Mathieu Flamini is out to prove he is up to the task of filling in for Francis Coquelin in the holding midfield role for Arsenal.
Coquelin is facing up to three months on the sidelines with a knee injury sustained in the 2-1 defeat at West Brom last weekend, while Mikel Arteta is expected to miss around a month with a calf injury picked up in the same game.
Arsenal have Aaron Ramsey available again following a hamstring problem and also have the option of using Calum Chambers in midfield, but Flamini is the closest the Gunners have in terms of a like-for-like replacement for Coquelin.
Flamini has started only one game in the Premier League this season, against Leicester City on September 26 when he lasted only 21 minutes before suffering a hamstring injury.
However, the Frenchman is confident he can cope with the rigours of regular football over the next few months.
“Football is a competition, it makes you better and stronger,” Flamini said. “I have an opportunity to be back in the team and I will try to prove every game that I can be in the team.
“Can I play twice a week for three months? I think I can, but now it is my job to prove it.
“Fitness is hard to maintain. For an athlete, if you don’t play every week, it’s not easy because the more games you have in your legs, the better you become. You gain in confidence, you become better physically, so the possibility to have game after game is obviously going to be good for me.
“It’s a lot of pleasure for me that I get back into the team. The season is always very long so sometimes you have to accept being on the bench, but sometimes you have the opportunity to prove you are still there and can still play in the Arsenal team.”
Flamini played the full 90 minutes of Arsenal’s 3-0 win over Dinamo Zagreb on Tuesday night and is relishing the trip to Olympiacos next month which will determine whether the Gunners are in the pot for the Champions League last 16.
“It’s going to be a great atmosphere over there,” Flamini said of the trip to Greece. “We definitely know it is not going to be easy, but we have the quality and team spirit to do it.
“We definitely can do it. We played beautiful football against Dinamo and scored three goals. Why not go to Athens and win by two goals?”