Gibbs’s return gives Gunners further lift

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PREMIER LEAGUE: Arsene Wenger feels Arsenal should be positive as they enter the defining period of their season.

The Gunners head to Sunderland today looking to keep up with fourth-placed Chelsea, the gap down to just three points following last weekend’s results which saw Wenger’s men beat Blackburn 7-1 while the Blues were held to a 3-3 draw by Manchester United.

Next week, Arsenal travel to AC Milan for the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie before returning to the Stadium of Light in the FA Cup fifth round on February 18.

With England defender Kieran Gibbs the latest player to return to a squad which has been depleted by injury, Wenger believes the Gunners can come through a make-or-break spell.

“Overall the situation looks a lot more positive in a period that will decide our season and therefore it is good to have the players back,” the Arsenal manager said.

Wenger confirmed Thierry Henry would be returning to New York Red Bulls as planned at the end of his loan spell, meaning the former Gunners captain will not be around for the visit of arch-rivals Tottenham.

Wenger said: “I would have loved him to stay two more weeks, but he has to go back.

“He is captain of Red Bulls. Just to appear on the first day of the season would be unfair to them.”