Arsenal defender Koscielny given all-clear after injury setback scare
Photo: Getty Images - Alex Burstow

Arsenal defender Koscielny given all-clear after injury setback scare

Koscielny hobbled off during an Arsenal under-21s game. 

Matt Dawson

Experienced Arsenal defender Laurent Koscielny is nearing full fitness after completing 85 minutes for the club's under-21 side on Monday evening.

Arsenal were in Checkatrade Trophy action against Portsmouth at Fratton Park but Koscielny limped off after 85 minutes. 

It was a worrying sign for a player who has been out injured since May, but the Gunners have since given the all-clear on the French centre-half. A statement on the Arsenal website declared: "[Koscielny] has come through the game without complications."

Koscielny suffered a torn Achilles injury last season against Atletico Madrid during Arsenal's second leg Europa League tie in which they lost. 

The 33-year-old went onto miss France's successful World Cup campaign and subsequently announced his retirement from the international game. 

Koscielny continues rehabilitation

The centre-back has stepped up his recovery from injury in recent weeks and in order to build up his match fitness before making a first-team return has featured for Freddie Ljungberg's youth sides. 

He first made a comeback during an under-23s match against Derby last week, playing the first 45 minutes of a 5-0 loss. 

Koscielny then played in Arsenal's under-21s game against Portsmouth as the Gunners were knocked out of the Checkatrade Trophy with a 2-1 defeat. 

He featured in a backline that included Zech Medley who made his first-team debut against Vorskla last week in the Europa League.

Fighting for his place

Once Koscielny makes a return to the first team he will have a job on his hands to get back in the side. Rob Holding has shown tremendous strides in recent months and appears to a favourite with Unai Emery.

Sokratis has also appeared a steady acquisition and will be tough to dislodge at the heart of the defence. 

However, Arsenal fans may get a first glimpse of him returning when they take on Qarabag in their final Europa League match on December 13th. 

With Holding suspended for that tie and games coming thick and fast during a busy December it would present an ideal opportunity for Koscielny to make a comeback.