Arsenal are set to be boosted by the return of fit-again captain Cesc Fabregas after the international break, while England forward Theo Walcott may also be available for the crunch trip to Manchester City in two weeks’ time.
Fabregas has not featured since injuring a hamstring when scoring a bizarre goal at Sunderland on September 18, while Walcott’s fine early season form was halted by a badly sprained ankle during England’s Euro 2012 qualifier win in Switzerland at the start of September.
However, Spain midfielder Fabregas has now declared himself fit, although he will not be involved in Spain’s games against Lithuania or Scotland.
Walcott is making good progress but will not rush his recovery, with the trip to Eastlands on October 24 perhaps a more realistic target than when Birmingham visit Emirates Stadium in the first match following the internationals.
Goalkeeper Manuel Almunia is also expected to have recovered from the elbow injury which forced him out of the Gunners’ last two matches, allowing understudy Lukasz Fabianski to impress in the 3-1 away Champions League victory over Partizan Belgrade.
Denmark forward Nicklas Bendtner has not played at all this season because of a niggling groin problem after the World Cup.
The 22-year-old, though, hopes to be back in contention by the end of the month and in the “best shape ever”.
Bendtner said: “Now I am ready [to train]. Some of the boys have time off because of their internationals, but otherwise I train together with the other first-team players at Arsenal and I have enjoyed myself so much.
“I have no pain in the groin and have trained so hard physically that maybe I am in my best shape ever.
“I need only a couple of reserve team matches to be quite sharp in football terms. It is my hope that I can be with the first team in 14 days.”
Full-back Kieran Gibbs (calf) is also set to return after missing the England Under-21s European Championship play-off against Romania, but manager Arsene Wenger admits Thomas Vermaelen’s Achilles injury suffered on the last international break is proving slow to heal.
Holland striker Robin van Persie is expected to be available again by the start of November following an ankle injury, while Wales midfielder Aaron Ramsey should also be back well ahead of the Christmas programme nine months after breaking his leg against Stoke.
With Arsenal’s forward line hit by injury, Marouane Chamakh has been handed an extended run in the side.
The Morocco striker has settled quickly following a free-transfer summer move from Bordeaux, scoring four goals so far.
But the 26-year-old feels there is more to come.
He told Sky Sports: “I am extremely happy with my choice and I am surprised how well it has started for me.
“I have settled very well on and off the pitch and I have been made very welcome by everyone at the club.
“I have a margin of progress to make and I think Arsene can make me a better player,
“I feel my game is well suited to English football and all I want to do is help Arsenal.
“English football is much more athletic and goes much quicker and the supporters are very impressive.”