Emery hoping Koscielny will be available next week

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Unai Emery has confirmed that Laurent Koscielny pulled out of this evening’s FA Cup third round tie with Blackpool due to a back injury suffered in the warm-up.

The Frenchman, only recently back from a long-term achilles injury, had been named in the starting lineup but was replaced at the last minute by Carl Jenkinson.

The switch necessitated formation change with Jenkinson playing at right-back and Stephan Lichtsteiner joining Sokratis in the middle of a back four. They went on to keep a clean sheet as the Gunner secured safe passage to the next round with a comfortable 3-0 victory. 

Having lost Rob Holding for the rest of the season and with Shkodran Mustafi, Nacho Monreal and Hector Bellerin all working their way back to fitness, Emery is hoping that Koscielny’s problem is not serious.

“Yes [it’s a back problem],” he told his post-game press conference.  “I hope it’s not bad. He has one week to rest and to work, thinking about the next match against West Ham.

“I hope he’s going to be OK for the next matches but before the match, he felt some pain in his back.

“We decided it was better for him to not play. At the moment, with our problems at centre back, it meant we were able to look at different players in different positions.

“Today that was Lichtsteiner, who played with very good commitment and concentration to help us at centre back with Sokratis. ”

As Emery mentioned, we face a rejuvenated West Ham at the London Stadium next weekend and then Chelsea the Emirates. It’s possible that the defence will be strengthened by a new recruit now that the transfer window is open, although who that will be is anyone’s guess right now.

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sambo
sambo

Lol he wont say it but surely he knows Lich is D.U.N lol.

Gooner Sam
Gooner Sam

Lichsteiner looks like he panics now whenever he has the ball. Just goes to show the speed of the premiership

Alex
Alex

When Özil gets a back problem, he is a diva. When Kos has a back problem… he has a back problem.

Bob's Mexican Cousin
Bob's Mexican Cousin

Özil’s wages and body language on the pitch make him someone unexcusable. It’s unfair and harsh, but it is what it is.

Emery in Aubalaca wonderland
Emery in Aubalaca wonderland

I am not an Ozil fan in the sense that I haven’t been satisfied with his overall performance for the club at all. However I think the accusation of fake illness is fake itself.

Gooner Sam
Gooner Sam

Fake fake news?

Leah's Left Foot
Leah's Left Foot

When Kos has a back problem, it’s reported as such and everyone moves on. When Özil has a back problem it is speculated about in the media and we all become medical experts…

Glen Helders left foot
Glen Helders left foot

Jenkinson is a better option to Lichtsteiner at right back, neither are the answer but the Swiss man is beginning to resemble Hans Moleman

Glasgow Gooner
Glasgow Gooner

What’s Matts Hummels upto these days ?

James
James

Not playing well at all at Munich

santori
santori

I don’t think we will see a Cback unless maybe that player Calero from Zaragoza who is under 13m euros.

Emery has been careful sheperding his assets in Mustafi, Koscielny both of whom will be first choice now next to Sokratis in back 3.

But too many changes at the back (forced mostly by wear and tear) has been the issue.

We held well (if with shaky moments) for a long stretch with HOlding, Mustafi and Sokratis.

Adding a new player into the mix may be difficult considering we are half way point of season.

Probably best to retain familiarity with Koscielny left, Sokratis in the middle and Mustafi right

Koscielny will be key as he is returning to some semblance of match sharpness. Whether he can retain fitness with no injury issues to end of season is questionable but Monreal will also be back in at some point.

On the right side, Lichsteiner is better tucked in in a back 3 but remains a liability with his age. Mustafi again a solid choice to come in when fully fit.

Mavropanos will have to work in slowly in what remaining lesser matches (which will now be far and few in between) or late sub appearances. He is prob better off on loan but it may be late to engineer this and we are holding injury prone assets anyway still.

If Koscielny-Sokratis- Mustafi can hold together for a stretch plus we get Torreira back to his best with a constantly improving Granit, we can irk out better results again.

The rough patch was December (as usual) with loss to Soton, Liverpool, draw against BHA and United particularly damaging. Otherwise we would be right there up amongst the pidgeons challenging for the title still.