Did Arsenal fans write off Koscielny a little too quickly?

Was Koscielny’s Demise Exaggerated? by Dan Smith

There’s a lot that divides us Gooners at the moment. Is Iwobi good enough? Should Ozil be sold? But on the basis of the Chelsea game have some been a bit quick to write off Koscielny?

Returning from a 9-month injury which threatened his career, perhaps we were too worried about our defensive issues to sympathise for a man who has been a great servant for the club. Ideally, he would have been nursed back slowly through cup ties, and there is no way that Emery planned to throw him back into action during the Christmas period. From that point of view, the Frenchman was let down by his team-mates injuries, his return coinciding with our other centre-backs struggling with fitness.

At a time when he had to fix himself mentally as well as physically (he missed out on winning the World Cup) he was being asked to lead a back 4/5 with low confidence. Were we expecting too much? Were we harsh to not be more patient?

This weekend he produced a real captain’s performance. It’s no coincidence that it came on an evening that we went back to basics. Once we went 2-0 up, we tactically chose to protect our lead. It was a role reversal from how this fixture usually goes. Chelsea for once were the ones with all the possession but zero end product, us the well organised machine who never looked like conceding. I’m not sure we would have done that without our skipper.

It was nice to see the gunners enjoy the art of defending, throwing bodies in the way, getting their heads to things, etc. It gives Emery something to build on, and if the Spaniard is smart, he will give this centre back pairing a run of games to form a partnership. It shouldn’t be underestimated how much a clean sheet could be the kick start we need for the second half of the campaign.

It doesn’t change that we need investment in that area. Even before Laurent was stretched off in Madrid, his Achilles issues meant he couldn’t play twice a week, his minutes will still need to be managed. Yet the idea he can’t offer anything anymore and his past his best, is perhaps premature?

I am sorry for doubting you, Captain Koscielny.

Dan Smith


  1. gotanidea says:

    One good performance after a series of bad ones (that started even before his injury) does not change what I think about his capabilities

    I thought he was going to make another error again last night, but he proved that he is no pushover if he is fully focused and supported by the midfielders/ attackers in front of him

    But he has declined overall and should be replaced by a younger, quicker and taller CB next season

    1. Pat says:

      Gotanidea, our whole defence has been rubbish for many games now. We were still vulnerable but Chelsea were completely out of balance, no central striker and it was easy to take hazard out because he had too much to do. We haven’t been at par when other teams give a real go at our defence.

      1. ken1945 says:

        Pat, good point about the Chelsea striker.. what striker?
        My points further down was a general overview of the man and his goal reminded me of the space he found in the cup final when we beat Hull.
        Once you’ve got it, the only thing that takes it away is time and that hasn’t caught up with him yet.
        A marvellous signing and a real gooner, never had his head turned by other clubs.

      2. gotanidea says:

        Chelsea’s tridente were starving for supplies last night, because Aubameyang, Lacazette, Torreira and Guendouzi strived hard to harass Chelsea’s midfielders and defenders

        But I agree that our defence needs an upgrade. Hopefully the young CBs can take over soon

    2. kev says:

      The annoying this is he’s not our worst CB despite even having declined so much and if I consider defensive skills alone he’s still superior to all his competitors in the team.We need a new CB regardless of whether he stays or goes.I’d have kept him and sold some of the others.

  2. Pat says:

    Hey hey captain. Love him to bits and I will never write anyone off. Even my best player and current bench warmer Ozil. Yesterday’s game was good but am not excited about the football club, or Emery’s ideas until I see a major shit in events.

    1. ozziegunner says:

      Emery is doing pretty well with the resources he has available.

      1. ozziegunner says:

        And I’m sure you mean “shift”.

  3. Break-on-through says:

    Maybe, hopefully yes but it is hard to say. When everyone is on song like that, it makes a difference, the CB’s weren’t exposed so easily. But the positioning is what surprised me from Kos, always felt he relied heavily on his pace and agility. In the right place like that so often is a difficult trick, he read the game very well. Maybe people are right and the old Arsenal didn’t have enough tactics or instruction and it made them look worse at times. That performance by Kos, then we had Merts FA cup heroics, if the others keep working like that then you’d have to imagine that our defensive issues would improve. I hope to see that stuff more frequently, not just a now and then thing, because things would get allot better very soon if they could keep that going.

