Premier League: Arsenal captain Laurent Koscielny nearing return after seven-month spell on sidelines with Achilles injury

Agence France-Presse
Laurent Koscielny finally returned for Arsenal's reserves in a Checkatrade Trophy clash with Portsmouth last week and Unai Emery confirmed on Wednesday that Koscielny will start against Qarabag.

London: Arsenal could be bolstered by the return of club captain Laurent Koscielny for the busy festive period after seven months out due to a ruptured Achilles tendon.

Koscielny missed out on France's World Cup victory in Russia and is yet to feature for new Arsenal boss Unai Emery.

The 33-year-old defender limped out of the Checkatrade Trophy clash at Portsmouth on Tuesday night, but Arsenal under-23 coach Freddie Ljungberg confirmed that was just due to cramp.

Koscielny could even be in contention for selection against Huddersfield in the Premier League on Saturday.

"Laurent Koscielny continued his rehabilitation on Tuesday with an appearance for our Under-21s in a Checkatrade Trophy game at Portsmouth," said Arsenal in a statement.

"We lost 2-1, but Laurent completed 85 minutes and has come through the game without complications. Laurent, who played 45 minutes for our Under-23s at Derby last week, will not be involved against Manchester United tonight. He will be assessed ahead of Saturday's Premier League game against Huddersfield Town at Emirates Stadium," added the statement.

Arsenal are on a high having come from behind to beat local rivals Tottenham 4-2 on Sunday and can stretch their unbeaten run to 20 games at Old Trafford on Wednesday.

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