Koscielny’s Head Will Be Critical For Our Title Challenges

I don’t know much about our new signing Koscielny. There aren’t many videos of him on the internet (perhaps it’s tough to make compilations for unknown defenders). I found only one so far

There aren’t many reliable stats either but I did come across a few interesting ones and they provide some food for thought. According to Opta stats Koscielny topped the French League with 328 clearances and 159 interceptions last season. Not sure what their definitions are for interceptions or clearances but being the best in the League, even if it’s not the toughest league in the world, can’t be all that bad.

This website reckons Koscielny was the best interceptor in the League with 121 interceptions and was fourth best in terms of headed clearances also at 121 (some co-incidence if both numbers are indeed accurate and identical).

There was another site where I read he had 651 clearances or something like that. Not able to find that again but it does seem a bit on the higher side and difficult to believe.

If these numbers are anywhere close to the truth and especially if Koscielny turns out to be an excellent header of the ball then we are sure to have an improvement on last season’s defensive performances.

All our Keepers struggled when they had to come out and claim or punch the ball on a regular basis. It’s easy to blame it on the Goalies but I’m convinced anyone who comes in will face similar problems unless the defence in front starts attacking these balls better.

Even at the World Cup we’ve seen top keepers struggle when they’ve had to come out. Schwarzer flapped and conceded, Neuer flapped and conceded, and the same goes for many others. Most of the defences that looked strong had defenders who consistently won the headers in the penalty area.

During the last season I’d often mentioned our inability to block or clear crosses and set-pieces. I’m really hoping Koscielny will add something to our aerial presence in the box. The compilation video that I’ve linked to doesn’t show that many headers from the penalty box but it does have a fair number of headers all over the field.

In case any of you are familiar with French football and Lorient in particular please share your observations about our latest recruit.

From what I’ve read he’s very good in one-on-one situations and is a very good reader of the game with good positional sense. It certainly corroborates his interceptions stats and I think he will be able to replace Gallas effectively.

What we do need is an improvement on Gallas, especially while dealing with aerial balls into the box and long punts down the middle. I’m not convinced by the argument of one defender dealing with all aerial balls and the other mopping up. In the modern game both have to be equally proficient because the opponents are quick to identify and target weaknesses in a team.  They will start exploiting the inside right or left channels if one of the Center Backs is aerially weak. We’ve seen this time and again over the last few seasons now.

I don’t expect him to be in the Adams/Keown league in his first season but if he comes halfway between our defensive legends and someone like Gallas then we should have a much stronger defence. Considering these details I think Koscielny’s heading abilities are going to be crucial to our title challenges next year.

Can’t wait for the pre-season fixtures to get a first hand look.


14 Responses to Koscielny’s Head Will Be Critical For Our Title Challenges

  1. Lowkey says:

    Lorient is a team that plays deep and defends on the edge of the box, Arsenal is a team that plays high defends closer to the halfway line than the box.

    Lorient is compact and force teams down the middle, Arsenal are loose and allow teams to come at the flanks and middle.

    I’m not convinced, he did well at a modest club, to expect him to make the difference for a big club is folly. €13m for a rookie, and they say they are watching the pennies……..

  2. str8goon says:

    Yea im w/ ya Lowkey…he doesn’t seem like the player we absotlutely need to step in and be a DOMINANT right sided CB. But who knows…did anyone hear of a certain Thomas Vermaelen before last season? I hope this time next year I can be saying this about Laurent Koscielny.

    Gooner4lyf

  3. bc says:

    The figure being quoted is the final figure, it depends on appearances, international caps and trophies won. If Kos makes his international debut next season and makes his 50th appearance at Wembley as we clinch the double or even the treble i will help the club out myself and pay a couple of hundred towards the £10m. Would still like to see us get a big centre half, Hangeland, Cahill, Mertesacker or Diakhate as well as a new keeper and a defensive mid (what ever happened to Matuidi?) Khedira or de Jong and Neuer or Weise would do for me. If Cesc goes would like to see us get Ozil, if Rosicky goes, Joe Cole and if Eduardo goes Hazard or Remy

    • swissgooner says:

      In Djourou, we already have what you are hoping for… and he’s better that Cahill or Hangeland. His sole problem is that he’s already an Arsenal player and people always want new faces (the best players are supposed to be the ones we don’t have… until we get them?)

      Diakhaté (1m84. Not that big, get real.
      Koscielny (1m86),Djourou (at least 1m92).

      New CB this season: Nordtveit (1m86)
      New CB next season: Bartley (at least 1m92 for the moment)
      New CB the season after: Miquel (1m94 for the moment)

      The height issue is being addressed.

      The manager has to take these young players into consideration when he signs new faces. That’s why you would get (for example) a 35+ goal keeper this season. In my view, Sol staying would be the best deal for the club in the defensive departement.

      • DW says:

        I totally agree with you. I don’t live in the UK and I therefore don’t see as much of the youngsters. I do. however, read that Nordveit was a regular in the Bundiseleague last season, so I for one think it’s time for him to make the step up. If we can keep Sol, guy’s like Djourou, Nordveit, Koscielny, have someone who has seen it all and someone they can look up too.

  4. Santori says:

    Hi,

    New to here. Great site.

    Anybody for Lugano?

    He was solid for Uruguay. When he went off, Ghana ripped them to pieces down the middle.

    What’s he with? Fernebache? 29, been round the block.

    Seems to me Wenger wanted a bit of experience. Koscielny isn’t that much older than either Vermaelen or Djourou.

    Personally though I’d prefer to keep Sol. Koscielny (or another CB) may hit the ground running much like Vermaelen or they may need a bit of time to adjust. We should keep Campbell at least for half/one season as an insurance policy.

