Positive injury news for Arsenal's Laurent Koscielny, and Vermaelen to get chance

Two Arsenal defenders face different situations on Tuesday.

Many said Arsenal needed to sign a new centre-back in the summer, but when Per Mertesacker, Laurent Koscielny and Thomas Vermaelen are all fit, there is little need.

However that is very much the point, with Vermaelen missing the first month of the season injured, and Koscielny pulling up in training for France last week.

Which brings us to the present, what developments have there been over the weekend which Arsenal fans need to know about?

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KOSCIELNY: The French centre-back suffered tightening in his calf last Wednesday, and Didier Deschamps called up young defender Kurt Zouma as cover. France's Friday night game was merely a friendly, a 6-0 win over Australia in which he was neither needed nor missed.

A different situation presents itself on Tuesday evening, France face Finland in a World Cup qualifier. They are heading for the play-offs unless Georgia pull off the most unlikely result of the night by beating group leaders Spain.

It is not essential Koscielny plays because the match could potentially be meaningless, five points clears of third place with one game remaining.

Didier Deschamps told L'Equipe that the Arsenal defender was due to resume full training with the group, having undertaken a light schedule in the days leading up to the Australia game. When pressed about Koscielny's availability for the Finland  game he responded 'we still have time.'

The fact Koscielny is in contention for this game is positive for Arsenal fans, that he is making progress and indicating that at the very least he will be fit enough for the Premier League clash against Norwich next weekend. Doubled with the issue that France's match could end up a dead rubber, it means the centre-back is not likely to be risked carelessly, and Deschamps has indicated as such.

VERMAELEN: Arsenal's captain has been fit for a fortnight now, but has struggled for gametime at Arsenal with Mertesacker and Koscielny in excellent form. He was again left on the bench for Belgium's World Cup qualifier versus Croatia on Friday, a match they won 2-1 to ensure a place in Brazil next summer.

A chance is though on the horizon. Vermaelen is desperate to play, showing so at Belgium's light training session at the weekend, where his teammates participated in jogging bottoms while he was the only one to wear shorts. The defender has been told by manager Marc Wilmots that he will start for his country on Tuesday against Wales, write Nieuwsblade, where he will have to try to keep clubmate Aaron Ramsey quiet.

The match may be meaningless, but will be a vital chance for Vermaelen to get some match action under his belt. If on the off chance Koscielny still does not recover for Arsenal's Premier League match next weekend, Vermaelen will surely be sharper for it.

Do you feel positive about Koscielny? Will France rest him again?

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image: © Ronnie Macdonald

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