Villa on Monday.

Goal revealed on Wednesday that Ozil was excused from first-team training following his substitute appearance against Tottenham to go on a mid-season break to Morocco to recharge his batteries.

And Giroud is also primed to face the Villans, having missed Arsenal’s victories over Cardiff City and Tottenham with a niggly ankle problem.

“They [Giroud and Ozil] had a good training session yesterday and today they had no problem. They could be back,” Wenger told the club’s official website.

Wenger added that Kieran Gibbs and Aaron Ramsey are “very close” to a first-team return and there is a “small possibility” they will be fit to face Villa.

The Gunners boss also revealed that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is fit to feature again after a lengthy recovery from a knee injury which has sidelined him since the opening-day loss to Villa.

“It is unbelievable because he played the first game of the season, against Aston Villa, and now he is back and available and it is against Aston Villa again,” Wenger added.

“That makes it five months where has been completely out, so that means he is fresh and that should give us a boost.”

But Wenger admitted that, as Goal revealed last week, Nicklas Bendtner remains sidelined with an ankle problem, saying: “Bendtner, you count three weeks from now until he is back in training.”

Finally, the Frenchman once again expressed his sympathy with Theo Walcott, who is set to be out for six months after undergoing surgery to fix a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament.

“He has surgery and then it’s rehab,” Wenger continued. “You know that it is six months and that you hope it all goes well. The only thing I can say is it’s very sad news for us and above all for him.

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