Laurent Koscielny made his long-awaited comeback in Arsenal’s win over Qarabag and now aims to start “a new chapter” in his career. The Gunners won 1-0 in a Europa League dead rubber at the Emirates Stadium on Thursday night, with French striker Alexandre Lacazette scoring the only goal of a forgettable contest.
Already assured of top spot in Group E, manager Unai Emery made nine changes from the weekend win over Huddersfield Town, one of which included Koscielny’s first appearance of the season.
The 33-year-old, who ruptured his Achilles in a Europa League semi-final defeat to Atletico Madrid in May, came through 70 minutes unscathed against the Azerbaijan Premier League champions. “It was very important for me today,” he told BT Sport. “It was my last day of rehab, so now I start a new chapter in my career.
For me it is important to enjoy the game with my team-mates, and it didn’t matter about the result, it was just about being on the pitch with my friends. “It is difficult being out injured. It was the first big injury of my career and I had to take a long time out, but you learn a lot about yourself and I am very happy. “I am focused mentally and I can smile and enjoy the rest of the season.”