Fit-again striker Olivier Giroud can help offer Arsenal “different options”, according to manager Arsene Wenger.
The France international has recovered quicker than expected from a fractured leg suffered when challenging for the ball in the closing stages of the 2-2 draw against Everton on August 23.
Wenger revealed Giroud could even be involved in Saturday’s Barclays Premier League game against Manchester United at the Emirates Stadium, although the trip to West Brom on November 29 looks a more realistic target.
The Gunners boss is confident when he and fellow forward Theo Walcott are fully match fit, the Arsenal squad will have even more firepower at their disposal to add to the impressive form of summer signing Alexis Sanchez and former United frontman Danny Welbeck.
“Giroud and (Mikel) Arteta are both available. It is just a question of how ready they are, but they are available,” said Wenger on Arsenal Player.
“He (Giroud) is three or four weeks ahead of schedule. Originally we planned to have him back for competition at the beginning of next year, so he is one month ahead.”
Wenger added: “Yes (we relied on Welbeck), and on Sanchez as well, but we have Giroud back, we have Walcott back.
“Slowly they will integrate into the team again and give us different options.”
German playmaker Mesut Ozil, though, is not expected to be “ready before the start of 2015”, according to Wenger as he continues recover from a knee problem.
The Gunners’ treatment room could soon be somewhat sparse with defenders Laurent Koscielny, who has been troubled by a niggling Achilles injury, and Matheiu Debuchy, out since August with ankle ligament damage, stepping up their rehabilitation.
“Koscielny and Debuchy are doing well, they are out on the field [working] again. We have to see now,” said the Arsenal boss.
“Usually field work is three weeks away from full group training, then there is fitness.
“It looks straightforward for Debuchy. It’s not inflammation, it’s just repairing surgery.
“For Koscielny, it depends how well he responds to training. At the moment he looks good.”
Wenger will be hoping Arsenal can rediscover their defensive cohesion against a United side themselves hit by injury.
Jack Wilshere was deployed in a deeper midfield role for England over the international break, and produced a man-of-the-match display against Slovenia at Wembley before again excelling during the friendly win in Scotland.
While the 22-year-old accepts Wenger currently prefers to utilise his natural attacking qualities further up the pitch, Wilshere is determined to improve all aspects of the position.
“The main thought behind analysing players [like Xabi Alonso and Andres Iniesta] was to try and improve in the deeper role I play for England, so I am watching the best players in the world in that position and trying to pick up things from them,” Wilshere told Arsenal Player.
“In the position I play at the moment everyone knows I want to pick up the ball and run with it, but if I do that in this new position and lose it, the whole team’s in trouble.
“The best players in the world know that and they know when to dribble.
“You can still dribble but you have to make sure. There is also the range of passing – in that position I have to start attacks so I can play short or long.”
Wilshere added: “You also have to analyse your own performance. I always get the clips sent to my iPad after a game and I go through it and question myself so that I can try and demand a bit more from myself.
“I would say I am adding to my game. I am one of the players who wants to pick up the ball in the final third and dribble with it, but now I have got this new role where I am deeper and if I do lose the ball there is big trouble for the team. So the main thing is to be a bit more intelligent.”