    As for Kos, he’s lost some of his agility, I don’t know if it’s because he’s only back or what. But he had to be reading things a step ahead yesterday because his pace and agility aren’t what they used to be. He’s at the end of his career, I don’t expect him to be here next season. This season we can use him definitely, but we need to be careful with him, he won’t be able to play regularly.

    1. kev says:

      DONE DEAL!!!
      Dennis Suarez will be a gunner.The agreement has been reached and it will be a six month loan with an option to buy at £18m.Only medical left now.

      1. Break-on-through says:

        Missed your post Kev, it’s a late reply, but thanks for the news. I hope he works out how Emery envisions it, don’t know anything about him myself, but as ever, my hopes are high.

  4. ken1945 says:

    Dan, I’m glad your final sentence actually stated that it was you who doubted him.
    I see Kos continuing for quite a while yet.
    It was idiotic to expect him to come back after a nine month career threatening injury añd perform to his high level with a makeshift defence around him.
    To many “experts” on here, belittle our players.
    Remember the calls for Bellerin to be sold, Holding to be shipped out etc etc??
    Just managed to see the goals and the space Kos made for himself for the second goal was excellent.
    As for Lacs goal, poetry in motion, as good as any Henry goal in my opinion….the perfect goalscorer.

    1. Trudeau says:

      That was going to be my point. Arsenal fans by and large are too quick to write off almost all our players after a few poor performances. I think it’s in our DNA.

    2. Durand says:

      Well said Ken. That Laca goal was absolutely sublime. Perfect touch, control, and composure. Then to calmly fire it near post past goalie was class. Like him better than Auba because he brings more in my opinion.

      He works hard for team, presses, and his assists show he’s more than just a goal scorer. Love that guy more with every game.

      Love the treatment of Giroud by the crowd, just classy. Still rather have Auba and Laca tho, but nice appreciation shown to a loyal player for our club.

      Gone but not forgotten, also love Giroud saying if he scored he would not celebrate. All reasons why fans singing for a player in other teams colors.

      That’s why I love Arsenal; simply pure and respectful, appreciative, and returning the love a player has shown the club.

      1. ks-gunner says:

        You are calling the crows respectful and appreciative i call them foolish and to over emotional.

        1. You dont cheer a player on while he can join the game and hurt you bad. After the game no problem, during the game absolute joke of a crowd.

        2. Also, you dont boo your manager while he tries to do his best. It builds up pressure and can influence his game plan for the worst. After the game yes, during the game absolute joke of a crowd.

      2. ken1945 says:

        Durand, hope all is well.
        You have highlighted three massive points.

        1. Kos…will be a hero one minute añd then someone will remember who signed him and he will be dross and weedy!!

        2. Lacs…this man is becoming awesome in my opinion. Haven’t seen the full game, but he is so quick with the ball at his feet and his work rate is incredible.
        Rate him much higher than Aba and should be first choice
        3. Giroud… again haven’t seen the reception given, but doesn’t that sum up the supporters lucky enough to be there? As Phil has often said, if you attend the game, rather than staying away, you can voice your feelings centre stage as it were.
        I would love to see him back with us as the way he plays fits into UEs philosophy, but more importantly, gives us a plan b.
        Losing both him and Welbeck was like losing siamese twins and we haven’t replaced either.

  5. Durand says:

    Kos has been poor for many many games and clearly in decline. He had a fantastic game yesterday, but that doesn’t mean he’s all sorted.

    If he’s poor against Utd on Friday will he be garbage again?

    I’m hoping between Kos, Sokratis, and Mustafi we can get through the Holding injury. I believe that with his run of games Holding was our best CB closely followed by Sokratis.

    Hoping Emery gives Mavro a chance, and going forward I’d love to see what a Holding / Mavro pairing could do. Holding reads game well and good positioning, while Mavro is the more aggressive and physical of the 2.

    1. jon fox says:

      Thank God for Durand and his constant sensible, perspective full and truthful posts! What irratates me so much that I am not on here as much as I have been is the constant droves of fans who fool themselves. If it is not refs being biased against us, as some foolishly and CONSTANTLY claim – and talk about paranoia – it is backing up lazy players or ones who have not produced more than once in a blue moon and STILL expecting them to come good. Kos was our best player yesterday and was rightly awarded MotM by Sky. But he is clearly way over the hill and ONE good game playing against a team without a striker( til Giroud came on) is untypical of what we can expect in other games. Yet, despite this, some are now saying he, Kos, is as good as ever. He was clearly in decline even before his injury. Many things are opinion but others are facts, though some will refuse to see those facts. That Ozil is lazy for example. Why make excuses, just because they will not face that truth?

