Updates from Tuesday, Aug. 19
Updates from Monday, Aug. 18
Arsene Wenger confirmed that Laurent Koscielny is in the squad for Tuesday's match vs. Besiktas (via Arsenal):
Earlier, Koscielny trained on Monday with the Arsenal squad (via Sky Sports):
Arsenal have received a fitness boost after Laurent Koscielny trained with the squad ahead of their Champions League qualifier against Besiktas.
Koscielny was a doubt for Tuesday’s first leg in Turkey after taking a knock to his Achilles in the 2-1 win over Crystal Palace on Saturday night.
Arsenal may have a crisis in central defence, as standout defender Laurent Koscielny is reportedly suffering from a flare-up of a long-term Achilles issue.
The Mirror's John Cross reported that Wenger is worried about the ability of Koscielny's Achilles to hold up ahead of the team's crucial Champions League qualifier against Besiktas on Tuesday.
The Frenchman had a strong performance in the Gunners' 2-1 victory over Crystal Palace on Saturday, scoring a headed goal just before the end of the first-half stoppage time.
Wenger's initial plan was to hold out his German trio of Per Mertesacker, Lukas Podolski and Mesut Ozil until later in the season after their exhausting World Cup run. With limited options on the bench in central defence, Mertesacker could be forced back into starting duty.
"We will assess Koscielny. If he is capable of playing, I will play him," said Wenger, via Cross. "I planned to bring the Germans back in contention for Everton but, in case of emergency, I will take Mertesacker."
Koscielny's Achilles injury should be a wake-up call for Wenger. The recent sale of Thomas Vermaelen to Barcelona leaves the Gunners with few options at centre-back.
As of right now, 19-year-old Calum Chambers is the team's sole backup with big-game experience, although most of it has come at the right-back position. Ignasi Miquel has made scattered appearances for the senior squad, but few observers would trust him to hold down the fort in central defence for an extended period of time.
A long spell on the sidelines for Koscielny would be hugely detrimental for Arsenal's Premier League title hopes. Wenger may be inclined to make a final summer purchase in order to shore up this critical position.