Wenger in dilemma?

Ar­se­nal boss want France to rest Ko­scielny

The Star (Kenya) - - Sports International -

LON­DON / Arsene Wenger has pleaded with France to rest Lau­rent Ko­scielny in their up­com­ing friendly with the Ivory Coast with the Ar­se­nal man­ager fear­ing his most im­por­tant de­fender could be ap­proach­ing burnout.

The Gun­ners boss has al­ready found him­self at odds with the Chilean FA af­ter Alexis Sanchez suf­fered a sus­pect ham­string in­jury whilst on in­ter­na­tional duty. De­spite pub­lic pleas for his star for­ward to re­turn, Sanchez re­mains in South Amer­ica and could be risked in a key World Cup qual­i­fier against Uruguay next week, a de­ci­sion Wenger de­scribed as po­ten­tially ‘sui­ci­dal’.

With cru­cial games against Manch­ester United and PSG com­ing straight af­ter the cur­rent in­ter­na­tional break, Wenger has asked Di­dier Deschamps to rest Ko­scielny, who played 90 min­utes in France’s 2-1 win over Swe­den on Fri­day night, in to­mor­row’s friendly.

In an in­ter­view with beIN Sports, Wenger said: “I’ve never tried to pre­vent a player from in­ter­na­tional duty. When it’s a com­pet­i­tive game, I never in­ter­vene.

“France play a friendly with Ivory Coast in the sec­ond game on Tues­day night. I can’t see the pur­pose of Ko­scielny play­ing the sec­ond game.

“I un­der­stand com­pletely him play­ing against Swe­den, it’s dif­fi­cult to un­der­stand him play­ing the whole game against Ivory Coast be­cause after­wards we play at Manch­ester United and then Paris Saint Ger­main.

“If it’s not needed, you try to find a com­pro­mise that suits both par­ties. I could ring (Di­dier Deschamps), but most of the time I don’t do it.”

Ar­se­nal’s in­jury prob­lems ex­tend fur­ther than Sanchez and, po­ten­tially, Ko­scielny. Hec­tor Bel­lerin looks set to miss much of Novem­ber af­ter suf­fer­ing sus­pect lig­a­ment dam­age in train­ing with Spain’s Un­der-21 side.

The rapid right-back has been an ever-present in the Pre­mier League this sea­son, start­ing all of Ar­se­nal’s 11 games as well as three of their four Cham­pi­ons League ties.

But he may be miss­ing for the next seven weeks, leav­ing Wenger with a choice of Mathieu De­buchy or Carl Jenk­in­son.


France’s Lau­rent Ko­scielny (C) and his team-mate Blaise Ma­tu­idi (L) in ac­tion against Swe­den’s Ola Toivo­nen (R)

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