The Arsenal and France international defender Laurent Koscielny is apparently fit again and available to play in the second leg of the Champions League knockout tie with La Liga giants Barcelona and hopefully our best centre back will then stay fit for the rest of the season.
It is just a shame that he was not around at the weekend because the ponderous Per Mertesacker and the guileless Gabriel helped Watford knock Arsenal out of the only competition that we had a decent chance of winning. Whether Koscielny will replace the German or the Brazilian remains to be seen but he is sure to improve our defence.
And if the rest of the Arsenal squad take on what he said in an Arsenal.com report this week and start to play without the pressure of expectation and as if they have nothing to lose, he might just get Arsenal back in with a chance of the Premier League title. The Frenchman has not yet given up on Europe either, but he does accept that our chances there are even smaller after losing the home leg 2-0.
Koscielny said, “We don’t have pressure like in the first game, because we play against the best team in the world.
“Now we need to play the second leg away at Barca and we have nothing to lose. People always talk about the statistics and I think we have maybe a five per cent chance to qualify.
“You know when you play against the best players in the world, the best team with a good collective side, it’s very important for us. It can be very important if we can have a [good] result.
“They have a lot of quality, they can have a lot of possession during the game and when they accelerate with their top players, they create chances.
“We need to play with freedom and believe in our quality because we did well during the first six months of this season. I don’t see why we can’t [play like that] against Barcelona and for the rest of the season.
“You know we are in a difficult period and we need to stay like a unit to be stronger. We will fight until the end of the season.”
In a funny way, this hardest of tasks that Arsenal face at the Nou Camp could be just what the club needs, especially if we do pull off a miracle and get through. Even if we don’t though, a positive and pressure free performance could provide the blueprint for the remaining nine EPL games.
We really need to head into the international break in a better frame of mind though and with another three points on the board from Everton. Would that give us a chance if the team can take note of Koscielny and relax, or would it still be too late?