Arsenal were desperately unfortunate not to earn all the three points against Manchester City at the Emirates but the fact that they did not concede a single goal is a boost to their title hopes. Arsenal's problems this season has been at the back where they have been unable to keep it tight and despite the impressive form of Lukasz Fabianski, the Gunners have had lesser clean sheets than they would have liked.
Wenger was hampered by the injury to Thomas Vermaelen and considering the fact that Johan Djourou has recovered from a long term injury, he has had to pair new signings Laurent Koscielny and Sebastien Squillaci in a lot of games. However, the partnership has not worked out well and needed a change. With Djourou slowly regaining his full fitness, he has used Djourou more often and the Swiss International has been immense at the back for the Gunners.
Djourou has received a lot of praise and deserves it for his efforts. After such a long injury, few would have predicted him to be in such excellent form this season and he has shown more maturity this season. But some credit should also be given to Laurent Koscielny who has been one half of a successful defensive partnership in the last few games.
The thin Frenchman has endured a lot of criticism since his move to the Emirates but it is easy to see that the former Lorient man has the talent to be a quality defender. He has improved as the season has gone on and has already established himself ahead of Sebastien Squillaci in the team.
It is clear that Koscielny still has some flaws in his game but he is only in his second season at the highest level. he has been responsible for some of the goals that the Gunners have conceded but has looked assured after the initial shaky performances.
His two red cards and many yellow cards did not help his cause at the start of the season but he seems to have improved and is important to the Gunners this season. There are many supporters who still question his ability but here are five reasons why he can be immense for the Gunners in the future.
1. Tenacity and Brave Attitude
The French defender has been at the end of some very tough challenges right from his first game for Arsenal. But the youngster has not been afraid to step out from challenges; on the contrary, he has displayed doggedness on a number of occasions. Though he has sustained a lot of cuts and bruises in his short career, he has shown the willingness to fight.
2. Excellent Anticipation on One vs. One situations
Though he has been caught out of position at times earlier in the season, he has shown good anticipation in one on one situations. He has been good in spotting danger and clearing the ball. He generally does not lose his calm and does not do something too impulsive. He has shown good ability in these situations and it is important to have such a player at the back.
3. Good Aerial Ability
He has not been dominating at the back and when he played alongside Sebastien Squillaci, the partnership conceded many goals because of their inability to win the aerial duels on some occasions. However though Koscielny has not been outstanding in the air, he has certainly demonstrated that he can win his fair share of headers though he has to improve on the power of his headers.
4. Good Understanding of the game and makes Crucial Interceptions
Koscielny has made some errors that have been costly but he has good understanding of the game and has the ability to make crucial interceptions. In the game against Chelsea, though Djourou was instrumental in not providing any space to Didier Drogba, Koscielny ensured that there was hardly any service to the forward. He has the ability to react quickly and cut out killer passes. He also agressively attacks the ball and sometimes wins the ball in the opposition's half because of that.
5. Technically Good for a Defender
Laurent Koscielny has shown composure on the ball and has adapted well to the Arsenal style of play. He has shown good ability to distribute the ball and bring out the ball from the back. Thomas Vermaelen is very good at this but in his absence, Koscielny has done it quite well and had a very good game with regard to this against Manchester United.
6. Experience will make him better
The French defender has played only one season at top level before being signed by Arsenal. It was a meteoric rise to stardom for the youngster but with experience he will go on to be a better player. It is clear that he plays better alongside Johan Djourou but the return of Thomas Vermaelen will be important for the development of the defender. Vermaelen and Koscielny could form a good strong partnership at the heart of defence and could be rotated with Johan Djourou who has also shown he could be a first choice Centre Back in the near future.