Thomas Vermaelen looks set to make his first Arsenal appearance since August this weekend.
The Belgian defender has been sidelined for nine months due to a serious Achilles injury, which was expected to keep him out for the remainder of the season.
However, the 25-year-old has recovered faster than initially predicted and could be thrown into action against Aston Villa on Sunday, with Laurent Koscielny out with a thigh strain.
Tomas Rosicky and Abou Diaby will also be missing this weekend for Arsenal, while Arsene Wenger will make late decisions on the fitness of Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri.
“We have lost Laurent Koscielny with a thigh strain from Sunday against Stoke,” Wenger told Arsenal TV Online.
“It opens the door for Vermaelen,” added the Arsenal boss. “I have not completely decided yet but there is a probability he will start.
“We have question marks against Fabregas and Nasri. They will be late decisions. During the week we lost Tomas Rosicky with a thigh strain. Diaby will be out but I believe that Clichy will be back.”