It has often been said of Arsenal under Arsene Wenger that we are all about the creative, passing and attacking side of the game, with the defending part of football often left to its own devices and seen as a necessary evil. The signing of players like Sebastien `the squid` Squillaci and Andre `the donkey` Santos are two compelling pieces of evidence to support this.
And our defence last season was one of the main reasons why the Gunners managed to spend a lot more time on top of the Premier League table than any of our rivals, although we were not there when it mattered. People have been talking about why we have been so leaky at the back and of course, injury problems have played a big part, but a Metro report suggests that the answer is much simpler than that, just two words, Laurent Koscielny. It is not just his defending though, as he seems to make those around him play better, especially Mertesacker who looks like a lost giraffe without the Frenchman next to him.
Of course the Gunners need to be scoring goals at the other end, but our new star striker Alexis Sanchez seems to have solved that problem. So as long as we can be solid in defence, Arsenal should be a serious threat to anyone. And the stats show that Koscielny makes a huge difference to our defence. In fact they are jaw dropping.
Since August 2013 Arsenal have played 58 Premier League games and Koscielny has completed just 37 of them, missing 10 of the 21 this season. Without the Frenchman, our goals conceded rises from 0.7 to 1.9 per game, our clean sheet percentage drops from 51 to 14 and our points per game drops from 2.27 to 1.33. Arsenal won 70 percent of games Koscielny completed and a measly 33 percent without him.
To put things in perspective, using those figures, without Kos Arsenal would finish this season with 58 or 59 points and with him we would gain 74 or 75. Last season that would have meant the difference between 4th spot and the Champions League and 8th spot, behind Man United and out of Europe altogether.
So is Koscielny just as vital to Arsenal success as the star man from Chile?