During yet another meaningless international break, Arsenal have received a huge boost to the squad as longtime defender and captain Laurent Koscielny returned to full-contact training with the team this week ahead of next week’s clash with Leicester City.
Arsenal captain Laurent Koscielny was heavily involved in training with the squad at London Colney today. [@charles_watts] #afc pic.twitter.com/1laVG1sqIN— afcstuff (@afcstuff) October 17, 2018
Although it was well known that Koscielny would be returning to training toward the end of October, it is the inclusion of the word “heavily” in the report that is most noteworthy. After suffering an Achilles injury against Atletico Madrid in the Europa League semi-final in May of this year, many believed it would be quite a while before the French defender would return to practice. With news of his training, it appears as though his grueling rehab is not only ahead of schedule, but nearing its end.
Despite Arsenal’s current successful run of form, the return of their captain is a massive for a defense that has yet to look a complete unit through the first 8 matches of the current Premier League season. Koscielny’s potential impact is uncertain - an Achilles injury suffered this late into a career is incredibly brutal to recover from - but his presence and leadership on the training ground can’t be anything but positive for the team and the defender, who recently opened up about the mental distress and isolation he suffered through while recovering from his injury.
While there is no set timeline for Koscielny’s return to first team competition, the sight of Arsenal’s steely-eyed defender at London Colney is a bright spot during an otherwise dull break.