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Arsenal vice-captain poised to return for Stoke City clash after two games out through illness

Arsenal are set to be handed a major boost ahead of the Premier League clash against Stoke City this weekend as vice-captain Per Mertesacker should be available for selection, Telegraph Sport reports.

The former Germany international has missed the Gunners last two games against Liverpool and Newcastle United with the flu, but is ready to return for the game at the Emirates Stadium and will certainly give manager Arsene Wenger a selection headache.

Brazilian centre-half Gabriel Paulista has impressed in the two games that Mertesacker has missed and that has coincided with the 2015 FA Cup winners keeping successive clean sheets and many may feel the former deserves an extended run in the side.

There is also good news on Laurent Koscielny’s fitness after reports in the media earlier in the week suggested he had suffered a recurrence of a back injury that caused him to miss the game against the Merseyside club, but the Frenchman is fit and will be hoping to retain his place at the heart of the Gunners defence for the clash against the Potters.

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The north London outfit face a hectic next couple of weeks as they kick-off their UEFA Champions League campaign with a visit to Dinamo Zagreb on Wednesday night, before back-to-back London derbies against Chelsea and Tottenham in the Premier League and Capital One Cup respectively.

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