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Returns a big boost: Wenger

ARSENAL manager Arsene Wenger welcomes back Theo Walcott and Denilson for tomorrow's Premier League visit of Bolton but looks set to be without Samir Nasri and Aaron Ramsey for three weeks.

England star Walcott has been struggling with a rib injury while Brazilian Denilson has been hindered by an abdominal problem but both will be in contention to face Owen Coyle's Trotters in the rearranged match at the Emirates Stadium.

Wenger said: "They are available. It is a big boost to have them back of course because they were out for a while and it gives us some fresh players as well and it's very good.


"He (Walcott) was unlucky with some small niggling injuries and now it is good to have him back."

Nasri and Ramsey picked up knocks before Sunday's 2-0 league win at Bolton and are likely to need three weeks to recover, although Wenger is optimistic they could be back earlier than that.

"Samir Nasri and Ramsey are both out for 21 days," the Frenchman continued. "Let's say we can have a good surprise with both because they are usually quick recovering players but our common sense tells us 21 days."

Wenger is also hopeful Nicklas Bendtner will be back in action soon.

The Danish striker has not played since the end of October due to a groin injury but the Gunners boss thinks he will be available for the Premier League trip to Villa Park on Wednesday week.

"Nicklas Bendtner should be back for the Villa game," said Wenger. "He should be available from next week onwards. Maybe not completely ready for Stoke (in FA Cup fourth round on Sunday) but after that he should be able to be in the squad."

Fran Merida looks set to be the only other absentee from the squad that beat Bolton. "We lost Fran Merida, who unfortunately got kicked straight away when he came on and his ankle was very bad today and that is all we should lose," Wenger added.

The north London club looked unlikely title contenders when they found themselves 11 points off the pace following a 3-0 home defeat by Chelsea in late November.

But Sunday's triumph took Arsenal to within three points of Premier League leaders Chelsea and knowing victory tomorrow by two goals would put them top of the pile on goal difference before the break in action for the FA Cup fourth round this weekend.

"It is important psychologically - not mathematically so much," Wenger said.

"We have a good opportunity to do it so we have to focus."

Wenger is hopeful the Holland forward, out since November with a long-term ankle injury, will feature in the final month of the season.

"He has come back (to the training ground) and is doing as well as you can at that stage," Wenger said. "He is out of his boot and walks normally but he thinks he will be playing mid-April."