• Premier League

Wilshere return set to give Wenger a boost

ESPN staff
February 6, 2014
Jack Wilshere has been hampered by his on-going ankle problem © PA Photos

Jack Wilshere is in line to make a return to the Arsenal squad ahead of a challenging spell of fixtures that could define the Gunners season.

A recurrence of the persistent ankle problem Wilshere has been nursing for some time has kept him on the sidelines since Arsenal's FA Cup fourth round win against Coventry last month, but he could be in line to play against Liverpool at Anfield on Saturday.

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"Wilshere might be back and that will be important for us," confirmed Wenger, whose midfield reserves have been depleted by the injuries to Theo Walcott and Aaron Ramsey, while Mathieu Flamini is suspended for the trip to Anfield.

"It's important to have as many players back as possible in the squad. In the big games, it is always decided by having the complete squad available. Most of the time, these games are decided by players who come on or players who have a big statement in a big game."

Wenger went on to stress his belief that his squad is equipped to cope with the demands of a month that includes Premier League and FA Cup ties against Liverpool, a clash with Manchester United and a Champions League meeting with reigning holders Bayern Munich.

"I am convinced we can cope with these fixtures," he stated. "Mentally, we are prepared for this and we have shown a great response thought the season when we had difficulties and we always responded well. Physically, we are well prepared.

"It depends how many injuries you have because you need to rotate, but we need as many players available as we can. There are always big questions to answer at the end of the season.

"We have a tough month [ahead] by all predictions, but at the moment we are on a good run and the best way is to continue that and keep the confidence levels high and of course, to stay in a strong position for the Premier League.

"Confidence levels are so important going into the big games and we can only look at the next game. That is all we can do."

Wenger again brushed aside questions over when he might sign his new contract to extend his stay as Arsenal boss, while suggesting he was 'hopeful' of defender Bacary Sagna signing a new contract with the Gunners, despite rumours that he is lining up a free transfer next summer

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