It seems likely that whatever happens this weekend, Laurent Koscielny will be rested ahead of next week’s Europa League semi-final second leg against Valencia.
The Gunners take a 3-1 lead to Spain after goals from Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang overturned an early deficit, but the fitness of the captain remains an issue this morning.
The 33 year old put everything on the line last night, and is clearly feeling the effects of a hectic schedule, his 33 years, and an Achilles tendon that snapped last season in Madrid.
Speaking after the game, Unai Emery was unclear of how much he’s been affected, but hopeful he’d be available.
I hope that Koscielny is going to be okay for Sunday,” he said, “and the second leg away, but I don’t know.
“Laurent was very tired and he ran back with the transitions in the second half 50 metres for a sprint, and it’s normal that he can be tired or struggling.
“I prefer to change him to give this 10 minutes to Nacho Monreal after his small injuries, to help us and to save minutes for Laurent Koscielny.”
Although we have to keep fighting in the Premier League until top four is completely and utterly gone, it’d be crazy to risk Koscielny against Brighton.
We do have Dinos Mavropanos to step up if needed, while a back three of Mustafi, Sokratis and Monreal would have plenty of experience too.
The captain deserves a break, and hopefully he can have a happier night in Spain than last year.