Arsenal manager Unai Emery has confirmed that Laurent Koscielny has returned to first-team training over the past fortnight but he is still not prepared enough to make the jump to the matchday squad. The Frenchman has been recovering from a serious Achilles injury picked up during the final month of the previous campaign.
He said: “He started to train with us, every day, one month ago. The process with him in this international break is to finish training with us every day to start playing, little by little. First, our idea is to start with the Under-23s. He is well, with good performances, good feeling and I think he is close to also playing with us. But the first idea is, and maybe on Monday, he can play with the Under-23s. We are going to decide on Saturday the plan with him, but we are thinking for him to start to take minutes.”
In the absence of Koscielny, Rob Holding has managed to cement a regular role alongside Shkodran Mustafi at the heart of the defence and his performances have certainly caught the attention of Emery, who has heaped praise on a regular basis. Nonetheless, the club are yet to solidify at the back with the tendency to concede goals in almost every game and this is something the manager may want to resolve during the course of the current campaign.
Arsenal are currently fourth in the standings with 24 points on the board, three adrift of fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur. They could however catch up with the Champions League places this weekend with Spurs having a tough encounter against London rivals Chelsea at the Wembley Stadium.