Arsenal have been handed a double injury boost ahead of their visit to Stoke City for their second Premier League game of the season on Saturday (19 August) after Jack Wilshere and Francis Coquelin returned to action with the Gunners' Under-23 side on Monday.
The former played 73 minutes as Arsenal came from behind to win 3-2 against Derby County while the latter played as many before being withdrawn. Reiss Nelson scored a brace while Eddie Nketiah scored the winner to ensure the U23 side started their campaign with maximum points. Out-of-favour left-back Kieran Gibbs was also given a run out as he looks to secure a move away from the club.
The midfield duo had been sidelined with a fracture and ankle injury respectively and missed the opening day 4-3 win over Leicester City. Wilshere was a more long-term absentee having been out of action since the latter stages of last season, while Coquelin suffered his injury during the Emirates Cup on 29 July.
The England international suffered the fracture which ended his season-long loan spell with Bournemouth pre-maturely and has been in rehabilitation since. He returned to training before the start of the season, but Arsene Wenger was unwilling to rush him into action owing to his record with injuries in recent seasons.
Coquelin, on the other hand, was out for just over two weeks and could return to first-team reckoning for the trip to the Bet365 stadium to take on Mark Hughes' side. Granit Xhaka and Aaron Ramsey are the manager's first choice in midfield, but the Frenchman and Wilshere will fight with Mohamed Elneny for a place in the match day squad.
Wilshere's future, meanwhile, still remains a talking point after Wenger revealed that the club are yet to decide whether to sell the player, who is in the final-year of his contract, or retain him with an offer of a new deal. The manager is convinced that he has the talent to play for Arsenal, but is unsure of the amount of game time he will be afforded during the course of the season.
Newcastle United are the latest club to show interest in signing the 25-year-old midfielder, while Turkish club Antalyaspor have confirmed an approach. According to Gazzetta dello Sport, via the Mirror, Juventus are also interested in signing Wilshere and could make a move before the end of the summer transfer window.