    In which case if we keep Sol, adding on another dedicated CB might (as pointed out above) restrict the growth potential for some of the up coming academy players.

    Therefore next defensive buy (other than a keeper…Arsene please get us some quality) IMO should be back up for Song.

    • desigunner says:

      Thanks Santori, great to have you here.

      Lugano is a brilliant defender but I’m not sure he will be that effective in an Arsenal style system with 50 yards between him and the keeper.

      Sol brings a lot to the squad but I’m not sure he will stay. I’d certainly prefer if he stays and we get another versatile defender.

  5. Santori says:

    PS : He’s great with his head (Koscielny) but I’d still prefer we get us a top keeper.

    Being neither Vermaelen nor Koscielny are terribly tall, will need someone brave and capable to come out and pick the proverbial fruit off of Crouchy’s head during Derby day.

    Our young back ups need playing time and to be out on loan extensively, much like what Hart was afforded : the ability to make your mistakes (Crucially at others’ expense). One may eventually come good a couple of years down.

    No good us getting someone just slightly better than Al or an old bloke close to retirement. If we’re seriously challenging for the title now, we should get someone on in his way toward his peak (28-36)

  6. Santori says:

    I posted this ‘diatribe’ somewhere-else so to spare you the effort, here’s my thoughts on DM back up or another CB or both.;)

    Koscielny looks a great signing and should be the first choice central pairing with Vermaelen.

    There is every chance that Wenger will prepare him well + seems he has a great work ethic.

    However there is also a good chance he may need a little time to adjust to the PL. Being that Djourou himself is only coming back from injury and has never played extensively alongside Vermaelen, it would be sensible policy to keep Campbell for another season as an experience head (Not to mention he keeps our homegrown quota healthy as mentioned)

    Given that, IF Sol stays on, we should have 4 CB plus Song (in an emergency)

    Therefore it may be more imperative to find that back up DM for Song.

    To my mind, we can go several ways with this :

    1)A no nonsense back up:
    Advantage – he knows his stuff (positioning)
    Disadvantage – Vying for a spot with Song and offers not much going forward.

    De Jong is available but I also like the Ghanaian Annan (Did a tidy little job didn’t he in Essien’s absence?)

    2) A Box to box : Someone mentioned Flamini. I like that idea as Flamini has now been chastened by his experience in Italy + he’s only 25! We know he operates well next to Fab (who will be with us for another season at least) and he affords us the added luxury of going 4-4-2 If need be (Chamakh/RVP up top)
    Disadvantage – I think Flamini has already gone past the egg in his face. It’s more likely that the Gaffer won’t take him back.

    If not Flamini what about Stephen Ireland? He seems equally energetic and a real talent going forward.

    If you sit either of these lads next to Song in a 4-2-3-1, you get solid protection plus one of the defensive pairing offers substantial offensive ability.

    3) As you suggested a DM who can play CB or vice versa. If Sol leaves, perhaps this might be the best option. Vertonghen sounds good.

    4)For want of a better description, a Ball keeper. Given (IF Sol and all current fullbacks stay…which would be best for continuity), we are very full at the back. Adding another fully defensive player may mean long bench time for someone.

    Rather we might perhaps explore someone who has massive ball retention skills to sit alongside Diaby as a two man shield as and when Song is unavailable.

    I personally like Seseegnon @ PSG. He isn’t the biggest but it’s incredibly difficult to take the ball off of him. He can play right across midfield which particularly affords competition to Arsharvin’s alternate (Diaby) or Nasri’s (Walcott).

    Another possible (younger player) to look at is the Ghanaian Kwando Asamoah. Again, he can play across the midfield offering further options.

    5) Finally based on the 2 man covering shield in lieu of Song, what about re-rolling Rosicky? Contrary to stereotypes about his size and fragility, he has been competitive and tenacious all last season.

    Perhaps he is a little slower going forward but he can offer his experience (and more importantly) positioning to complement Diaby’s physicality.

    In which case, the next defensive signing (Assuming Sol is not needed or is not re-signing) could be a straight out and out defender. Wonder how much the Uruguayan Lugano might cost. At 29, he offers a wealth of experience (Bearing in mind Koscielny and Vermaelen are barely 25!)

    *Alternatively if Clichy does get tempted to leave (I doubt it), perhaps the other Uruguayan Martin Caceres?

    Sorry the enthusiasm of being new to the site might have overcome me a little. 😀

    • desigunner says:

      You’ve made some astute observations.

      Even I’m concerned about Djourou as he hasn’t had a full season with us so far. We’ve paid the price of counting on such players in the past. So we definitely need another player in that area.

      De Jong is available? I think he has been brilliant at the WC and was good in the league last year. But he isn’t that versatile that’s the only problem with him.

      I’m not a fan of Flamini or Ireland because they’re not in form at the moment. That means we have to go by their past performances and “hope” that they recover their form.

      The ball keeper is a good idea. I think that’s what Denilson is supposed to do but doesn’t quite pull it off. Alonso would have been great for that role if we’d signed him earlier. I don’t know much about other leagues so am just hoping Arsene will find someone.

      Rosicky is one of my favourite players but he seems to tire towards the end. Maybe he will get better this season if he stays fit. He is essentially a central midfielder and can certainly keep the ball and initiate attacks.

      Thanks for your thoughtful comments. It’s nice to have a observation/detail based discussion.

      • santori says:

        No problem.

        With regards Flamini, Ireland…know what they say about class and form. I’m sure they will rediscover their sense of purpose at our club.

        Denilson to me is simply a waste of space and money right now. He should be only be included IF :

        1) As a temporary cover for Ramsey IF for some reason we can’t find someone better than him

        2) He starts putting them in consistently from long range and set pieces.

        Other than that, he offers nothing defensively.

  7. i love this fkn post!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s