Wenger set to throw Frimpong back into action after lay-off

Jim van Wijk

EMMANUEL FRIMPONG is in line for an early return to Arsenal duty after recovering from the serious knee injury he sustained while on loan at Wolves last season.

The 20-year-old midfielder suffered cruciate ligament damage in February but is eager to make up for lost time and should face Coventry in tonight's League Cup tie at the Emirates Stadium.

Manager Arsene Wenger will field a host of youngsters and fringe players against the Sky Blues, and at some stage Frimpong is set to be a part of the Gunners side.


Wenger is delighted to have the youngster back in first-team contention, and compared Frimpong's determination to that shown by Jack Wilshere, who has been out of action due to injury for the last 17 months.

The Frenchman said: "It is a big moment because he has suffered for a long time and has worked extremely hard, like Jack.

"He will be back for the first time on the bench. Ideally we should have waited a bit longer to include him again, but once you're back, you want so much a chance to be involved, so I want to give him a chance to be involved at least."

Wenger added: "Physically, Emmanuel has never been as fit as he is now. That should come out in the next two months.

"You need some competitions and certainly he will be involved when we play at West Brom with the reserves, so that will be a game for him.

"He is ready to have a go, is a competitive boy and a fighter. Of course this type of player always wants to be involved."

Andrei Arshavin will also have the chance to impress.

The 31-year-old Russian forward has made only one substitute appearance this season, having returned from a loan spell at his former club Zenit St Petersburg.

It was anticipated Arshavin, signed in January 2009 for £15million, would rejoin his old team on a permanent move during the last transfer window, only for the proposed switch to fall through.

Wenger said: "I have personally a great respect for Andrey Arshavin because sometimes some wrong ideas circulated about him -- that he doesn't care -- but it's completely the opposite.

"He is a 200 per cent professional who works every day very hard in training.

"At the moment he is a victim of the high level of competition that exists for places.

"I think he has a huge respect from everybody in the dressing room, and especially from the staff. We will give him of course some competition tonight."