Arsenal's Aaron Ramsey, Olivier Giroud still sidelined - Arsene Wenger
Aaron Ramsey remains stuck in a "vicious circle" as he and Arsenal teammate Olivier Giroud still need more time to rebuild their fitness after injury layoffs, manager Arsene Wenger has said.
However, midfielder Francis Coquelin is available for Saturday's game against Swansea after recovering from a knee injury, while Wenger confirmed that playmaker Mesut Ozil is fully fit despite being taken off at half-time during Germany's World Cup qualifier on Tuesday.
Ramsey has been out with a hamstring problem since the opening day of the season, with the Wales international suffering a series of setbacks in his recovery, which was originally expected to take only a month.
And Wenger said the club has decided to give Ramsey "a complete preseason" to get back to full fitness and that even next week's games against Ludogorets Razgrad and Middlesbrough will "come too early."
"I must say I'm disappointed [the recovery is taking longer than expected] because he has worked very hard," Wenger told a news conference. "He had a few little setbacks that forced us to be cautious. He is not far away now. He's on the last stage to build up his fitness and he's not far away.
"It's a little bit of a vicious circle. The fact that he had a little setback, we rest him, and the longer that lasts, the more time you have to dedicate to build up his fitness again, because he has been out for six weeks. Then you have to create a new three weeks of preparation to get him up to the level where he was before the injury.
"It's more the time it takes to rebuild his fitness. We have decided that we give a complete preseason now, even if he misses one or two more games."
Giroud is in a similar situation after injuring his toe during last month's Champions League match at Paris Saint-Germain.
Wenger said the striker has recovered from the injury after suffering setbacks, but now also needs time to get back to match fitness.
"He has still not been on the pitches. I think he starts now to have a jog again today for the first time," Wenger said. "He has been interrupted a lot in his preparation. We have to build his fitness up again."
However, Wenger said the club had only received "good news" as far as players returning fit from the international break.
He will have to make a decision on whether to rest Alexis Sanchez as the Chile international faced a late return from South America after two World Cup qualifiers, but said Ozil will be available.
The Germany international reassured fans that he was fine after his team's win over Northern Ireland, when coach Joachim Low took him off at the break, and Wenger said that extra rest will be beneficial to Arsenal this weekend.
"He told us he is completely fit. We will see that today," Wenger said. "I expect him to be available, especially as he has played only one half, so he doesn't need to be rested on Saturday."
Right-back Carl Jenkinson is also set for his first game since tearing knee ligaments in January while on loan at West Ham, when he features for Arsenal's under-23s on Thursday.
"He has been out for a very long time. But he's available again to compete now," Wenger said. "He has been patient, resilient and he has a fantastic mentality and worked very hard to come back. I think he has done extremely well."
Mattias is ESPN FC's Arsenal correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @MattiasKaren.