Arsenal could be without Santi Cazorla for Middlesbrough game - Wenger

LONDON -- Arsenal midfielder Santi Cazorla faces a late fitness test ahead of Saturday's home game against Middlesbrough while Olivier Giroud and Aaron Ramsey could return next week, Arsene Wenger has said.

Cazorla took a knock to his Achilles tendon in the 6-0 Champions League win over Ludogorets on Wednesday and was taken off as a precaution.

The Spaniard struggled with an Achilles problem last season and Wenger said the Spanish midfielder was the only question mark ahead of the Middlesbrough game.

"We'll see how he is today," the manager said at his prematch news conference, but added that the Gunners "have no big problems" after the Ludogorets game.

Giroud and Ramsey remain sidelined but both are nearing a return with the France striker likely to come back first, Wenger said.

"They are progressing well," he added. "Olivier Giroud could maybe be involved on Tuesday [against Reading in the EFL Cup], but Aaron certainly will need one more week sharpening up. He could be available [next weekend]. Fitness wise, he is 90 percent there."

Giroud has struggled with a toe injury since last month, while Ramsey has not played since injuring his hamstring on the opening day of the season.

Arsenal are without the suspended Granit Xhaka against Middlesbrough, meaning Wenger would be without three central midfielders if Cazorla cannot play.

The Gunners are on a six-game winning streak in the Premier League and are level on points with leaders Manchester City.

"We have the squad, and we have to show that we have the quality," Wenger said. "To maintain the energy in the team for 10 months will depend on the players, on me, and a little bit on the injury side."

Danny Welbeck's return from knee surgery also remains ahead of schedule, with the forward likely to start running again in about two weeks. Wenger said he could be back playing in January.