The gunners won their first points of the Emery era yesterday against West Ham. They ran out 3-1 winners, however the defence seemed well below average. Bellerin was poor, letting Antonio and Masuaku run down his flank easily, both Sokratis and Mustafi in the long term absence of captain Laurent Koscielny lacked the pace against the likes of Felipe Anderson and Arnautović, entire back line was truly at fault and if it weren’t for the wastefulness of the hammers we could have well been out of the match by the first half only.
The hammers created a ton of chances but failed to score easy and comfortable chances any ‘big 6’ team would easily have scored and if it were somebody we could easily have been 3-4 goals down by the first half.
— Webster Mwangi™ (@Webmeister5000) August 25, 2018
Every cloud has a silver lining and so does this for Arsenal. Arsenal Captain Laurent Koscielny is back in training after repturing his Achilles Tendon in the 12th minute of Arsenal’s 1-0 defeat to Atletico Madrid back in May. The Arsenal captain was originally not expected to return to training until December but has already joined up with his club team-mates a week ago and now looks even set to feature as early as the next month already.
Conceding 6 goals in 3 games simply showcases the need of Kos the Boss back in the team. His pace and leadership is what the gunners defense need and Speaking on his injury progress lets look at what Emery has to say:
“He’s working very hard. First he was in France. He came back to us last Sunday. We are happy to have him here with us because he’s our captain and he’s showing us his spirit to stay with us. We need to be patient with him because the injury was an important injury. It’s clear that it’s very important to stay with us, working here and showing us that he wants to help us.”
Asked when the 32-year-old will be available for selection,
“It is difficult to know. You look at this morning, he is running and he is working on the pitch. The progress is very good.”
His progress speaks a million words. He certainly has been working extremely hard to get back to training, that too 3 months earlier than expected. Missing out on lifting the World Cup has encouraged Laurent to a quick recovery. However, news reports tell us that it would take another month or 2 for Laurent Koscielny to get back to his prime.
Patience is the key to Koscielny’s injury and as Emery mentions it was an ‘important injury’, hence playing him before he is 100% fit may quite easily lead to another injury or further aggravation.
The confidence and stability that Laurent Koscielny will bring to the defense once he is fit would be immense. Although Sokratis is a mature defender and less error prone than Mustafi, he is new to the premier league and would naturally take time to adapt. He needs a player like Laurent Koscielny with him to teach him by example things no one in the team could other wise could.
While Laurent Koscielny and Mustafi have worked together and have provided positive results in few games, the majority of the matches have been poor and guilt laden for whatever reason they may have been. Initially what had seemed like a match made in heaven seemed completely ill suited by the end of the season either due to Laurent Koscielny s failing health and age or due to the wonderful sense of positioning and all natural ability of Mustafi to conjure clinical mistakes right out of the blue.
So while Laurent Koscielny maybe still the potentially best center back that Arsenal have to offer, rushing him out of injury or even considering playing him in the next month or so might prove to be as fatal as seeing his career ending on a sour note with another season ending injury. After seeing first hand from Santi and Per and Arteta what injury and its after effect can do to players on the wrong side of 30, we very well know how important it is to err with caution with players struggling with long term injuries.
Laurent Koscielny simply has too much to offer despite being 32 and is quite frankly too important to lose with another fatal injury which might even force him to call it a day. The present team with its centre backs under Unai Emery really need the spirit and leadership that someone like Laurent Koscielny brings to the table so him even being in the dressing room with the players during the trainings or half time talks is invaluable.
For now, I would love to see Mavropanos pair with Sokratis at the back. The greek defenders have spent time in training for the past 2 months and must have developed some sort of chemistry already and if last season showings are anything to go by its clear that with due experience and proper focusses growth he has exactly what it takes to struggle it out in the Premier League for Arsenal.
Although Mavropanos isn’t the fastest , playing with his national team captain could just spark him to play better. Playing well for Arsenal, would most likely mean more chances to represent his National team Greece which should serve as perfect motivation for Mavropanos to prove his worth in training and grind out his first team place.
For the time being Unai Emery must experiment with his back four to provide the fans with the best defense in the coming future till the time that our very own captain takes to the pitch and leads the line himself.
So even if we don’t see Laurent Koscielny playing for the gunners in the next 6-8 weeks, his progress is a big positive and probably an even more important deal than Arsenal winning out cheaply against West Ham. Next up we move on to Cardiff next week, in a must win away game for the gunners.