Arsenal face another crunch encounter this weekend in their bid to secure a Champions League qualification spot through a top-four finish.
The Gunners picked up a 3-1 win over Valencia in the first leg of their Europa League semi-final tie on Thursday night, but it could have come at a cost.
As noted in freelance injury analyst Ben Dinnery’s tweet below, Unai Emery revealed after the game that stalwart Laurent Koscielny was struggling with fatigue after a taxing display against the La Liga outfit in midweek.
The Spanish tactician added that he was hopeful that he would be available against Brighton on Sunday and for the second leg in Spain, but time will tell if he opts to perhaps rest the Frenchman at the weekend to keep him as fresh as possible for the showdown next week.
Arsenal currently sit in fifth place in the Premier League standings, two points adrift of fourth-placed Chelsea with just two games remaining.
After Brighton they travel to Burnley on the last day of the season, and so the pressure is building for them to collect maximum points to try and leapfrog Chelsea into fourth spot.
In contrast, the two sides could yet face each other in the Europa League final which will represent another gateway to the Champions League, and so perhaps having Koscielny fit enough to feature in two more games in Europe will take on greater importance for Emery.
Time will tell what the Arsenal boss decides to do, but there is no doubt that Koscielny’s experience and quality will be vital in the final few games of the campaign and so the Gunners will be desperate to have the 33-year-old available for as many of them as possible depending on his fitness levels.
Koscielny maybe rested. “I hope that he is going to be OK for Sunday and the [UEL] second leg away, but I don’t know,” said Emery. "Laurent was very tired. He ran back with the transitions – 50 metres for a sprint [2nd half] – it’s normal that he can be tired or struggling." #AFC
— Ben Dinnery (@BenDinnery) May 3, 2019