Arsenal defender Laurent Koscielny is a doubt for Arsenal’s home clash with Stoke after aggravating his back injury on international duty with France.
Koscielny missed France’s 2-1 friendly win over Serbia on Monday night with French television claiming the 29-year-old had complained of pain in his lower back – forcing Laurent Blanc to leave him out of his team. The Gunners centre-back was set to retain his place in the side that defeated Portugal 1-0 on Friday, but Les Bleus decided not to incur the wrath of Arsene Wenger and Koscielny will now be assessed by Arsenal’s medical team.
The former Lorient man missed last month’s goalless draw with Liverpool with a back problem, but after playing for France on Friday it looked as though he was back to full fitness.
It will be a blow to Wenger, but fellow central defender Per Mertesacker, who recently retired from international duty, should return after missing the last two games through illness. The German could well replace Koscielny and partner Gabriel as the Gunners host the Potters on Saturday at The Emirates.