How Laurent Koscielny has fared for Arsenal this season? by SE
Laurent Koscielny is enjoying a pretty mixed season by his standards, committing defensive errors in crucial moments of a game and not being composed enough under pressure. Of late, however, the central defender has looked assured and been in a very good defensive form that has helped David Ospina and Arsenal keep 4 clean sheets in their last 10 games across all competitions. Over the course of this season, how good has the Frenchman been for the Gunners?
Koscielny has not been prolific in his tackling this season, when he has won just 43% of his 40 attempted tackles in 20 Premier League appearances. One such tackle was of that on Eden Hazard, who won the penalty and then converted it, during Arsenal’s visit to Stamford Bridge late last year. In the UEFA Champions League, though, his tackling has been way better. Koscielny has attempted 13 tackles in 6 Champions League games, winning 8 of them and particularly doing well in the 2nd leg of Arsenal’s R-16 tie against AS Monaco.
It is quite obvious from Koscielny’s defensive game that he loves a tackle and backs himself to win the ball back upon lunging in, but he has had little tackle success this season. The only inference we could take away from those stats is that Per Mertesacker, who has been woefully out of form this season following Germany’s successful World Cup campaign, has not helped his central defensive partner’s cause by being too slow and getting caught out of position too easily, forcing Koscielny into making that last-ditch effort to save his side from conceding.
The 29-year old Frenchman has, however, been prolific in winning aerial duels. In the Champions League, Koscielny has won 14 of his 22 attempted duels and in the Premier League: the 6’1″ defender has enjoyed 56% success in 109 aerial duels. 2 of Koscielny’s 3 Premier League goals have been headed ones too, which shows the Frenchman’s aerial prowess despite not being that tall a defender. His goal against Crystal Palace on the opening day of the season was mighty pivotal, as it triggered a come-from-behind victory for the North Londoners.
Koscielny has also committed 16 fouls in 20 Premier League games, 4 of which have resulted in yellow cards. In terms of averting danger, the Frenchman has averaged 6 clearances and 4 interceptions per game, both in the Champions League as well as in the Premier League. The Frenchman has improved his form from the early phases of this season, when he predominantly played alongside Mertesacker or Calum Chambers, and didn’t have the kind of support he would have hoped for. Maybe, with Gabriel Paulista coming into the Arsenal setup during the January transfer window, Koscielny finally has a defensive partner who could bring the best out of him and not make him play the ‘sweeper’ role as often as he has had to while playing alongside Mertesacker.