Hector Bellerin plans to start running again this week after revealing his recovery from injury is going "better than expected".
Bellerin suffered ankle ligament damage during this month's north London derby and Arsene Wenger, speaking on November 17, ruled out the Arsenal full-back for four weeks.
That timescale leaves the 21-year-old touch-and-go for the Gunners' Premier League trip to title rivals Manchester City on December 18, live on Sky Sports.
But Bellerin, who signed a new long-term contract with Arsenal last week, is confident he will at least be back in time for a Christmas programme featuring games against West Brom, Crystal Palace and Bournemouth in the space of eight days.
"It's going really good. Better than I expected," Bellerin told the Daily Mirror. "It is a hard injury to recover from and a bit painful.
"But I am going to try to be running from this week and hopefully I'll be back on the pitch in less than four weeks."
Wenger has used two right-backs in the three games Bellerin has missed to date, picking Carl Jenkinson against Manchester Untied and Paris Saint-Germain before giving Mathieu Debuchy a start against Bournemouth.
Debuchy lasted just 16 minutes of that game - his first for Arsenal in more than a year - before suffering a hamstring injury he later described as "severe".