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Mustafi out, fit­ness test for Ko­scielny

Daily News - - SPORT -

ARSE­NAL de­fender Shko­dran Mustafi has been ruled out for six weeks while Lau­rent Ko­scielny faces a late fit­ness test ahead of to­mor­row’s Pre­mier League clash with Wat­ford, man­ager Arsene Wenger has said.

Ger­many’s Mustafi suf­fered a thigh mus­cle in­jury in the 5-1 World Cup qual­i­fy­ing vic­tory over Azer­bai­jan on Sun­day when he was taken off in the 37th minute af­ter grab­bing his right thigh in pain with no op­po­nents near him.

“I don’t think he will be avail­able be­fore the next in­ter­na­tional break (in Novem­ber),” Wenger told a news con­fer­ence yes­ter­day.

The man­ager sounded more op­ti­mistic about Ko­scielny, who was not called up by France for their qual­i­fiers due to a strained Achilles, say­ing that the de­fender had trained yes­ter­day and could step in for Mustafi.

“Ko­scielny has a def­i­nite fi­nal test to­mor­row,” Wenger said. “At the mo­ment he is not avail­able. But he trained on his own and the first signs are pos­i­tive.”

Wenger said for­ward Danny Wel­beck (groin) and mid­fielder Me­sut Ozil (knee) had re­cov­ered from their in­jures and were train­ing, while de­fender Sead Ko­lasinac had a mi­nor hip prob­lem.

Alexis Sanchez, who saw his 2018 World Cup dreams crushed when Chile lost to Brazil on Tues­day, will join the group to­day and Wenger said he would as­sess the striker’s fit­ness.

“I will have to speak to him,” Wenger said. “I am more con­cerned that yes­ter­day af­ter­noon I watched the whole game Brazil against Chile to see how dif­fi­cult the game was and I must say he got some spe­cial treat­ment in this game.

Wenger said con­tract talks with Ger­man in­ter­na­tional Ozil, who is in the fi­nal year of his deal, were pro­gress­ing well.

“The fact that we didn’t find agree­ment last year doesn’t mean he wants to leave. The player looks happy. At the present time there is no deal close for me to an­nounce.”

Eighth-placed Wat­ford have just one win against Arse­nal in eight Pre­mier League meet­ings, but will look to build on their de­cent start. Arse­nal are fifth on 13 points from seven games. – Reuters

LAU­RENT KO­SCIELNY

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