Koscielny – To Play or Not To Play, And Some Transfer Buzz
Gooners everywhere, hello.
There seems to be some good news regarding Laurent Koscielny this morning, with the Daily Star claiming that the French defender will be ready to face Queens Park Rangers at the weekend. Of course, there’s still no official statement from Arsenal, so this may be just speculation.
And talking of speculation, there’s also a theory that even if fit, the Frenchman may not play at Loftus Road. This has to do with the fact that Laurent is on 9 yellow cards, just a booking away from earning a 2 match suspension.
MickTheGooner believes we should always play our best available team for every match. And if injury or suspension strikes, then draft in from the bench. This is what happened at home to Aston Villa, when Johan Djourou was called up at the last minute to play alongside Thomas Vermaelen.
In normal circumstances, I would certainly agree with that. In this case though, let’s take a closer look at the various scenarios.
If Koscielny plays against QPR and does not earn a booking, he’ll be available for the next match against City. If he plays and gets carded though, he will miss the City game at home and Wolves away.
On the other hand, if Koscielny does not play at QPR, he will be eligible to play against City. And if the defender gets a yellow against City, he’d miss Wolves away and Wigan at home, but still be available for Chelsea at home.
In the best case scenario, if Kos does not play at QPR and does not get a card against City, he will have effectively earned a supsension on his 9 yellows and will then have to accumulated a total of 15 yellows before earning a suspension. Considering there will only be 6 matches left after the City game, it effectively means our best defender this season would be eligible to play the rest of Arsenal’s matches in this campaign.
So the question is, would you rather Laurent Koscielny played at QPR and risked missing the City and Wolves games, or would you rather play Djourou at QPR instead and definitely have the Kos for the City and Chelsea games, and maybe for the Wolves and Wigan ones too?
For me, it’s a no-brainer. Manchester City will certainly pose a much bigger threat to our defense than Aston Villa did or QPR might. I would play our best defenders against the team with the second highest goals in the league. And if that means protecting one of them from a misjudged tackle, an over-enthusiastic referee or one Joey Barton, I would certainly do that.
In transfer news, the Lukas Podolski deal is likely to be confirmed next week. Arsene Wenger, usually very discreet in these matters, has admitted he would prefer to see any deal done as quickly as possible. German legend Franz Beckenbauer also urged Podolski to make the switch to the Emirates, believing it is the right move for him.
Elsewhere, we are being linked to Rennes holding midfilder Yann M’Vila. Jeremy Wilson feels Arsene Wenger wants experienced cover for the outstanding Alex Song.
I am not so sure about this, Emmanuel Frimpong and especially Francis Coquelin have both looked talented enough to fill this position next season. However, both are long term absentees with Frimpong out for the season with another knee injury and Coquelin still recovering from a hamstring problem sustained at Sunderland in mid-February.
Unlike the search for a striker, I believe Arsene will not rush to bring in a defensive midfielder just yet. He may even choose to wait until pre-season to judge whether the youngsters are ready to make the step up to regular first team football, and only then look for replacements outside the club.
That’s all for today. Same place tomorrow.