Sunday 25 September 2016

Koscielny provides rare fitness boost for Gunners

Jeremy Wilson

Published 06/11/2015 | 02:30

Laurent Koscielny of Arsenal during a training session at London Colney on November 3, 2015 in St Albans, England
Laurent Koscielny of Arsenal during a training session at London Colney on November 3, 2015 in St Albans, England

The priority that Arsène Wenger is placing on the Premier League swayed the decision not to risk Laurent Koscielny in the 5-1 drubbing by Bayern Munich - with the defender likely to join Mikel Arteta and David Ospina in returning for Sunday's derby against Tottenham.

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It emerged yesterday that Frenchman could have played through the pain of his hip injury against Bayern but Wenger was unwilling to take a gamble even for a Champions League match. And despite being a substitute on Wednesday, he did not even warm up with the team.

A decision has yet to be taken about Sunday but Wenger is hopeful of starting Koscielny and has received an unexpected boost with the comeback of midfielder Arteta.

His captain made a successful return to full training while Arsenal were in Munich, and though short of match fitness, his availability gives Wenger the option of replacing Joel Campbell by moving Santi Cazorla further forward alongside Mesut Özil and Alexis Sánchez behind Olivier Giroud.

Wenger has repeatedly underlined how seriously he is taking Arsenal's Premier League challenge this season with some of his Champions League selection decisions, particularly in the defeats by Dinamo Zagreb and Olympiakos but also playing Aaron Ramsey against Watford just before the first Bayern game.

Ramsey should return after the international break, along with Héctor Bellerín and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who is scheduled to re-join training tomorrow. Theo Walcott's injury is more severe and he will be out for another month.

Tomas Rosicky saw a specialist in Munich and has been cleared to begin running next week following knee cartilage surgery in August (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Telegraph.co.uk

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