By Arsenal correspondent Tony Hughes

Arsenal stars have been given three days off to recharge their batteries ahead of the festive period, Football Insider sources understand.

Arsene Wenger has sanctioned the mini-breaks for his injury-plagued squad as they prepare for next Monday’s Premier League showdown against Manchester City.

It is the first of four matches in 13 days for Arsenal over Christmas and New Year, with the Gunners travelling to Southampton on Boxing Day before home clashes against Bournemouth on 28 December and Newcastle on 2 January.

An Arsenal source has told Football Insider that Wenger gave his first-teamers three days off in the wake of last Sunday’s 2-0 win at Aston Villa.

It was the Gunners’ third consecutive win and capped a memorable week in which they qualified against the odds for the Champions League knockout stages with a 3-0 win at Olympiakos.

Wenger wants his players to be well rested before they start preparing in earnest for the City clash at Emirates Stadium next Monday.

Some of the Arsenal players have opted to fly abroad, with Mesut Ozil posting a picture of himself on his Instagram account lying on a yacht lapping up some winter sun.