I would firstly like to introduce our latest blogger Bonny Dellow, he is a journalist with a passion for arsenal and today, will be discussing the rise of Laurent Koscielny. I hope you enjoy it! – Arsenation:
Laurent Koscielny has transformed himself into one of the Premier League’s most accomplished centre-halves. Despite early lamentation from pundits and fans alike, the Frenchman has firmly
established himself as a vital cog in Wenger’s plans.
Aggressive in the tackle, strong, buy cialis online and deceptively quick, the 26-year-old is now widely considered one of the most revered central defenders in European football by those in the know. Though yet to win the widespread acclaim that his performances this season deserve, Koscielny has won the trust of a sceptical Emirates crowed, whilst reaffirming the belief of a manager who plucked him from Ligue 1 with only a season of top-flight football to his name.
How quickly fortunes in football can change. Rewind to Sunday, February 27th 2011 and Koscielny was rightly, if not slightly excessively damned, when his last minute mix-up with Wojciech Szczesny cost Arsenal the Carling Cup and aided in the implosion of a season that promised so much. The former FC Lorient man was chastised as indicative of the Arsenal side, and of Wenger’s transfer policy. Many labelled Koscielny the budget gamble, whilst pointing a clueless finger at Chris Samba or Brede Hangeland.
However, since then, Samba has gone on to the (not so) glamorous Anzhi Makhachkala, while Hangeland has failed to replicate the form which saw him linked with such European luminaries as Juventus and of course, Arsenal. The finger-pointers are unsurprisingly not so quick to point the finger to this, however.
At 26, relatively young for a central defender, Koscielny has the years ahead of him to become a master of his trade. A constant thirst for improvement has seen the 8-10 million pound signing (depending what you read) grow in stature from game to game.
An innate desire to get in front of his man, win the ball and launch counter-attacks has seen Koscielny become a force in both defence and attack, not to mention the Frenchman’s prowess at meeting set-pieces at both ends of the pitch.
His aggression is matched by an eerily cold presence, while his anticipation and authority is complimented by a reassuring calmness on the ball. Koscielny is transforming into a formidable opponent, and an ever-dependent for his side.
Cue Thomas Vermaelen. An incredible athlete with a focus and prescience enviable by any centre-half in world football. Partnering Koscielny has brought the best out of the former Ajax captain; each proving the perfect foil for the other’s game. Koscielny’s pace and agility allows Vermaelen the freedom to press high up the field, with the knowledge that Koscielny will hold up the play long enough for Vermaelen to assume his role and reinstate the shape of the side. Their character’s also appear curiously compatible. The extrovert Vermaelen flourishes alongside introverted Koscielny, and vice versa.
Koscielny’s introverted personality should not, however, be mistaken for shyness. Arsenal’s number six has been a lion in a number of the Gunner’s biggest victories in the last two seasons. One can’t help but point to his coming of age against Messi and co at the Emirates last season, while his performances against Tottenham , AC Milan and Manchester City have been just as impressive this term.
A successful European Championships with France could see Koscielny’s stock rise further in the public domain. And if it does? That look on Wenger’s face will be yet another characteristic, un-said ‘I told you so’.
By Bonny Dellow
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