Cape Town - Arsenal head coach Unai Emery will
monitor Laurent Koscielny before deciding whether his fit-again captain
can play against Southampton on Sunday.
The French defender made his long-awaited return to action in the 1-0
win over Qarabag on Thursday, having been sidelined since May when he
ruptured an Achilles tendon.
Koscielny featured alongside Sokratis in the heart of defence and was
given 72 minutes before being replaced by Nacho Monreal, as the Gunners
qualified for the Europa League knockout stages as Group E winners.
Emery is short of defensive options for the trip to St Mary's with
Sokratis suspended, while Shkodran Mustafi, Rob Holding and Konstantinos
Mavropanos are all ruled out through injury.
But the Spaniard is wary of asking too much of Koscielny with the
hectic festive period approaching, which sees the north Londoners play
six Premier League games in the space of 17 days.
"Today is another step for [Koscielny]," Emery said after the match at the Emirates Stadium.
"We need to [find out] tomorrow and Saturday how he is going to feel
after this match to see if he can help us on the pitch on Sunday.
"It is good he has recovered and in a good time. Every supporter and player from Arsenal is happy.
"He can take confidence again, take rhythm and then we are going to
continue our process. Maybe [he can play] Sunday, but I want to wait to
see how he will feel."