      1. Kenny Rolfe says:

        Jon, admittedly he’ll never be the Kos of old but when comparing him with Mustafi, Sokratis and the joke Xhaka, when he’s played at the back, to me is a no brainer. Prefer Kos any day. Just hope he can stay fit until we either buy or produce better.

        1. jon fox says:

          Yes Kenny, I too wish he stays fit all the time, as I also wish for ALL our players(and for NONE of all our rivals). As our “beloved” owner is intent on spending NO real money on our team, Kos may well be still playing in a wheelchair 50 years from now. Along with all the others too. At his peak he was a different class to all our other CB’s since Campbell but he is not now, despite yesterdays great perf.

          1. Kenny Rolfe says:

            Fair comment Jon, also hope you see my apology to Andy Murray and yourself on a previous post

            1. jon fox says:

              As if I would let a mere tennis player come between friends, Kenny. TBH, I always admire sportspeople who have fight, courage, who live right, have fierce grit to give their utmost, even if they are direct opponents(though that does NOT extend to hoping they win, OBVIOUSLY). This life principle is why I found the weed Walcott so pathetic and also why I flatly refuse to make excuses for Ozils clear weak character and lack of fight, even though his natural talent is sublime. Talent without real grit, at top level anyway, is next to useless. Some just refuse to see that truth. I do not fail to see it though, hence my admiration of Murray.

      2. youarenotthemanager says:

        The only thing I remember about this Jon Fox kid is that he kept crying about Bellerin and insist that any sensible manager would pick Lichtsteiner ahead of Bellerin. The fact proved otherwise. Please don’t comment like you know how the players train everyday.

        1. jon fox says:

          This kid is 68. That presumably makes you a foetus!

      3. Durand says:

        Jon you and I agree on many things. I dare say it’s because we opt for logic and reason above emotion and preferences. I love Kos, but he’s not the player he was several years ago. I’d like to see Mavro get time now as he’s our future, whereas Kos is our past.

        I feel same about Iwobi. He is a valuable rotation player, but not starter material. He will more than likely be competing against Nelson, Saka, and ESR for a rotation spot next year rather than starting.

        It’s not bashing him, just an honest assessment of his very very slow development over several years. I think Nelson and Saka have brighter future at Arsenal and more talent currently. However, I’ll keep Iwobi b/c he is good sub and rotation player and has shown when on form he can influence a game.

        I don’t care his heritage, color, or anything except quality and consistency.

        1. jon fox says:

          Again , total agreement! Are we twins separated at birth do you think!

  6. Eddie Hoyte says:

    Gotta admit I was worried when i saw his name over Mustafi’s. Mustafi ain’t everyone’s favorite, but he has his moments too.
    Kos turned up and played well, got tired during the second half but he kept pushing. Big ups to him and a perfect example for some of our players.

    I hope they find consistency though, the biggest test coming up front for the league games is playing City, If Arsenal should maybe manage yo pull a win, then they should be able to give Chelsea a run for their money and take other teams serious..
    That’s why I ain’t celebrating yet, or getting too excited, the performance was fine, but the job is far from done.
    The points they picked yesterday shouldn’t be given to City no matter what

    1. RSH says:

      Yup, it’s all for nothing if we find no consistency. After Spurs win we started dropping points and it felt like all for nothing. I really hope we can get at least one player in this Jan to give this squad a bit of a boost. I still feel like we are in a position to drop more points than Chelsea and United despite their own struggles.

  7. ks-gunner says:

    We are in no poz to write players off whatsoever knowing that our team is very small. We need players as we are stuck with Mesut and some other leeches while we cant buy nothing right now.

    I strongly believe that we have a big shoot in the uefa league coz emery is a derby man. When it comes to big matches the man performs. To be successful in the league though a manager needs to have a big variety of players and that we dont have.

