Arsène Wenger believes his striking options will be significantly strengthened by the returns of Theo Walcott and Lukas Podolski.

England international Walcott has been out for two months with an abdominal injury but is expected to be in the squad to face his former club Southampton.

Podolski, meanwhile, is recovering well from a hamstring problem and Wenger is looking forward to having additional back-up to Olivier Giroud.

With Giroud you cannot fault his mentality or commitment. If France had gone out [of the World Cup play-offs] he would continue to fight

Arsène Wenger

“Theo gives us an opportunity to [field] a mobile striker,” the manager said.

“If we lose Giroud today, we have nobody with body weight up front apart from Bendtner. Podolski is not back as well, but he shouldn't be too far away now.

“With Giroud you cannot fault his mentality or commitment. If France had gone out [of the World Cup play-offs] he would continue to fight. He has been mentally tested.”

Wenger insists he is not opposed to strengthening his squad in January, but says it is often more difficult than people realise.

“I am not against it,” he said. “I don't say that I never make a mistake - I have certainly made some. Sometimes it is because we didn't sign the right player.

“It is always difficult in the middle of the season. If somebody is doing well somewhere, the clubs do not necessarily want to sell him. They can wait until the end of the season. Most of the time [we haven’t signed someone] it is because we didn't find them.”

Copyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source Rob Kelly 22 Nov 2013