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ESPN FC  By ESPN

Laurent Koscielny injury doubt for Arsenal match at Newcastle - reports

Arsenal centre-back Laurent Koscielny is a doubt for the club's trip to Newcastle United, according to reports.

Koscielny, 29, was absent for Arsenal's 0-0 draw against Liverpool on Monday due to a back injury, while his usual partner in defence, Per Mertesacker, also missed out due to illness.

Newspaper reports claim Koscielny is unlikely to make a return in time for Saturday lunchtime's games at St James' Park.

The Gunners are, however, more optimistic about the availability of Mertesacker, who could be partnered by Gabriel at Newcastle.

Gabriel and Calum Chambers played in defence versus Liverpool but the pair struggled with Arsenal having to rely on an impressive performance by goalkeeper Petr Cech.

Wenger said after the match: "Mertesacker is sick. How long will that sickness take? I don't know. Koscielny has a back problem. Having said that, our two centre backs played well in the second half."

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