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Friday, Apr 18th

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Szczesny edges closer to first team return after featuring in reserves match

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Arsenal’s first-choice stopper Wojciech Szczesny could soon return to the Gunners’ first team after he featured for the Under-21s side when they lost to West Ham. The Polish international played the entire 90 minutes as the Arsenal U-21s side lost 2-1 on Friday.

The 22 year-old last featured for Arsenal in their 6-1 win over Southampton almost two months ago and Vito Mannone has since been manning the posts for the Gunners, as second-choice stopper Lukasz Fabianski recovers from a long-term injury. Szczesny made it through the entire game unscathed and the keeper could make his return to the first team when they play Fulham over the weekend.

The Pole put in a good performance too and wasn't really at fault for the two goals conceded on Friday. Meanwhile, Arsenal’s young midfielder Serge Gnabry also hogged the limelight as he scored the equalizer from a well-worked free-kick for Arsenal before West Ham clinched a late winner.

Arsenal’s defence has been sloppy after a strong start to the season and the return of their first-choice stopper could help to plug the flow of goals against them. Wenger will be glad to have options between the posts with Mannone having performed well in the absence of the Polish international.

Chances are Vito could keep his place though against Fulham this weekend while Szczesny might be on the bench. Mannone produced stellar performances in his last two games against Manchester United and Schalke, and dropping the Italian to the bench now would not be ideal for his confidence.