Laurent Koscielny Key To Any Arsenal Success


Arsenal’s 3-2 win over Swansea City on Saturday was enough to see the Gunners join Man City at the top of the Premier League table.

The North London side have only lost once this season and that was the campaign’s opener against Liverpool, a game in which they lost by four goals to three at the Emirates.

After that opening day defeat Arsene Wenger’s side was slaughtered for their poor defending. They started with the young pairing of Calum Chambers and new signing Rob Holding that day.

So it’s with little to no surprise that Arsenal have faired much better since more experienced defenders returned from injury/extended leave and the acquisition of German centre-back Shkodran Mustafa was added to the ranks.

I believe that it has been the return of Laurent Koscielny that was been the real catalyst to Arsenal’s up turn in fortunes.

In his nine games back at the heart of the defence, Koscielny has helped his side keep four cleansheets. The French internationalist has also managed to score two goals, including a vital last minute winner against Burnley.

Laurent is an extremely smart defender and he’s certainly improved greatly with age and added experience. He reads the game extremely well and his ability to understand teammates (as well as opponents) is outstanding. At Arsenal he has had various full-time partners at the back and he usually builds up a good on-field relationship with them.

New boy Mustafa and Koscielny are already reading each others game and developing all the time. That very apparent in their side’s 3-0 victory over Chelsea, where for the most part they kept the likes of Diego Costa and Eden Hazard unquestionably quiet.

Against Chelsea the two went on to make twelve clearances, ten interceptions, four tackles and two blocks between them.

That game against Antonio Conte’s men showed that the understanding between the central defenders can be a huge game changer because while the Gunners duo were strong and effective, Chelsea’s David Luiz and Gary Cahill were all over the place and awfully sloppy.

After the derby win Wenger was keen to say this about his centre-halves:

‘They were outstanding. Committed and technically sound. Overall I am very pleased.’

World Cup winner Mustafa has also been quick to praise his fellow defender and their partnership:

“We are quite similar in the style of playing, he understands things that I do, I understand things that he does,”

“If you have someone next to you that sees football the same way you see football and that you think football, I think it’s easier to play with.”

When Koscielny first arrived at the Emirates it was a bit like Wenger’s arrival, a lot were asking ‘who is this guy?’. At first he seemed to have confidence issues and certainly had dips in form.

But he has now become a dressing room leader and his game has become much more consistent.

Laurent is also very pacy, that’s highlighted more when playing alongside Per Mertesacker. That added spurt of speed means he can quickly make interceptions and snuff out potential attacks or make up ground if someone else in the back four slips up.

When asked who has been his toughest opponent, young Man United striker Marcus Rashford stated that it has been Laurent Koscielny. I’d bet other Premier League forwards would be in agreement with that assessment.

While others bang on about Leonardo Bonucci or John Stones (very good defenders), I think Arenal’s number six often get’s overlooked.

Most teams are crying out for a smart twenty-first century centre-back who can play the ball out from the back, who possesses pace and who can lead by example.

That’s why Arsenal need to keep Koscielny fit this season as he could really be key to any success they have this term!

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