When news frittered in that Arsenal had suffered their first casualty of the international break amidst news that key defender Laurent Koscielny missed training and Deschamps swiftly called up a replacement. The diagnosis which was that he had suffered a calf injury sent tongues wagging that the in-form defender could miss be missing in action for at least 4 weeks. That would have been a huge blow considering the fact that Arsenal’s emergency center back (Sagna) is also out with a hamstring injury with return date fixed for 3 weeks. That would have meant Arsenal would have played key matches (EPL, Champions League and Capital One Cup) without a back-up center back.
While Koscielny and Sagna’s absence would provide Vermaelen an opportunity to re-launch himself and prove he is good enough to start ahead of the Frenchman but it would leave the Gunners lack of defensive depth totally exposed.
All of that anxiety and fears seemed to have been allayed with reports emanating from the French camp that Kos is set to return to full training and could be in contention for France’s World Cup qualifier against Finland. He might not start against the Finns which is a good news for Arsenal as it would dissipate chances of been injured but it would at least give us the confidence that he is fit and raring to go for Arsenal against Norwich. I won’t be surprised if Wenger opts for Vermaelen/Mertesacker partnership at the weekend but I expect him to revert to the winning combo of Mertesacker and Koscielny for the crucial visit of Dortmund.
As Arsenal go into the crucial period with testy fixtures, we need all hands on deck and all our players available.