Arsenal stars Laurent Koscielny & Per Mertesacker return to fitness

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Arsenal expect Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker to return to the starting lineup for Saturday's home tie against Stoke City, reports The Telegraph.

The centre-backs have been struggling with a back problem and a virus respectively, but have been in full training and could form the defensive pairing against the Potters.

Mertesacker has missed Arsenal's last two games against Liverpool and Newcastle United but has benefitted from an extended rest period during the international break.


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Koscielny also missed the game against Liverpool before returning to play 90 minutes of Arsenal's 1-0 win over Newcastle United. However, reports earlier this week suggested the 29-year-old had aggravated the troublesome muscle whilst training with France.

Those fears have now be allayed by this fresh report from the reliable Jeremy Wilson, who also dismisses the suggestion that Danny Welbeck could be out for a further six months.

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Welbeck on track

England manager Roy Hodgson was the man who made that suggestion, but sources at Arsenal are confident the £115,000-a-week striker will be back around the Christmas period.

Welbeck has not featured for the Gunners since coming off the bench in a 0-0 draw with Chelsea in late April after suffering what was originally believed to be bruising on the articular cartilage in his knee.

However, a prolonged period of rest failed to heal the injury and surgery was deemed requisite to eradicate the problem. While he is still a long way from playing first-team football, Welbeck's recovery remains on track.


For Koscielny, the issue with his back is certainly not gone and, similar to the Achilles tendon problems he suffered last season, will require management over the course of the campaign.

There is already some concern as to whether the France international can handle the upcoming cluster of away games that start against Dinamo Zagreb next week and quickly followed by a trip to Stamford Bridge to face Chelsea.

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Danny Welbeck
Laurent Koscielny
Per Mertesacker
Premier League

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