Arsenal midfielders Jack Wilshere, Abou Diaby and Serge Gnabry continued their return from injury as they featured for the Arsenal U21's against Reading U21's on Monday, 13 April, but it was bad news for January signing Krystian Bielik as he was withdrawn just after the start of the second-half with what looked like a thigh injury.
Despite the manager fielding an experienced lineup the young Gunners' hopes of gaining promotion suffered a blow as they were beaten 1-0 at the Emirates Stadium by the same club that will take on the senior Arsenal side in the semi final of the FA Cup on Saturday, 18 April.
Arsene Wenger, who was watching the game from the directors box would have been pleased to see the likes of Jack Wilshere and Serge Gnabry go the distance, as they continue their bid to feature in the first-team before the end of the season.
Both the midfielders put in impressive shifts, with the former being withdrawn after 88 minutes, while his German colleague completed the full 90 minutes.
Diaby, on the other hand, was withdrawn after an hour, but will be pleased with his fitness levels, as the Frenchman has now taken part in three U21 games.
Wenger is keen for the former Auxerre player to prove his fitness and remain with the club beyond the current campaign. And the manager has indicated that he will be offered a new contract depending on his ability to consistently prove that he can challenge for a first-team place.
However, it is a blow for Bielik, who was withdrawn after playing 54 minutes with an injury. The Polish midfielder, who joined Arsenal from Legia Warsaw in January, was just settling down with the U21's and it was his third appearance for the Gunners' second string side.