By Chris Harris
While most Arsenal eyes fixed their gaze on events in Alkmaar last night, the Gunners' season was given a timely boost by a short but significant appearance in Shropshire.
Samir Nasri was the star attraction at the home of Telford United as he made his comeback three months after breaking his fibula on the opening morning of Arsenal's training camp in Austria.
The French international played 58 minutes for the Reserves and looked as neat and tidy as ever, producing one defence-splitting pass to set up Gilles Sunu's opener in an entertaining 2-2 draw against Wolves.
Nasri's was not the only happy return - Lukasz Fabianski was also back in action after knee surgery - but the 22-year-old's comeback was the big news after his lengthy lay-off. Afterwards, a delighted Nasri spoke exclusively to Arsenal.com.
"I feel good," he said. "I was a little bit tired at the end of the first half but I am so happy to be back on the pitch. It has been three months I was injured so I am really glad to be back.
"It has been difficult but I was always looking forward for a speedy recovery. I knew it would be hard but everyone was behind me and helping me so I am OK.
"I don’t know if I am ready yet for the first team. I need to play because nothing can replace the games. So I work well with [fitness coach] Tony Colbert and now after one or two games I will be ready to come back to the first team.
"It was the first serious injury I have had. Two years ago in Marseilles I twisted my ankle but it was not bad like this one. I was sick also, I had meningitis, so that was bad, but this is the first time I have broken a bone in my body. But I am really happy, I had a quick recovery and everything is fine now."
Nasri has been restricted to a watching brief as far as first-team matters are concerned but he likes what he's seen from the sidelines. The Frenchman believes Arsenal are older, wiser and stronger this season.
"I think we have made a really, really good start in the [League} and in the Champions League," said Nasri. "I think we need to keep this spirit and this focus because we have a big, big quality in defence, in midfield and up front. The team is strong and we need to keep this level going.
"I think we are stronger this year because now we are more mature, we are one year older and the team hasn’t changed a lot so we know each other and that is really good for the season."Copyright 2017 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source