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April 2021

The season’s impression: Kos the Boss

By Walter Broeckx

In this review series of the season where we have talked first about the goalkeeper, then we moved to right back and after a perfect change of wing we went to the left back. Who passed it on to the usually right placed central defender and now we go to the one that usually plays on the left side of the centre: Laurent Koscielny.

He’s the man who, as Tony wrote a few months ago, has enough feeling for his local community to use some of his money to help the local accordion factory near his home town to survive.  He’s also another player that got high up on the list of the player of the year poll on The other half of his PERtnership (yes I meant it that way) ending in second place and Kos ending in third place in this poll.

It says a lot about not just Koscielny but also Per of course. And how highly they are regarded by the fans. And that is not an easy thing to do as a defender. Because usually when polls are made the strikers or the ones that score lots of goals run away with the best places. But last season our defensive duo managed to do better than those who catch the spotlight more often.

As I sometimes am accused of liking to rub noses in it on some occasions I will tell them they are right. So I will remember all those who said at the time of signing Koscielny things like: ‘What? Another unknown French player? Wenger Out!” or ‘What? Another unproven player with only one season at the top under his belt?? Wenger Out!”.

Well you sure must look a bit dumb now. And last season in fact. As both Per and Kos have been used as sticks to try to beat Wenger with. But look at it now…. People already out there claiming this might be the best central defenders pairing in the PL now. And let me agree with this. They sure are the perfect compliment to each other.

Kos a bit heated at times and Per the calming one. Kos who uses speed and thus his legs and Per who uses his head. And they don’t score a lot of goals but they both know when to score important goals. Kos’ goals on the day we can celebrated CL qualification and his equaliser in the FA cup final stand out of course. But Per with his important goal against Tottenham when he headed home after we went behind and his equaliser in the semi final against Wigan.

But scoring isn’t their main job. Preventing the opposition scoring is. And they are rather good at it most of the time. As Arsenal got a lot of clean sheets in the last season so we must know how to defend most of the time.

Koscielny was indeed an unknown player to most of us when we bought him.  I admit I didn’t really knew him at the time. But I must say that he adapted himself to a higher level rather quickly at the time. He came one year later than Per Mertesacker and at first he had to fight against Vermaelen for a starting place.

And despite me having spoken to Vermaelen in person and with his family and being that his front door not that far from where I live myself in Belgium…I can only admit that Koscielny is the better player of the two for the moment to partner Per Mertesacker.

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The only thing Koscielny can improve (well Wenger will probably have a few more things to add to this I guess) is that he has to be a little bit more careful in the penalty area. If he played for any other club he could get away with a lot more but as he plays for Arsenal he has to be very very careful as the slightest contact will be punished by the referees. He must realise that the things most players can get away with are different when he plays for Arsenal.

Now I know that most people including me always talk about Per using his brain more to decide what to do. But I think we should keep in mind that Koscielny also has that in him a bit. But he does it in a more proactive way. In trying to be first on the ball using his speed. Per tries to read the ball and cover the space. Koscielny tries to read the attacker and tries to intercept the pass before it reaches him. A somewhat more risky way of defending because when the striker is first to the ball he might turn the defender around and get away in open space.  But countless are the times that Koscielny was first to the ball and recovering the ball for Arsenal in that way.

To round up the central defenders. Per and Kos form a great partnership. And as a result Vermaelen didn’t have the chance to play a lot last season. I think that for the moment we have 3 great central defenders. What the future will bring is a bit uncertain. Will Vermaelen want to stay or will he want to leave in order to get more playing time? I wouldn’t want to lose Vermaelen as I think he can step in when it is needed. But he surely will be thinking of his own career these days.

When Vermaelen steps in you get a natural left footed central defender and a right footed and that is the most natural and probably most desirable way of having central defenders. But Kos playing that left sided role and you almost never notice the fact that he is not a left footed player. Which is a big compliment. Per cannot play that role that well but if my memory doesn’t let me down I seem to recall him doing it with Sagna on the right central defender spot.  So the Per and Kos can play both sides. Vermaelen usually only the left hand side with Per or Kos to his right.

These 3 give us enough possible and workable combinations for the moment. Let us hope we can keep them all and keep them fit this summer as all 3 of them play in the world cup.

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6 comments to The season’s impression: Kos the Boss

  • colario

    In Bernard Joy’s book ‘Forward Arsenal’ We read how great care was made when inviting a player to come to Arsenal.

    Arsene does the same to the extent we will probably never know unless he includes it that book that we hope one day he will write about his life at Arsenal.

    I suspect that high on the agenda of player assessment is the question ‘Does the player want to learn? or Is he a learner?

    So some unknown comes and he’s is not the star player the AAA and the media think Arsenal should buy so they attack Arsene for not doing what they tell him.

    They seek also to undermine that new player’s confidence. A year or two later they vote for that player as one of the best in the team even in the league!

    Will the anties ever accept the fact that most of us find so inspiring because it is true?

    Arsene knows!

  • Brickfields Gunners

    I’m so glad that AW bought such a player under the noses of the know it alls and at a very reasonable price.
    He has developed into one of the world’s best central defenders and do hope that he has a great WC and be in shape for next season.

  • bjtgooner

    Kos was one of the unknowns who became (yet another) Wenger gem. He has, as Brickfields noted above, become a world class defender and with the BFG has formed a marvelous partnership.

    Kos also has a good attitude on the field – no arguing or histrionics – he gets on with the job – and really seems to enjoy playing for Arsenal.

  • para

    3 more gems that AW had seen and got when the time became right, may he do so again in this transfer window.

  • Dave C

    Koscielny was great from the start. Some people just couldn’t see it. He’d have to cover for a forward roaming Song or Gibbs who was learning the position at the time. Song especially would get caught out, and Koscielny would be the one to blame when he’d have to foul to prevent a goal.

    Koscielny has been my favorite player since he arrived. His quickness and preemptive interceptions are exciting to watch. Not too mention his timely goals the past three years to seal CL football and equalizing in the FA Cup.

  • NW

    Koscielny is simply unbelivable. The skill and speed while still standing against other big players.

    Also, with all that tackle and running, he does not get injured!!! That means he is physically fit and he knows the skill to protect himself.