Arsenal’s Laurent Koscielny reveals the key to keeping calm against Chelsea star

Laurent Koscielny says his experience helps him keep calm when being provoked by the opposition

Laurent Koscielny says that his many years of first-team experience helped him to keep calm when confronted by Diego Costa during Arsenal’s 2-0 loss to Chelsea earlier in the season.

The duo grappled before Costa slapped Koscielny in the face with a flailing arm during the Blues 2-0 win over the Gunner at Stamford Bridge back in September.

The incident initially went unseen by referee Mike Dean but Costa was banned for three games retrospectively after the final whistle, with Gabriel Paulista’s red card also being rescinded by the FA.

Koscielny admits that keeping Costa quiet can be a handful, but the Arsenal defender believes that his experience of top-level games stands him in good stead against any opposition.

Koscielny told L’Equipe: “At the moment, when Diego Costa slaps me, I don’t care and I keep playing because we were in a defensive situation.

“Then he pushes me and I fall but I get up immediately because I’m not the kind of player that falls on the ground like that. Of course, I could have had a reaction but I kept calm.

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“When you play against Costa, you know he is really about physical contact, he always wants to drive the defender mad. But you have to stay calm.

“You can be mad at that sort of situation. I rarely went mad even if I had a lot of duels against attackers. But it was always with respect like with Luis Suarez for instance. We were shaking hands in the end and it was over. I feel like you have to be more of a calm person when you grow up

“After the game, I got a lot of messages saying ‘Congrats, if I were in your place I would have punched him’.

“You know, I’ve been five years with Arsenal and I played about 200 games for my team. Some of them were very important. I played a World Cup, a European Championship… all of this contributes to my serenity and is helping to not be overwhelmed with emotions.”

Arsenal return to Premier League action with a trip to West Bromwich Albion after the international break on 21 November.

The Gunners are currently second in the table and level on points with leaders Manchester City.

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