Mustafi out, Koscielny set for late fitness test – Wenger
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 51 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 said.
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. At the moment he is not available. But he trained on his own and the first signs are positive, so we decided to give him a test tomorrow.”
Wenger said forward Danny Welbeck (groin) and midfielder Mesut Ozil (knee) had recovered from their injures and were in 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. I am more concerned that yesterday after noon 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.
“It was a very physical game. Mentally, I will have to assess the situation.”
Wenger said contract talks with Ozil, who is in the final year of his deal, were progressing well.
“That is my understanding (that he wants to stay). The fact that we didn’t find agreement last year doesn’t mean he wants to leave.” – Reuters