Jack Wilshere, Bacary Sagna and Emmanuel Frimpong all continued their recovery from long-term injuries in Arsenal's 2-0 win over Reading in the Under-21 League on Monday evening.
The home side were on top for the majority of the first period, but it took them until just before half-time for Serge Gnabry's opening goal. Chuba Akpom doubled the lead in the second, but it wasn't all plain sailing as the visitors wasted a number very good chances to get back in the game.
Andre Santos, Ignasi Miquel and Francis Coquelin also started for the Gunners, with Reading fielding recognised names such as Jason Roberts, Adam Le Fondre, Danny Guthrie and former Arsenal keeper Stuart Taylor.
The hosts were bright early on, with Gnabry cutting in from the right flank to curl a shot just wide after Wilshere's free kick was partially cleared. Akpom also saw his dipping right-footed effort fly narrowly over after coming in off the opposite wing.
Roberts' strength both on the ground and in the air was a handful for Miquel, however Guthrie fired wide from the Royals' only real chance in the opening stages. Gnarby impressed, threading a superb ball to Wilshere who, in turn, found Thomas Eisfield, but his driven ball evaded those in red jerseys.
Clear-cut chances were hard to come by as the game advanced. The visitors' attack lacked cutting edge and Arsenal's final pass was missing.
However, the Gunners broke the stalemate just before the break. Wilshere spread the ball out to Eisfeld, who then shifted it on to Gnabry, he cleverly turned his man inside the box before curling a fine left-footed finish into the far corner.
Minutes after the restart James Shea stood tall to deny Le Fondre from netting an equaliser, and back came Arsenal.
Morrison made two crucial interceptions in as many minutes after Gnabry and Santos crossed from the left. Frimpong should have doubled his side's lead after Coquelin picked him out in the 18-yard box, but wasted the chance.
However, Arsenal did manage to double their lead moments later when Akpom headed in Wilshere's corner delivery, with Frimpong winning the set-piece for the home side.
The Royals nearly provided an instant reply, but Jack Taylor somehow poked the ball over from two yards out after Guthrie's powerful cross, before Roberts also squandered a fantastic opportunity with 25 minutes left.
Wilshere came off to rapturous applause with 73 minutes elapsed, the Englishman putting in both a classy and robust midfield shift, having a hand in both goals.
The final stages saw a flurry of action as Akpom had a header cleared off the line, with Shea making a fantastic late save from Taylor and Santos doing the same with a curling free kick, as the Gunners secured victory.