Unai Emery has confirmed that it was an injury that forced Laurent Koscielny out of Arsenal’s cup clash against Blackpool on Saturday, but he hopes it’s nothing serious.
Koscielny was originally named in the starting eleven to face Blackpool in Arsenal’s FA Cup third round match this weekend. However, with not long to go before kick-off, the club announced they were making a last-minute change, with Carl Jenkinson replacing the centre-back in the starting team and Emile Smith Rowe making the bench.
After the game, Emery admitted the club captain had withdrawn from the match with a back problem.
“Yes [it’s a back problem],” Emery said. “I hope it’s not bad. He has one week to rest and to work, thinking about the next match against West Ham. I hope he’s going to be OK for the next matches but before the match, he felt some pain in his back. We decided it was better for him to not play.”
From the sounds of things, the decision was more of a precaution than anything else. There’s no point taking any risks with Koscielny after he’s spent such a long time on the sidelines.
The defender made a similar decision against Burnley last month, telling Emery he felt it was too risky to play the fixture. Hopefully, he’ll be able to shake off these niggling concerns in the next month or so and get back to regular football. Until then, Arsenal are probably right to be so careful.
In the end, it didn’t matter anyway, as the Gunners came away 3-0 winners.