Arsenal suffer defensive injuries on tour

Arsenal’s Laurent Koscielny has suffered an ankle injury during training in Japan ahead of their pre-season friendly against Nagoya tomorrow afternoon.

While the extent of the injury has not yet been revealed by the Arsenal medical staff, the centreback was withdrawn from training and it is unlikely that he will feature in tomorrow’s game.

In addition to this goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny is also ruled out of the game after suffering a back injury.

Club captain Thomas Vermaelen, who missed the tour with a back injury also, is not likely to be sidelined for as long as initial reports claimed. Some media outlets had said that the defender could be out for up to three months however it is now hoped that he could be fit to return to training within three weeks.

Abou Diaby is also out. The midfielder is recovering from the knee injury he picked up during training last season and is not expected to play before the end of 2013.

Arsenal will be hoping that both Vermaelen and Koscielny can make a speedy recovery after releasing Sebastien Squillaci and allowing Johan Djourou to leave the club on loan leaving them light in that position ahead of the new season with only two fit centrebacks in Per Mertesacker and the inexperienced Ignasi Miquel. Bacary Sagna played in the centreback position against Vietnam however this would not be seen as a long-term solution.

There was some good news however in that forward Lukas Podolski had confirmed that the ankle injury which impacted on his first season with Arsenal is now behind him.

The German said

“I had a problem with my ankle, I lost a lot of matches and now I am fully fit and will be prepared for the next season.

“My ankle is fine now. I worked on it throughout the break with the physio, I had rest and a lot of exercises and it feels fine now. It was a problem with the muscles and the ankle but now it’s all OK and I am pain free.

“It was my first year in the Premier League and I think I did well but you always feel you can do better. I will try to play better, score more goals and do some assists for Arsenal. It’s very important that we qualify for the Champions League and fight for the championship. That’s the most important thing.”

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Lee Hurley

Writer specialising in good football and bad relationships. If in doubt, assume sarcasm.