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Arsenal Popularity Stakes – Koscielny Comes In Fourth

So Laurent Koscielny is Arsenal’s fourth-best player this season – or so the fans say. The Frenchman came in one place ahead of Mikel Arteta. Echoing the thoughts of one commenter yesterday, if those two are our fourth and fifth best players then we must have one helluva team.

You’re missing a digit Laurent

Without doubt, Koscielny’s been one of the Premier League’s best defenders this season. While the Frenchman’s ability to intercept and his tackling skills are well acknowleged, the 26-year old also won a league high 1.5 offsides per game (stat courtesy WhoScored.com), which indicates better concentration and decision making. He was also more competitive in duels and read danger much faster.

On Arsenal.com, Laurent spoke about some of the reasons for his improvement this season.

I was in the gym more, that is the first reason [I have been stronger].

I feel better than last year. I know the league, my team and the Club. I think I am better on and off the pitch so for a player, when you feel good with your team-mates, the Club and his family, it is better. I feel very good to help my team and to qualify for the Champions League. I just wanted that for the end of this season.

Following the Carling Cup defeat last year, the former Lorient man was criticized in many quarters and questions were asked if he was good enough for Arsenal. His excellent showing this season is proof that sometimes players just need time to adjust, especially if they are moving from another league. Hopefully, Per Mertesacker can muster a similar advancement next season.

There is still room for improvement for Koscielny though. In my season review of the defense, I highlighted the defender’s weakness in making clearances with his left foot. He conceded a couple of own goals as a result and a bit of work will help the Frenchman become even more formidable. And while different players have different personalities, I also feel he can be a little more vocal on the pitch considering he’s our best defender at present.

In my opinion, Laurent was Arsenal’s second best player this season. Besides my obvious disappointment that he’s come in fourth, I am even more surprised that only 4.3% voted for him. Koscielny narrowly missed out on being named in the PFA team of the year but still features in WhoScored.com’s best eleven of 2011-12 while he’s also been named in France’s Euro squad. His fourth place finish is a clear indication of how defenders get overlooked by fans in the popularity stakes. While the management and coaching staff are derided for not placing enough emphasis on defending, we are equally guilty of overlooking stand-out performers in that area when nominating the season’s best.

I expect two of Alex Song, Bacary Sagna and Tomas Rosicky to come in ahead of Robin van Persie. While I think very highly of the Cameroonian and he’s contributed immensely going forward, I am not convinced he had a better all-round season than Arteta and Koscielny. Bacary Sagna was Mr. Consistent once again but the two broken legs did not allow him to have as much influence on our season as his compatriot. And while Little Mozart has been in great form post-February, he was poor in the first half of the season and hence second choice to Aaron Ramsey for most of the campaign. At this rate though, I would not be surprised if the rookie Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was deemed to be Arsenal’s best player above Robin Van Persie. Stranger things have happened this season.

I guess individual performances in defense will always be overlooked when the team does not perform well as a unit. Hopefully we can sort that out next season and tighten the ship which would aid our back line in getting their due credit.

Elsewhere, transfer rumours dominate, with Nigel de Jong of Manchester City being the latest player linked to us along with another 18-year old wonderkid. Amidst all the speculation, there is a story about Eduardo da Silva not ruling out a move back to the Premier League. While it doesn’t specifically link him to Arsenal and the Croat certainly won’t be a first or even second choice starter at the Emirates, could he, in the twilight of his career, provide the depth in squad we seem to lack? His love for Arsenal is unquestioned and he certainly has unfinished business at the Grove.

I guess the prospect of not playing regularly would weigh heavily on Eduardo’s decision. Still, this is one transfer speculation I am happy to indulge in regardless of the unlikeliness of the outcome.

Until tomorrow.

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15 thoughts on “Arsenal Popularity Stakes – Koscielny Comes In Fourth

  1. Hi, first time commenting here.
    My list would be as follow: 1) RVP, 2) Arteta, 3) Kos, 4) Song, 5) Sagna.

  2. You've been song'd on said:

    I would put Rozza in front of sagna becos he had more impact…you’ll notice that our form improved when his form improved…he kept getting among men of the match since he got back form, and i for one will put koscielny in front of Rvp[i’m sorry if you don’t feel the same way]

  3. Wanduta edwin on said:

    Yeah dats true koscielny has done alot in matter of defence

  4. Bode on said:

    In my own opinion, Van persie first, he did his part complyetly as a striker and cap, Song second, he helped in the attack, Arteta for stability of the team, Kos then Sagna! The defence conceded too much goals this season

    • Davi on said:

      I don’t think we conceded very many when arteta, kos and sagna were all playing. A huge chunk of the goals were let in during the first 8 games or so, when we didn’t really have a team.

  5. Davi on said:

    I have to say, though, for all his detractors (not on this site), Song’s contribution this year in terms of assists is pretty similar to something you’d expect from fabregas, especially if you consider that he doesn’t take FKs or corners, and does contribute much more defensively than Cesc did. He doesn’t dictate the game like fabregas, and didn’t score so many this year, but it’s still an incredible contribution from him, and if people weren’t so stuck in the mindset that he’s supposed to be playing like makelele, they might show him a bit more support. I mean, if Rosicky had numbers like Song, we’d be saying he was one of the top midfielders in Europe! It’s all about perceptions, I think.

  6. 1.RVP 2.Song 3.Kos 4.Arteta 5.Szczesny. Huge players without which or team looks off all season. RVP obviously most reliable player in terms of winning matches with goals; Song’s ever-presence in the midfield gave both defensive shield and attacking threat, while his ‘partner in crime’, Arteta, did the mopping up and hard hitting of long range shots. Szczesny saved us a lot more times when the defense seem lost in the fray- with saves from the West Brom match readily coming to mind.

  7. Lanz on said:

    How come I am just falling in love with your blog? Another balanced and mature post. I guess Sczeczny and Vermaleen are coming up along the way. My order will be RVP, Koz, Song, Arteta & Sczhecny. Whatever happens, it seems what we are about to see is a picture that suggests that our defensive players are actually the more appreciated by the fans in terms of contribution. Yet, everyone goes, “the defence, the defence is bad. With the coming in of Bould, we should have better defensive training, etc.,”, as if the others have done very little work upon the defence. Yet, most of the people on our coaching team have been ex-defenders or defensive players! Wenger, Pat Rice, Banfield, Bould. The other matter has to do with the Nigel De Jong rumour. That guy doesn’t play the Wenger Way and I don’t see AW going for him. Could it be the other De Jong (Ajax) we are looking at?

  8. We need eduardo back

    • pchomo on said:

      Eduardo? No I don’t think so. He may still love Arsenal greatly, but he is not cut out for Arsenal. No, not now.

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