Leadership and defensive composure under question!

FC-Barcelona-v-Arsenal-FC-UEFA-Champions-League-Round-of-16-Second-Leg.jpg

It annoys me when a pundit such as Graham Souness talks about Arsenal. For years he’s been blubbering on about defensive frailties and a lack of leadership at the club. He constantly talks about how Arsenal can never win the league under Mr Wenger.

Over the years I have overlooked his comments as being someone from the ‘Old School’, i.e. someone who was dirty and did not care about the beautiful side of the game. However it is getting harder and harder to ignore such voices.

Everything the Souness spouts on about seems to be right, when the going gets to the toughest Arsenal fold like a pack of cards. Alexis aside there seemed to be no one on that field against Man City who really could, pass, shoot or even run.

The problems stem from Granit Xhaka in midfield, I have never seen such a weak performance, especially from a player who came with a massive reputation. He still has age and time to improve, but he will have to learn very fast.

Behind Xhaka and Coquelen we had our so called captain Koscielny and Gabriel. The later probably could not get into the Sunderland side on current form. Neither player showed any kind of dominance, no leadership and most worrying of all, the ability to string a simple 2 yard pass together.

Koscielny on his day is probably one of the leagues top defenders, but he can also have days where he has an absolute stinker. Yes he does not have Mustafi next to him to help out, but surely for such a good defender he can do better. Is he really the right choice of captain?

It is time Arsenal invested in a leader, he doesn’t have to be better than what we have he just needs to knock a few heads together in times of toughness. Viera, Adams or Keown would have rallied the troops at 1-0 up yesterday, this is something the Koscielny simply can’t do. Even an average player such as James McCarthy would make a difference. He might not be as talented as Coquelen or Xhaka but he surely will bring more in terms of the physical and mental side to the side. Danny Drinkwater is another who comes into this category. Players like these will improve their game, but bring another side to the game.

Ultimately I still truly believe that Arsenal missed a golden opportunity to get Jurgon Klop, this surely will be something we will rue in years to come. Wenger has an important January to come, if he is not wise we will see another battle for fourth.

Koscielny (Enough Said)

Laurent-Koscielny

Does anyone remember the 7th of July 2010? That was the day that we signed the relatively unknown French defender Laurent Koscielny. Although I do not recall the day clearly I do remember my feelings towards the transfer, they were not positive at all.
My thoughts were somewhere along the lines of:

  • He plays in French League 2 – Couldn’t cut it in French League 1
  • He is too skinny to play in the Premier League – He was really thin
  • He is 24 – If he were any good he would have some sort of reputation
  • We paid nearly £9mil for him
  • Wenger’s bad reputation at buying French defenders – Grimandi, Cygan, Squillaci and Sylvestre
  • He took the number 6 shirt previously worn by Senderos

I would like to take this moment to state I was completely wrong at the time. This signing could go down as one of Wenger’s best. The signs were there to see that he was a good player on his debut against Liverpool in the same season. He had a quality match but ruined it by getting sent off.

When we signed Koscielny he joined Vermealen and three of our most hated centre backs that we have ever had at the club: Gallas, Djourou and Squillaci (what a poor defence we must have had).

Personally I feel that Kos has developed so much so that he is now one of the best defenders in the world. The beauty of it is that the people who watch him week in and week out know this, others just don’t bother watching him enough. A reason for this may be that his name is not fashionable, (he is consistent not either spectacular or awful like a Ramos, Luiz or Silva) and that people associate Arsenal with attacking play not for their defending.

His covering tackles cannot be matched by many in football at the moment. Put him next to a player like John Terry or Chiellini and people would be raving about Koscielny.

I am really really excited to see him partnering with Gabriel next season, I think he also his similar potential to what Kos had when we signed him. Watch out for this partnership, coupled with Coquelin (full season) or new DM and Cech. All of a sudden we have a quality back line.

If Real Madrid want he will cost them a good £50mil to buy.

Also just glad that Koscielny being French did not take the cursed number 18 shirt:

Screen Shot 2015-06-27 at 23.07.12