Arsenal Boss Confirms 33-Year-Old Will Start Against Qarabag, Ozil Also Involved

By on December 12, 2018

Arsenal will look to wrap-up the Europa League group stages in style when we welcome Qarabag to the Emirates Stadium on Thursday night.

Ahead of the game, Gunners boss Unai Emery has been speaking to the media at his pre-match press conference this afternoon and he’s offered an insight in to his team selection tomorrow.

We’ve already secured top spot in Group E having taken 13 points from our five games so far so it’s no surprise Emery has confirmed he will make plenty of changes to his starting eleven for this dead rubber.

A number of key players are expected to be rested ahead of our Premier League trip to Southampton on Sunday afternoon with the boss confirming that he’ll give some of the U23’s a chance to impress with the first team.

Emery also revealed that he’ll hand Laurent Koscielny his first start since May of last season when the centre-back ruptured his Achilles during our Europa League semi-final clash with Atletico Madrid.

Koscielny has turned out for the youth sides over the past few weeks in order to build up his fitness but the Frenchman will now make his long-awaited comeback against Qarabag tomorrow night. If he comes through the game unscathed, then Emery has suggested he could feature against Southampton on Sunday with Shkodran Mustafi and Sokratis suspended and Rob Holding injured.

The Arsenal boss also confirmed that Mesut Ozil will be back in the squad on Thursday night after recovering from a back injury that’s kept him out for the last four games, but the boss hasn’t decided whether to start him or bring him off the bench.

Emery is quoted as saying by Football London:

Emery confirms Koscielny will start
Our first mind in this competition is to be first in the group – which we have done. But we respect this competition and Qarabag. Tomorrow our objective is to win, we will give players chance to take responsibility and confidence.

We are going to use tomorrow with some different players, with some coming from Under-23s. We also start to play with Laurent Koscielny.

Could Koscielny play against Southampton?
We have some players with injuries and unavailable at centre-back. We are going to decide after tomorrow, because it will be the first time Koscielny can play.

We can use other players in this position, like sometimes Monreal and Lichsteiner. So we will decided, but first we think about the game tomorrow.

Has Ozil’s injury come from playing too many computer games?
I don’t know. Tomorrow he is in the group, we will decide if we play at the beginning or during the match

It will be a big boost for Koscielny to return to first team action tomorrow night but let’s hope he manages to come through the Qarabag game without issue as we could certainly do with him starting against Southampton on Sunday.

I expect to see the likes of Petr Cech, Nacho Monreal, Stephan Lichtsteiner, Carl Jenkinson, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Emile Smith Rowe, Joe Willock and Eddie Nketiah all featuring tomorrow night.

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