Koscielny major doubt for Chelsea clash
ESPN FC: Arsenal on the decline?
Arsenal defender Laurent Koscielny is highly likely to miss Monday's top-of-the-table Premier League clash with Chelsea, according to manager Arsene Wenger.
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The centre-back left the pitch on a stretcher after sustaining a laceration to his knee during last Saturday's 6-3 defeat at Manchester City.
The France international's absence would deal the Gunners a blow in their attempt to recover from three successive games without a victory.
Wenger feels his team illustrated their capacity to create problems for any side in the trip to Eastlands, and that the defensive problems can be more easily rectified. On Monday at the Emirates Stadium, however, they will have to do without a defender that has grown in influence this season.
"The team news is that Koscielny is certainly out for the game, 80-90 percent he is out, and that Jack Wilshere of course is suspended," Wenger told his prematch news conference. "Everybody else will be available again."
Wenger also refused to rule out any signings in January.
"At the moment, no," the Arsenal manager smiled, before adding the caveat: "But that can change."
Wenger believes the heavy loss at City should not change the sense of momentum around Arsenal’s season, but instead strengthen their resolve.
"[Last week's 2-0 Champions League defeat at Napoli] was a game we always knew was going to be very difficult, and it was not as negative as Man City because we didn't go out of the Champions League, we qualified for the Champions League and came out of the group stage.
"Man City was, quite amazingly, despite the fact we conceded goals -- that was a shock for us because we are not used to that -- it was not all negative because we could have scored six as well.
"On the offensive front we have shown that we have huge potential. I believe that we should come out of that game even stronger in our belief, even stronger in our resolute attitude, because we have shown until now that we can be very strong defensively, and as well on the day we have shown that we can be dangerous against anybody. We can rectify the defensive problem, but that's what we want to show against Chelsea."
Arsenal will also benefit from the return to fitness of forward Lukas Podolski, who has not featured for the Gunners since August.
"He is available to be selected," Wenger said. "It's a big boost because he can score goals in big games. He has shown that before. He is a clinical finisher and a great football player."