The real reason Laurent Koscielny missed out for Arsenal against Stoke

Injury problems meant the Frenchman could not play for Arsenal against Stoke.

Has manager Arsene Wenger mishandled Laurent Koscielny's fitness over the past week?

The French international returned from almost two months out a week earlier against West Brom, and played days later at home to Southampton.

Two clean sheets in two showed the defender to help make an instant impact, but against Stoke he was missing.

Was Wenger resting him for the midweek game against Galatasaray? No, it appears, as the manager told on Sunday night: "Koscielny. He didn’t play on Saturday and I don’t see why I should risk him for a game where’s there’s not a lot at stake."

So why was he left out in the first place against Stoke then? Simply, he was not match fit, having come back from injury to play two games in five days - a third in eight was judged beyond him.

Arsene Wenger admitted after the game with West Brom a week ago that Koscielny had fitness issues.

"Koscielny could be a problem because his inflammation of the achilles is not completely gone.

"He had two tendons which were bad. The left has gone completely and the right is still a little bit there so, if he has no reaction, he can cope with it. If he has a reaction, you have to be cautious."

So to see him play all 90 minutes against Southampton days later was a little of a surprise. 

Arsenal won the game, so that was a success, but had Koscielny sat that one out, it's almost certain he would have been ready to play against Stoke rather than sitting on the sidelines.

And what it boils down to is whether Arsenal had a better chance of beating Southampton without Koscielny, than they would have facing Stoke without him.

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