Defensive boost for Arsenal with Laurent Koscielny and Konstantinos Mavropanos returning from injury this month

Koscielny, who has been sidelined since last season's Europa League semi-final, ruptured his Achilles tendon while Mavropanos is recovering from a groin injury.

Both players are now expected to return to first-team action at the end of the month before the Gunners navigate a hellish December schedule.

Koscielny, 33, is yet to feature for Arsenal this season after rupturing his Achilles in last season's Europa League semi-final against Athletico Madrid.

The injury sidelined him for France's World Cup win and he's since missed the start of Unai Emery's reign at the Emirates with Petr Cech taking the captaincy.

Mavropanos has also rejoined light first-team training as he recovers from a hamstring problem that's kept him out of contention since September.

The Greek defender, who was one of Arsene Wenger's last ever signings, is also waiting to make his debut for Emery this season.

The Gunner's boss has had to continually resort his back-line after being plagued by a series of setbacks to Sead Kolsinaic, Nacho Monreal, Stephan Lichtsteiner and Sokratis Papastathopoulos.

While Arsenal's defence may be getting a much-needed injection of fresh talent, Emery may have to jiggle his attack after Danny Welbeck was ruled out for the rest of the season.

The England striker, 27, is due to undergo surgery this weekend after breaking his right ankle during Thursday’s Europa League game against Sporting Lisbon.

Welbeck – who was given oxygen and taken off the pitch on a stretcher – went up for a header midway through the first half and landed awkwardly.

He was rushed to hospital after the sickening injury and has had to pull out of Gareth Southgate's England squad for next weeks two matches.

Arsenal have now reportedly lined up Lille's £45m winger Nicolas Pepe as his potential replacement.


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