Speaking to the Arsenal Magazine, France international Laurent Koscielny gave his opinion on the season ahead for the Gunners and also highlighted the need for consistency if Arsenal wanted to mount a serious title challenge (via Arsenal.com). The defender also spoke of his immense respect for the Arsenal fans and provided a behind-the-scenes view on how the dressing room has changed over the course of his time at the Emirates.
The 30-year old joined the Gunners in the summer of 2010 and has since gone on to make over 200 appearances for the club, becoming one of the most consistent defenders in the Premier League.
“I’m pretty satisfied with my time here so far,” he said, speaking about his experiences in England.
“I was lucky not to get too many injuries through the years. I’m more mature too and I’m hoping that I’m now considered as a good centre half in the Premier League too.
“I love them [the Arsenal fans]! And I want to thank them again for my new song, which is amazing. I think there’s a lot of respect between the fans and me.”
Having spent over five seasons at the club, Koscielny is now one of the seniormost players at the club, and strives to lead the others by example both on the pitch and in training. The Frenchman, who is also one of the more reserved players in the current squad, revealed that he takes every opportunity to make his point.
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“I think I lead by example on the pitch. The boys also know that if I’m not happy, I will go out at training and put big tackles in,” he continued.
“They know that I am reserved but that I have a temper! Now and again, I speak out. I recall one big talk since 2010. It was two years ago before the FA Cup semi-final against Wigan. I was out injured so I couldn’t play.
I told the squad what I was thinking. I wanted to mobilise everybody. I had a message to get through. It came from my heart and it went down well… I think! Even now, we joke about it sometimes. It was in English as well.
There is no point to talk too much, anyway. It has to be at the right time, for the right thing and the right way too. Sometimes, also, you don’t need to talk. Just a look or a gesture is enough. I’m more like that.”
It is especially important for players like Koscielny to lead the way now, as Arsenal sit near the top of the Premier League table and are set to mount a serious challenge for the Premier League title. Along with the likes of Petr Cech, Kosc will be essential in marshalling an Arsenal defence that has constantly been underestimated by opponents but which will be vital if we are to have any chance of success this season.
Speaking about our chances, the Frenchman was blunt in pointing out that the squad still had some ways to go. He said, “If we can reproduce regularly the first 20 minutes from the Manchester United game, yes we can have the ambition of being champions. But if we play like against Olympiacos, we won’t even finish in the top four.
“We have a good squad, a lot of quality. We need to be consistent, though, to win the league. It’s a marathon. Every weekend, we have tough games.
“We need to have the same desire and ambition in each of them, even if we know we can’t be at our best all the time. But we need to be solid defensively and efficient offensively to win 1-0 when we’re not at our best.”
The Olympiacos game was the low point of our season so far, when we meekly surrendered to an average looking side at home. Since then, the team has rallied and we have turned in some top-quality performances, remaining unbeaten in the League despite injury troubles thinning out an already slim squad.
Koscielny is certainly right in stating that consistency will be crucial if Arsenal are to dream about overtaking Manchester City, but more that consistency it appears that our injury problems are the limiting factor for the team. They have always been our Achilles heel, and only when we are able to field a full strength squad week in and week out will we be truly able to mount a challenge for the Premier League title. Hopefully the international break has allowed some of our players to recover and we can pick up where we left off in the League against West Brom this Saturday.