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November 2014
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The case for Koscielny as a defensive midfielder



For most of the past year now, whenever I see Arsenal play, we close down the opposition quickly enough but still do not get possession back as fast as we should, as fast as Barcelona do it.

For most of the past year whenever I see Koscielny play at Centre Back I wonder how well he would do at Central defensive midfield.

Before going any further let me tell all of you that I am a big fan of Mertesacker, Vermaelen and Koscielny. So I have a tendency to be biased about seeing them play together without altering the system already in place at Arsenal.

Some people might wonder what’s wrong with a Juventus style back three and for them all I can say is changing to a new defensive line up in the middle of the season is not exactly easy and doesn’t promise instant results. What I propose is that we tweak our system to have a high pressing CDM in front of the centre backs.

So what does Koscielny give to the side? What are his strengths? And how can we realise his potential to the fullest?

Koscielny is by far the quickest centre back we have at Arsenal, equally adept at using both his feet and an excellent reader of the game. If it wasn’t for all of us knowing beforehand that he is a defender we might have viewed a person with the above qualities as a Defensive midfielder.

If we look at his game further he has a propensity to make long runs with the ball which often leaves us gaping at the back. If he plays in midfield even if he leaves his post once or twice a game it should not be as fatal as a cb leaving his position.

Also he is an average header but is excellent at reading the game and often does his damage before the attacker is able to control the ball. His superior speed and greater technique resulted in the likes of messi struggling at the Emirates. He does make some rash tackles that can result in penalties and hopefully we can admonish them to being outside the box when he plays at Defensive midfielder.

Also he isn’t exactly a powerhouse but so isn’t Xabi Alonso or Sergio Busquets. He has the sort of close control needed to make it big in midfield and that dash of aggression missing from our defensive set up ( Vermaelen ever since being promoted to Club Captain has been subdued).

I cannot stress enough that the key to being a great defensive midfielder is being a good reader of the game, great stamina and the ability to make well timed challenges.

Koscielny has all that and more. Also playing him at CDM can free up both our full backs and they can bomb forward at each opportunity.  If we are keen on playing Gibbs and Jenkinson together this can be our way of ensuring defensive stability. Given that Diaby is injured most of the time, Sagna’s form has dipped remarkably and we did not buy a defensive midfielder in the recently concluded transfer window, this is well worth a shot.. What say Gooners?????

P.S. Nacho Monreal is a good buy. Not just because he shares my nickname but because I think he his dependable, dedicated and in the prime of his life.


The books…

The sites…


61 comments to The case for Koscielny as a defensive midfielder

  • avatar Stocksy81

    Great article, Nacho. To me, that would be a very sensible idea. Having Kos in a DM role would, as you said, give him the benefits of defending (as he is a defender) and as a sort-of attacker. He enjoys going forward. Just like TV5. If TV5 went forward, Kos could drop back into the hole and would have a full defense :) BUT, I wonder if Wenger has thought of the idea. He’s abit of a cheap skate when it comes to buying players, so why not train one of our current players into another position? It makes alot of sense if he can’t find the “perfect player”. It’s worked in the past eg. Henry, Arteta, Walcott – just to name a few. So, Wenger, If by chance you read anything like this, start training Kos and turn him into the DM we so desperatley need! Again, brill article!!

  • avatar Pat Rice

    First of all your article is flawed when you say we close down the opposition quickly. We actually don’t, hell we either sometimes don’t close them down properly or don’t close them down all together, that’s the main reason we concede so many avoidable goals.

    Against Chelsea our midfield just watched them pass the ball around or hold on to it while their other players made runs into good positions.

    If you wana see a team closing down the oppostion well besides barca, you should see Swansea(in form) and Dortmund.

    The games where we did close down quickly, were the games we won or drew, yes a dm is important(and koscielny would be good there) but a dm can’t close down players alone while the likes of walcott, rosicky, santi etc just wait for the ball.

  • avatar Mandy Dodd

    Interesting suggestion…why not? We know Wenger wanted to sign Verthongen, but according to the player, he declined (might to the delight of the Spud media) as Wenger only wanted to play him in MF, so why not do the same with Kos? He certainly has some of the qualities. Having said that, think the same could apply to TV5. If we are to assume TV and Per are our first choice, surely a player as good as Kos, and one who reportedly resisted Barca’s interest to sign an extension with us deserves a lot of game time. Agree with your assessment of Monreal, sounds like he is class, Gibbs can learn a lot from him. But, if Gibbs had to get injured, I am glad it was before the transfer deadline, I do wonder if the club may have left Monreal until the summer otherwise, with possibly dire consequences. As for our other LB, would like to see Santos used further forward as an impact sub…he will do damage in such a role, may get his confidence and maybe the support of some fans back if he does well. But never a defender!

  • avatar Richard

    Aw has a history of playing players out of position so why not.
    As for the previous comment re Santos, I personally wouldn’t even let him hand out the oranges at half time!

  • avatar nkusuny

    Good post! But Arsene is good at converting players in different position, if koscielny is good at Dm role Wenger would have used him before now.

  • avatar halithriz

    I couldn’t agree more, well pointed out mate.

  • I have thought Kos would make a great defensive midfielder, and I think from memory that was where he started in France.
    I agree, that such a system would also give more attacking potential from the fullbacks.

  • avatar nachiketa

    Come on lads… santos is crucial to our CL chances this season. let us not discourage him before the battle. all of us have our concerns about him but lets