Wenger welcomes back Arshavin and Walcott

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has been given a huge lift ahead of tomorrow’s Barclays Premier League clash at Fulham as Andrey Arshavin and Theo Walcott are available.

Arshavin has missed four matches with a groin problem, while Walcott has not played this season due to a side strain – but both are in the squad for Craven Cottage.

Goalkeeper Manuel Almunia is still struggling with a stomach problem so Vito Mannone could be in goal.

“Arshavin should be back and (Robin) Van Persie should be all right despite a little problem,” Wenger said. “We have a test tomorrow with him and Almunia is still a week away.

“We are very pleased because Arshavin gives us an attacking option that is always very interesting and away from home he’s always very efficient as well. He’s a guy who turns up at the right moment and can always create chances or score himself.”

Wenger was at the Emirates Stadium yesterday for the League Managers’ Association conference and declared that he has no plans to retire.

His hunger for the job was illustrated with a passionate defence following claims he unsettled Marouane Chamakh. Wenger has challenged Bordeaux president Jean-Louis Triaud to a public meeting over his allegations.

Wenger is a huge admirer of Morocco forward Chamakh but no deal was agreed this summer for the 25-year-old, who has a year left on his contract with his French club.

Triaud has questioned Wenger’s conduct by suggesting he publicly declared an interest in his player before telling Bordeaux – and he is reluctant to do business with Arsenal if they go back for Chamakh when the transfer window reopens in January.

Wenger said: “The communication between the president of Bordeaux and myself is very clear – I kept him informed on everything that happened.

“If he is ready to make a comment, I’m ready to sit down with him here and to explain to you what he said. Then I will answer eye to eye.

“I don’t agree at all. It’s very difficult for me to understand any statement of that kind from him. I’m ready to make a press conference with him if you want.

“I’m not angry because I look in the mirror and know what I did – I don’t need any special comment. We can sit down here with the player and the president of Bordeaux and have an explanation. You will see what I did. I’m sure the president of Bordeaux will agree with what I say.”

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