Arsenal's injury crisis has deepened this afternoon by the breaking news that Laurent Koscielny is still struggling with an Achilles problem, a nagging injury complaint that was enough for France to rule out him of their European Championship qualifier against Armenia.
Koscielny has been sent back to London by Les Blues and replaced by Roma centre-back Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, the latest in a list of Arsenal players struggling with injury that has now stretched beyond double figures.
The Guardian cite reports in France that claim Koscielny is suffering from acute tendonitis in both knees, despite Arsenal's insistence that the move is purely precautionary and shouldn't lead to a long-term absence for a Gunners star who is close to irreplaceable.
Arsenal edging towards injury meltdown
Gunners medical staff are acutely aware that Koscielny has been experiencing pain in his Achilles for some time, a problem that hampered his start to the season.
Koscielny was left out of Arsenal's 2-2 draw with Everton in August as a precaution with a similar injury and playing three times in the space of eight days has clearly aggravated that pre-existing issue.
The French Football Federation confirmed as much in official statement relayed by the Evening Standard earlier today, diagnosing Kosceilny's injury as 'chronic tendinitis of both Achilles tendons' and insisting the problem is several months old.
France have decided not to take a gamble on Koscielny's long-term fitness and have Yanga-Mbiwa, Eliaquim Mangala and Raphael Varane waiting in reserve, but Arsenal aren't so fortunate.
11 first-team regulars out
Arsenal simply cannot afford to lose their £90,000-a-week defensive linchpin and expect to challenge for top honours, particularly when you consider that his countrymen Mathieu Debuchy and Olivier Giroud are already out until Christmas at the very least.
Aaron Ramsey, Mikel Arteta, Yaya Sanogo, Theo Walcott, Serge Gnabry and David Ospina are also still sidelined, while perhaps most disappointingly of all Mesut Ozil now faces 10-12 weeks on the treatment table with a knee problem identified on international duty.
Wenger must be desperate for the international break to end so he can assess who is left to face Hull City on Saturday August 18, but unfortunately for Arsenal a double round of European Championship qualifiers hasn't even begun.
Koscielny could still be fit for that Emirates showdown, but don't be surprised if Arsenal are forced to very cautious with a man who has built a reputation as one of the Premier League's most consistent defenders.
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