Arsenal’s Laurent Koscielny now one of Arsene Wenger’s key men
Sharethematch.com takes a look at Laurent Koscielny's successful second season in the Premier League with Arsenal
Two positions where Arsene Wenger struggles to buy quality additions for his Arsenal squad are at centre-half and in goal.
Every manager has their Achilles’ heel – Sir Alex Ferguson has always faltered when signing goalkeepers, while various Chelsea managers have thrown money at their full-back situation.
When Wenger signed Laurent Koscielny in 2010, it was not an impressive signing – the Frenchman had only played one full season of top-flight football in his homeland and he was rightly dismissed at Anfield on his debut.
Although obviously brave and eager to learn, he seemed too weak in the challenge and was often rolled off the ball by bigger, old-fashioned English strikers.
Andy Carroll, then of Newcastle United, flourished against Koscielny during a 1-0 win for the Magpies at the Emirates for instance.
But Koscielny bulked up over the duration of last summer and he returned a stronger defender – more combative and competitive than he had been previously.
While every other defender at the club suffered an injury hit season, Koscielny was a near ever-present, initially forming a strong partnership with new arrival Per Mertesacker and then Thomas Vermaelen in the latter half of the season.
During his second campaign at the club Koscielny played 42 games – 77.8 per cent of the total – more than any other defender at Arsenal.
He appeared in all four competitions – 33 games in the league, six in the Champions League, two in the FA Cup and once in the Carling Cup – while in 29 of the games Koscielny played, Arsenal conceded no more than one goal, including 15 clean sheets.
Koscielny was on the pitch for a total of 3,630 minutes – 60 and a half hours – and Arsenal conceded once every 75.63 minutes on average with him in the side.
This compares favourably to once every 64.74 minutes without him in the team.
So, it appears Wenger was right to sign the Frenchman and it seems as though he’s getting better and better.
If he can stay fit, Koscielny will be key again for Arsenal next season – remember he did ultimately score the winning goal at West Bromich Albion on the last day of the season to deliver Champions League football.