MX23RW : Sunday, April 21 02:48:36| >> :600:11070470:11070470:

Laurent Koscielny targets “new chapter” after making Arsenal comeback

Laurent Koscielny targets “new chapter” after making Arsenal comeback
© Reuters
The defender started his first game since May as the Gunners beat Qarabag.

Laurent Koscielny made his long-awaited comeback from injury in Arsenal’s Europa League win over Qarabag and is now aiming to start “a new chapter” in his career.

The Gunners won 1-0 in a dead rubber at the Emirates Stadium, Alexandre Lacazette scoring the only goal of a forgettable contest.

Already assured of top spot in Group E, Unai Emery made nine changes from the weekend win over Huddersfield – one of which included Koscielny’s first appearance of the season.

The 33-year-old ruptured his Achilles in a Europa League semi-final defeat to Atletico Madrid in May and came through 70 minutes unscathed against the Azerbaijan Premier League champions.

“It was very important for me today,” he told BT Sport.

“It was my last day of rehab, so now I start a new chapter in my career. For me it is important to enjoy the game with my team-mates, and it didn’t matter about the result, it was just about being on the pitch with my friends.

“It is difficult being out injured. It was the first big injury of my career and I had to take a long time out, but you learn a lot about yourself and I am very happy.

“I am focused mentally, and I can smile and enjoy the rest of the season.”

Emery, whose side have now gone 21 games unbeaten across all competitions, was also pleased to see his captain play under him for the first time.

“When a player comes back like Koscielny, after a big injury… a big injury can give the player difficult moments,” the Arsenal head coach said.

“I think for Koscielny it’s good that he’s recovered and I also think he recovered in a good time for his big injury. When he comes back like today with us, every supporter of Arsenal is happy, and also the player.”

Koscielny’s return to fitness could prove timely for Emery, who has something of a defensive crisis heading into Sunday’s Premier League trip to Southampton.

Rob Holding and Konstantinos Mavropanos are injured, while Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Shkodran Mustafi are banned – meaning Koscielny is Emery’s only fit recognised centre-back, but the Spaniard is keen not to ask too much of his skipper.

“This process with him is to take confidence again, take rhythm for playing matches like today,” he added.

“We are going to continue this process maybe on Sunday. I want to wait tomorrow and Saturday for how he will feel after this match, for if he will play or not on Sunday.”

Lacazette’s early goal settled the game as Mesut Ozil, returning from a back injury, teed up his fellow big-name starter with Emery taking the chance to blood several youngsters.

Teenage forward Bukayo Saka particularly impressed against a Qarabag side who offered very little in the way of an attacking threat.

The game saw one controversial moment as it drew to its conclusion, a supporter running onto the pitch waving a flag of the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region – antagonising the small number of Qarabag fans.

Alexandre Lacazette netted the winner for Arsenal
Alexandre Lacazette netted the winner for Arsenal (Adam Davy/PA)

The area has caused conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan and Qarabag coach Gurban Gurbanov was not impressed with the stunt.

“I would like to not talk too much about this,” he said.

“Only cowards will act like this. We must respect everybody at football, this provocation I would call it cowardice. You want to stand there, you don’t want to run away. It’s not good to provoke. Only cowards provoke.”

Click here for more stories about Laurent Koscielny

Click here for more stories about Arsenal

Share this article now:

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Select and display your favourite team's news and scores in this panel

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Select and display your favourite team's news and scores in this panel
Premier League
La Liga
Serie A
Ligue 1
Primeira Liga
Scottish Premiership
Turkish Super Lig
Belgian Pro League
League One
Segunda Division
Ligue 2
Swiss Super League
Swedish Allsvenskan
Russian Premier League
Major League Soccer
Liga MX
Uruguayan Primera Division
Australian A-League
Chinese Super League
Women's Super League
European Champions Cup
1Manchester CityMan City34282487226586
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs342211164352967
6Manchester UnitedMan Utd33197763441964
8Leicester CityLeicester35146154847148
9Wolverhampton WanderersWolves34139124142-148
11West Ham UnitedWest Ham35127164454-1043
12Newcastle UnitedNewcastle35118163544-941
14Crystal Palace34116174046-639
17Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton3497183253-2134
18Cardiff CityCardiff3494213063-3331
RHuddersfield TownHuddersfield3535272069-4914

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Transfer Talk Daily
Match previews - twice weekly
Morning Briefing (7am UTC)
Ultra close-up image of Kevin De Bruyne [NOT FOR USE IN ARTICLES]Get the latest transfer news, match previews and news direct to your inbox!

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Select and display your favourite team's news and scores in this panel
Login, I already have my ad-free pass
Log in to customise Sports Mole
Buy ad-free access (show me the options)
Buy monthly ad-free access for £1.20/month
Buy yearly ad-free access for £12 (2 months free)
Settings - Logout - Manage your account
Settings - Logout - Manage your account