Arsene Wenger says he won’t risk bringing Laurent Koscielny to Turkey for the Champions League game, as the defender is still feeling the effects of his ongoing Achilles problem.
Although he was on the bench on Saturday against Stoke, the injury meant he couldn’t play, and with the likelihood of Arsenal topping the group very slim, the manager is unwilling to aggravate things any further.
Koscielny could be rested to play against Newcastle on Saturday, then the Gunners have eight days before their next game away to Liverpool before the festive mayhem kicks in.
“A few players will not travel because there’s not a lot at stake and we have given a lot in the last two weeks,” said the Arsenal manager. “We have to recover a little bit.
“Alexis will not travel and I don’t think I can play, for example, Koscielny. He didn’t play on Saturday and I don’t see why I should risk him for a game where’s there’s not a lot at stake.
“First place hypothetically, but there’s maybe a 10 per cent chance.”
The Arsenal manager also found himself on the receiving end of some boos from waiting fans at the train station after the Stoke game.
It’s not particularly nice to hear him get stick like that, but the earnest ‘Get out while you still can!’ to Joel Campbell has to go down as one of the finest comedy moments of the year so far.