Laurent Koscielny to start against Qarabag, Mesut Ozil in the squad too

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Unai Emery has confirmed that Laurent Koscielny will start tomorrow night’s Europa League group game against Qarabag as the skipper steps up his recovery from the Achilles injury he suffered in May.

The 33 year old was in the squad for last weekend’s 1-0 win over Huddersfield, but with a central defensive crisis ahead of this weekend’s trip to Southampton, the Arsenal boss clearly wants one of his most experienced players to get some minutes under his best.

He’s made two reserve appearances, but is now set for his first senior start since that night in the Wanda Metropoltina when a 1-0 defeat was enough to send eventual winners Atletico Madrid through to the final.

Speaking at his press conference this afternoon, Emery said he’d be playing a young side because of the fact we’ve already qualified.

“We are going to use tomorrow with some different players,” he said, “with some coming from the U23s.

“We also start to play with Laurent Koscielny.”

How he comes through the game will dictate his involvement on Sunday at St Mary’s, and you’d imagine that he’ll get about an hour, before a younger defender – or perhaps even Nacho Monreal – gets a run-out.

The Spaniard also revealed that Mesut Ozil, who hasn’t played since the 1-1 draw with Wolves on November 11t, would also be in the squad although he has yet to make a decision as to whether or not he’ll be in the starting line-up.

“Tomorrow he is in the group,” said Emery, “we will decide if he plays at the beginning or during the match.”

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gooner1981
gooner1981

Hope Kos gets a good run-out and emerges unscathed. Excited to see what the youngsters can do, hope Nketiah can bang in a couple of goals as he leads the line. Some game time for Osei-Tutu, Gilmour, Medley along with ESR and AMN too of course, would be great.

Shank

Love love love da da de da
Love love love da da de da
Love is all you need

Monkey knees
Monkey knees

Umm… What?

Alwaysagooner
Alwaysagooner

I haven’t read Emery’s full comments – but does “We also start to play with Laurent Koscielny.” necessarily mean that Kos is starting the game?

LEFT08
LEFT08

In our moment he could play with our idea. Good afternoon.

kaius
kaius

Always we are thinking to use Koscielny, with his personality, with his technical quality…

The_Kolkata_Gooner
The_Kolkata_Gooner

No?

Pedant
Pedant

‘Playing with someone’ has various meanings and is different to ‘someone playing’.

Mark
Mark

Definitely wouldn’t play Kos the full match, maybe just a half or a little bit more. Will be interesting to see what kind of effort/attitude Ozil plays with tomorrow.

Chamakhyungpark
Chamakhyungpark

This literally never interests me. All I am interested in is if Ozil scores or plays well. granted, he has not done that enough but the effort/attitude barometer is ridiculous. I could go on the pitch with all the effort in the world and still be gash.

Mpls
Mpls

Not to mention the boss could very well tell him to go out there and see how everything is going, but play it easy / not take too many risks.

Having Ozil go out upon returning from injury and tell him to bust a gut top speed and get stuck in against Quarabag in a non-essential match would be moronic.

Pedant
Pedant

And if we play youngsters and lose the unbeaten run (obviously I hope not) I guess we can live with it to make sure we have a top team out on Wednesday.

Richie

There should still be enough quality and experience to not lose this game. Cech – Jenkinson, Koscielny, Medley, MaitlandNiles – Elneny, Guendouzi – SmithRowe, Ozil, Mkhitaryan – Nketiahhhhh. Subs: Martinez, Willock, Zaka, Gilmour, JohnJules, OseiTutu, Da Silva.

hustle6
hustle6

you ever think Carl Jenkinson is the english version of Mauro Icardi?
(looks-wise obviously)

*this banal but poignant comment is to distract myself from the anxiety I have stemming from already dreading the inevitable outpouring of sacrificial blood in worship of another Ozil Ludogrets/Leicester performance despite his dubious absence in the serious matches.

Bob
Bob

Dubious? He was injured. He had a back problem, and not for the first time, likely because back problems can be a massive bitch.

afan
afan

alleged back problem, your right not for the first time, how many more times are we going to see it

Monkey knees
Monkey knees

*you’re

Mpls
Mpls

Dunno. How many hamstring pulls do you think the club will get? How many ankle twists? How many knee knocks?

We ain’t Master Yoda for fucks sake.

Maybe it’s really a back problem. Maybe it’s not. Obviously nobody knows the definitive answer. So cast all the assumptions you like. All that tells us is whose glass is half full and whose is half empty.

While you’re all sorting that out, I’m settling down to a fresh pint.

kaius
kaius

Thumbs up for self-awareness at least. And no I don’t think they look that similar

afan
afan

yeah, it wont do ozil any harm playing in these sort of games

santori
santori

As suspected, he will likely feature some of the match to sharpen him for the weekend.

I suspect we may still play back 3 with Lichsteiner and Monreal on either side of Koscielny against Soton.

So against Qarabag, likely Koscielny starts with Elneny just in front in midfield and then dropping into Cback when we take le Boss off.

Also potential feature in backline tomorrow AMN, Monreal, Jenkinson, Lichsteiner.

Think Monreal will benefit from some playing time too but again may be replaced some way through the game.

That leaves us with one more impact option higher up the pitch or a reserve in case of injury.