Theo Walcott is set to give Arsenal’s fading title hopes a vital shot in the arm by returning to the Gunners first-team for the weekend trip to Sunderland.
Arsene Wenger is expected to include the winger in the travelling squad after Walcott came through 45 minutes for the Under-21 team last Friday, following a nine-month absence.
The Gunners boss may yet decide to test the 25-year-old in another U21s match against Stoke but all indications point to Wenger taking Walcott to the Stadium of Light, according to the Daily Telegraph.
Wenger will make a call on Friday morning, and is also expected to include Danny Welbeck, who picked up a knock in the 2-1 win over Anderlecht.
Laurent Koscielny, however, still remains doubtful as he recovers from tendonitis, meaning Calum Chambers or Nacho Monreal will partner Per Mertesacker at centre-back.
Meanwhile, John O’Shea is determined to restore some pride when Sunderland face Arsenal today after their St Mary’s Stadium humiliation.
Ruthless Southampton put the Wearsiders to the sword last weekend, consigning them to an astonishing 8-0 Premier League defeat.
Gus Poyet described the rout as the most embarrassing moment of his career and was left to reflect on a result that equalled the club’s record defeat.
Sunderland’s players attempted to appease fans that made the long journey south by offering to reimburse the cost of their tickets.
And the Sunderland captain is eager to make amends at the Stadium of Light on Saturday.