Thomas Vermaelen likely to return to the Arsenal FC squad as they face Newcastle United, while Kieran Gibbs continues his spell at the side-lines.

Everton’s loss against Southampton has now provided Arsenal with a brilliant opportunity to consolidate their place in the top four as they prepare to host Newcastle United at the Emirates. They are coming into this match on the back of a comfortable 0-3 win over Hull City in their last game and should be confident about four wins in a row in all competitions.

A lot of players have returned to action in the last few weeks, but Arsene Wenger still has to contain with a fairly long injury list. Frenchman Abou Diaby finally returned to action for the U-21 side after spending 13 months on the side-lines due to a cruciate knee ligament injury, but Arsene Wenger has confirmed that Diaby has suffered a “set-back” during the match.

“He [Diaby] played one half [for the under-21s].

“How far away he is is difficult to say but he had a little groin problem after the game so will not be available for Monday.” – The Arsenal manager said.

Thomas Vermaelen, who picked up a knock during Arsenal’s 3-1 win over West Ham United and missed the last game against Hull City, could return to the squad facing Newcastle United, although he is unlikely to start. Wenger also confirmed Kieran Gibbs remains unavailable for selection due to fitness concerns.

“Everybody who was available at Hull last week will be available for Newcastle. Vermaelen could be back so everybody should be there but not Gibbs, not Diaby yet. Of course Wilshere and Walcott are still out as well.” – Wenger added.

Serge Gnabry and Ryo Miyaichi remain the other injury concerns along with Wilshere and Walcott, but Wenger did confirm that Wilshere is on course to return before the season ends.

“Jack is progressing well. He is still on course to be with the team in the last couple of games.” – He insisted in his pre-match press conference.

Arsene Wenger is unlikely to make any changes to the side that won comfortably against Hull City, which means Mikel Arteta and Aaron Ramsey will for the pivot, while Santi Cazorla, Mesut Ozil and Lukas Podolski will start in the attack behind Olivier Giroud.

Expected starting line-up (4-2-3-1): Szczesny (GK); Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal; Arteta, Ramsey; Cazorla, Ozil, Podolski; Giroud