  8. Kenny Rolfe says:

    Yes, definitely Dan, after such a long absence too many sheep on these pages wrote him off. As soon as someone mentions he’s finished then everybody seemed to follow suit, even some after just one game back. I’m not going to go as far to say, it’s the Koscielny of old, but a massive improvement to any other central defender we have. Just to add off topic, did anyone see that diver Salah against Palace last night, what a disgrace, tried the exact same dive as he did against Arsenal. Fortunately they had a half decent referee who saw through it but still never booked him for cheating unlike the dreadful cheat Michael Oliver who chose typically to point to the spot against us. When is something going to be done about this blatant diving? Trouble in this case, it’s Liverpool, the media’s favourite side with the fans that are never blamed for anything. No doubt former referee Dermot Gallagher will clear him of any blame on Monday’s “Ref Watch” with the same old words, “there was a little contact”. Disgraceful, ban them for a minimum of four games.and fine them all their wages in that period.

    1. Kenny Rolfe says:

      The 3 worst divers in the Premier League: NO 1 Salah
      NO 2 Hazard
      NO 3 Sterling

      1. ks-gunner says:

        Son and his spurs pals as well.

        1. Kenny Rolfe says:

          Good shout ks-gunner

      2. Efe Iteire says:

        What about Kane,?

        1. Kenny Rolfe says:

          Another good shout Efe, Danny Rose as well.

  9. Sue says:

    How gross is Man City’s kit?!

    1. Sue says:

      Come on Fulham

      1. Declan says:

        Yes Sue, I hope Babel nods one in with his Gooner haircut?

        1. Sue says:

          Llorente will do Declan ?

          1. Kenny Rolfe says:

            It’s amazing listening to Alan Smith commentating on Tottenham games. Every decision their deprived of Smith finds unjust, from Rose diving to fouls against them. It’s a pity he’s never as kind to his former club especially considering they made his name and gave him a good living. With Sky Sports you’ll never hear Merson or Nicholas commentating on an Arsenal game, Thompson on Liverpool or Letissier on Southampton but Sky don’t mind letting Smith do Arsenal games because they know he’ll do them no favours and their happy with that. Sad really, when you think if it wasn’t for Arsenal he’d probably be a nightwatchman or maybe a publican

        2. ACE says:

          If Babel would of spent more time on his
          finishing rather than his hairstyle this week
          Fulhan would have this dusted by half. Lol

          Chambers has been OUTSTANDING so far,
          bossing the middle of the pitch.

          1. ozziegunner says:

            ACE, thanks for the feedback on Chambers.

  10. Declan says:

    Llorente scores……………….for Fulham?

  11. RSH says:

    Kos was pretty poor last season and leading up to this match. So writing him off was not premature because he hasn’t been performing to his standard for quite a while. Glad he performed well yesterday, but it’s the same thing with Ozil, and a lot of our players on our sqaud. One great game doesn’t automatically erase the other dozen games where they struggled.

  12. Kenny Rolfe says:

    Kos has been playing with an achilles injury since 2015, trying to disguise it, doing it for the club. Hopefully it’s all in the past, still our best defender.

    1. ozziegunner says:

      Kenny, you are so right and amazes me how others have so little consideration of Koscielny’s courage to keep playing through injury. I’m sure if it wasn’t for the World Cup and the shortage of CB’s at Arsenal, he would have sought major treatment.
      There is a video on YouTube which details what he went through during his rehabilitation. That sort of determination and commitment augers well for the future. It can be amazing how staring tetirement in the face due to injury can focus the mind.
      Again it should be noted that Emery now has 4 CB’s available, with Holding out long term. Defending requires teamwork, which itself requires consistent selections, something Arsenal haven’t had due to the disruption of injuries.
      Bellerin in his current form is a loss, but Emery has shown faith in his potential replacements. The Chelsea game showed, how the back 4 are assisted by everyone forward putting in a shift in defense. Even Aubameyang tracked back and made some solid tackles. Hopefully Chelsea (and not West Ham) is the model for the remainder of the season.

      1. Kenny Rolfe says:

        Couldn’t agree more OG, when they’ve needed performances most of the time they’ve come through, Liverpool, Tottenham, Chelsea at home, they showed that extra grit. Mostly it’s the small teams where they’ve let their selves down. Also pleased they’ve gone back to a back four.

  13. Sue says:

    Oh ffs Harry W@nks

  14. ForeverGooner says:

    Arsenal fans are fickle and love writing players off and insult even are most loyal and hard working players

    Koscielny May not be World Class anymore but his experience is invaluable

    He just recently came off injury FFS

    1. ozziegunner says:


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