Francis Coquelin
Coquelin, Wilshere and Welbeck are back training on the pitch Getty

Arsenal trio Francis Coquelin, Danny Welbeck and Jack Wilshere are back training on the pitch after a lengthy period on the sidelines but are still a few weeks away from making a first-team return. The news will come as a massive boost for Arsenal fans, with the Gunners seriously stunted with injuries to five first-team players, with some important games coming up in the next couple of months.

The Times reports that Alexis Sanchez is likely to be fit for the trip to Stoke and is in contention for a fitness test ahead of the game on Sunday 17 January. The Chilean has been missing from action since picking up a hamstring injury in November against Norwich and is likely to make his much-anticipated return to the first team against Arsenal's bogey team away from home, where they have won only once since 2010, the fateful day when a challenge by Ryan Shawcross broke Aaron Ramsey's leg.

The Gunners come into the fixture top of the table on goal difference, three ahead of Manchester City who drew against Everton in midweek. The Gunners faced their acid test in the league thus far drawing against Liverpool at Anfield in a thrilling 3-3 display, with Joe Allen scoring in the last minute of normal time to salvage a point for Jurgen Klopp's men.

The north London club may also include Mohamed Elneny to the squad travelling to Stoke, with the FC Basel midfielder confirming his transfer to the Emirates this week. The 23-year-old player is Arsenal's only outfield signing in the entirety of the 2015/16 transfer window, with Petr Cech being their only other transfer from Chelsea.

Meanwhile, Tomas Rosicky can also make the bench against the Potters after being involved in first-team training over the past week. The Czech Republic international was out since the end of last season with a knee problem, for which he underwent a surgery and could be an important piece in the Gunners' quest to win their first title in over a decade.