Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was given a fitness boost on Thursday as Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain made his return from injury.
The 20-year-old midfielder has been out wth a knee injury since the opening day of the season but played 45 minutes for the club's U21 side against their Fulham counterparts at Motspur Park.
His return is timely given Theo Walcott's season-ending knee injury, and Monday's trip to Aston Villa is now a realistic aim.
Arsene Wenger said on Friday: "He played and did well. I wouldn't have any hesitation playing him against Villa."
Oxlade-Chamberlain told the Arsenal website: "Obviously I wasn't at my full fitness here and it was quite hard, but the main thing was that I got through it and that is a positive. It is just really good to be back.
"It's never easy having an injury, especially when it's your first long-term one because you are not used to it and not sure how it will pan out.
"When I look back on it's been a good learning curve, but at the same time it is somewhere you don't want to be. I am just thankful that I got through it."