Arsenal’s Laurent Koscienly rated doubtful for Stoke clash as back problems continue

Arsenal defender Laurent Koscielny is now a doubt for the Gunners’ upcoming clash with Stoke City, after missing France’s friendly win over Serbia through injury, the Daily Express report.

The 29-year-old was absent from Didier Deschamps’ side for the game in Bordeaux due to a back problem, which comes just a couple of weeks after he missed the goalless draw with Liverpool due to a similar issue (via Express).

And while Arsene Wenger’s side kept a clean sheet during the game at the Emirates, it was largely down to Petr Cech, who made a string of inspired saves as the Reds tore Koscielny’s replacement Calum Chambers apart during the first-half.

Luckily for Wenger, Per Mertesacker is expected to return after missing the games against Brendan Rodgers’ side and Newcastle (via Express), which should allow the boss to keep Chambers out of the firing line.

Nevertheless, not having Koscielny available will be a major blow against Mark Hughes’ men, who will be looking to exploit the Gunners’ defensive frailties in the Frenchman’s absence as they desperately look for their first win of the campaign.

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