Koscielny Hands Arsenal Fitness Boost Ahead Trip To Man City

Laurent Koscielny has handed Arsenal a timely fitness boost ahead of their trip to Manchester City, with the Gunners skipper back in training.

The France international was forced to sit out a 2-1 victory over Cardiff on Tuesday.

He found himself on the sidelines after taking a heavy blow to his face during the FA Cup fourth round clash with Manchester United.

It was initially feared that he had broken his jaw, although the severity of the knock was reduced following medical examinations.

With no lasting damage suffered, Koscielny is now ready to resume his efforts in 2018-19.

He had already seen the start of his season delayed by an Achilles problem picked up towards the end of the previous campaign, so is desperate to get as much game time under his belt as possible.

It could be that he is drafted straight back into Unai Emery’s plans for a visit to the home of the reigning Premier League champions on Sunday.

An update from Arsenal on Koscielny’s fitness read:  “Returned to full training further to bruising and soft tissue swelling to face and jaw.”

The Gunners will be hoping that their captain is ready to face City as they are currently contending with a number of other defensive issues.

Sokratis Papastathopoulos also picked up an untimely ankle injury during the aforementioned 3-1 defeat to United.

Arsenal were forced to name Skhodran Mustafi and Nacho Monreal as their centre-half pairing against Cardiff as a result.

There will be more creative selections to come, with their Greece international “expected to return to full training by the end of February”.

Rob Holding, meanwhile, is recovering from surgery on his left knee.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles may be ready for duty against City, but he will be “assessed” ahead of a journey to the Etihad Stadium.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan will also have to prove his fitness before a decision is taken on his possible involvement against the Blues.

One man who definitely will not be involved is Hector Bellerin.

The Spain international full-back has been forced to undergo an operation after suffering cruciate ligament damage to his left knee.

Arsenal say he has “now commenced recovery and rehabilitation programme”, but is set to be sidelined for the foreseeable future.

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