Arsene Wenger believes his present collection of midfielders may be the best set of players in the Premier League, once they are all fit and ready to play. The veteran Frenchman also stated Cameroon international Alex Song, who was a key member of the Gunners' first team squad last season, was sold because he was deemed surplus to requirements.
"The midfield has done very well since the start of the season, but we have not had everyone available," the manager explained, adding, "So when everyone is fit and if we can find the right balance, yes, we may have the best midfield. This is why we allowed Alex Song to leave for Barcelona last summer. We have great options in the midfield."
At present, Wenger has England international Theo Walcott and Czech playmaker Tomas Rosicky definitely ruled out, while France's Abou Diaby and Ghana's Emmanuel Frimpong are also unavailable for selection.
The good news from the treatment room is that 20-year-old English midfielder Jack Wilshere is almost ready for first team action. The England international has been out of football for over a year, after sustaining a stress fracture in a 2011 friendly. However, the youngster has made encouraging progress in recent weeks and played in two games for the club's U21 side and a full 90 minutes in a friendly against a Chelsea XI recently.
Wilshere is still not 100 percent match fit or ready but tweets from the player's agent, Simon Bayliff, state his client has travelled with the Arsenal squad to Carrow Road and could feature, at some point, in the game against Norwich City. Wenger himself, while acknowledging Wilshere is fast regaining fitness, has urged caution over rushing back to duty.
However, as Wenger pointed out, the absence of Wilshere still leaves the Gunners with the not inconsiderable talents of Aaron Ramsey, Mikel Arteta, Santi Cazorla, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and a number of promising youngsters like Serge Gnabry, Thomas Eisfeld and Francis Coquelin.
Arsenal are currently seventh in the Premier League, with 12 points from the opening seven games. Their hosts for this weekend, Norwich, are struggling in 19th, with four defeats and three draws from their seven fixtures; read an IBTimes UK preview of the Norwich City - Arsenal game. Chris Hughton's side come into this game on the back of a 1-4 hammering from league leaders Chelsea.
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