Laurent Koscielny’s World Cup hopes in the balance


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Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said he will “hope for a miracle” after Laurent Koscielny’s World Cup hopes suffered a potential blow because of a suspected Achilles rupture.

The 32-year-old slumped to the floor in pain and was substituted early on in the Gunners’ crushing 1-0 Europa League semi-final second-leg defeat by Atletico Madrid at Estadio Wanda Metropolitano.

Long-serving manager Wenger suggested in his post-match press conference the France defender will need a miracle to make the 2018 World Cup in Russia. “It doesn’t look very good,” he told reporters.

“His Achilles, you can always hope for a miracle on the scan, but the first signs are not good. It looks like it could [be ruptured].”

News of Koscielny’s injury capped a miserable night for the north Londoners, in which Wenger saw his hopes of ending his 22-year association at the club with a major trophy end in disappointment courtesy of a 2-1 aggregate defeat by the La Liga giants.

The Gunners are 14 points adrift of local rivals Tottenham in the coveted fourth spot and will miss out on Champions League football next season.

Wenger said: “When you go out of a competition and you have the performances we have had over 180 minutes it is hard to take.

“There are some good ingredients in our team. They will bounce back.”

Arsenal return to Premier League action on Sunday against Burnley at Emirates Stadium and are currently trading 1.57 to win in 90 minutes, with the draw outcome priced 4.20 and the visitors available to back at 5.50.

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