Danny Welbeck back for Arsenal, no January signings planned by Wenger
Arsenal forward Danny Welbeck was back in full training on Friday after a long-term absence, with manager Arsene Wenger saying the return of injured players mean he will not need reinforcements in the January transfer window.
Welbeck has been out since May after suffering a serious knee injury, having only recently made his return from another nine-month absence with a similar problem. But he and Aaron Ramsey, who has only made two league starts this season and missed two weeks with his latest injury problem, returned to full training to give the Gunners a big injury boost.
Ramsey could be in the squad for the Boxing Day game against West Brom, while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is out after injuring his hamstring in the 2-1 loss to Manchester City on Sunday.
And while Welbeck still needs time to regain match fitness, Wenger agreed that both he and Ramsey will be like new signings for Arsenal.
"Yes because [Ramsey] has not played many games. He has played maybe two games since the start of the season. But let's not be too premature, he had some setbacks and I hope this time he will be all right," Wenger said.
"I am cautious with Ramsey but even more with Welbeck, because we need some time. Today it's his first team training, of course it's fantastic because for him it's like starting a new career because he has been out for such a long time. But I am a little cautious with the little setbacks you have when you have been out for a long, long time. You have to be patient."
Welbeck will give another option for Wenger in attack, where the likes of Olivier Giroud and Lucas Perez are already struggling to break into the starting lineup. And Wenger said he doesn't feel the need to make any major buys in January.
"We have Perez, we have Giroud, we have [Alexis] Sanchez, we have Welbeck suddenly up front. And Walcott, [Alex] Oxlade-Chamberlain who is nearly a striker," Wenger said. "So we have plenty of options offensively. Defensively we are not in need at the moment."
However, Arsenal are only fourth in the standings after two damaging losses to Everton and Man City and will need a strong response during the holiday fixtures in order to keep pace with their title rivals.
Wenger criticised the scheduling of this year's games, though, with teams having the full week off before playing on Boxing Day, then another week off followed by two games in three days on Jan. 1 and Jan. 3.
Wenger had complained of fatigue after playing away in the Champions League and then facing three Premier League games in eight days leading up to the City match.
"It's a bit surprising this year. I don't understand completely the logic of the organisation of the fixtures this season," Wenger said. "Last week we played after the European Cup three games a week.
"This week we have eight days without a game. After, some teams play on the 26th and the 1st, we have again a complete week off over Christmas which is unusual. And suddenly we play the first and the third, 48 hours later. I don't know if it's television who have decided that or the Premier League, but it's completely unusual fixtures and it looks less congested than it was before."
Mattias is ESPN FC's Arsenal correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @MattiasKaren.