Laurent Koscielny faces at least a fortnight out

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Arsenal centre-back Laurent Koscielny is expected to miss at least the next fortnight with a calf strain, leaving the defensive linchpin facing a race against time to be for the Gunners' FA Cup semi-final against Wigan Athletic on April 12th.

Koscielny was taken off at half-time of Arsenal's 6-0 capitulation against Chelsea last weekend as a precaution with a groin complaint, replaced by club captain Thomas Vermaelen.

The French international was definitely out of contention for tonight's Premier League clash with Swansea City, but unfortunately for Gunners boss Arsene Wenger he now looks to be without yet another key player at the business end of the campaign.

Arsenal face Manchester City and Everton in pivotal back-to-back league games following the Swansea match at the Emirates, but the Evening Standard's chief football correspondent James Olley has shared that Koscileny will almost definitely be stuck on the sidelines for both fixtures.

Olley used Twitter this morning to inform Gunners fans that Koscielny is expected to be out for a minimum of two weeks, which means Vermaelen will finally get a chance to prove his worth alongside Per Mertesacker at a pivotal point in the campaign.

Vermaelen has been forced to sit on the bench for the vast majority of the campaign by Mertesacker and Koscielny's strong centre-back partnership, leading to mounting speculation that skipper may look for first-team football elsewhere this summer.

Wenger now needs the Belgian star to perform when called upon as a matter of urgency though, as Arsenal look for a response to Saturday's shocking setback at Stamford Bridge.

The Gunners slipped to another hammering at the hands of a direct title rival in Wenger's 1000th game in charge, with his players now faced with the challenge of responding without a host of star names including Mesut Ozil, Jack Wilshere, Theo Walcott and Aaron Ramsey.

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Laurent Koscielny
Premier League

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