Tag Archives: Laurent Koscielny

How will Unai Emery solve Arsenal defensive puzzle?

Unai Emery is facing a defensive puzzle.

With Rob Holding out for the season, yellow cards to both Sokratis and Shkodran Mustafi against Huddersfield means both are suspended for the game at Southampton on Sunday.

Not only does this give the Spaniard a headache for the Premier League match, but also disrupts his planning for the visit of Qarabag in the Europa League on Thursday.

Thursday’s game would have been used to give Laurent Koscielny and Nacho Monreal a run out. Get 90 minutes of senior football under their belts after long lay offs.

Koscielny would have most certainly started at centre back, with Monreal at left back. The problem now for Arsenal is that with Sokratis and Mustafi now out, the pair are now likely to be our central defensive partnership against Southampton.

So what does this mean for Thursday?

Does Emery continue with the rehabilitation of Monreal and Koscielny by giving them 90 minutes against Qarabagm hope they both get through and hope recover quickly enough for Southampton at Sunday lunch time?

Or does he play Sokratis and Mustafi (injury permitting) against Qarabag, keeping Koscielny and Monreal out of danger for Sunday.

The fear will be against Qarabag, the one of either Koscielny or Monreal picks up a little niggle ruling them out of Sunday. This is highly likely. Small injuries often occur after a long lay off. And even if they do both get through unscathed, are either yet fully fit enough to play 90 minutes twice in less than 3 days?

Arsenal were already without first choice U23 pairing Daniel Ballard and Julio Pleguezuelo, as well as Kostadinos Mavropanos. This would mean that if either Koscielny or Monreal were to not fit for Sunday, either 18-year-old Zech Medly would start, or Arsenal would have to move either Stephan Lichtsteiner or Granit Xhaka into the back four.

Logic dictates that you do not involved Koscielny or Monreal against Qarabag. It would also make sense to not play Sokratis if Mustafi’s hamstring injury is to rule him out of further games.

So Medley and Big Carl Jenkinson it is then/

Keenos

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Out of the EFL trophy, Laurent Koscielny injured & Jack Wilshere woes continue

Disappointed to see the lads drop out of the EFL Trophy last night.

Whilst I am against academy sides being in the lower league competition, I can see the benefits of getting to see youngsters play against senior players.

Losing 2-1 against Portsmouth is not a bad result. They are flying high in League One this season – having lost just a single league game.

The side Arsenal put was very much a second string youth side, missing the likes of Eddie Nketiah, Emile Smith Rowe, Joe Willock, Julio Pleguezuelo, Ben Sheaf and Xavier Amaechi.

The side contained 7 teenagers, and once you remove Laurent Koscielny – who hobbled off injured, the average age was just 19.

Promotions to the first team of Smith Rowe, Nketiah and Willock meant that a whole host of U18 players were then called up. This then weakened the U18 team, who as a consequence lost 2-1 to Everton.

With 16-year-old Karl Hein on the bench, the squad that travelled down to the South Coast to face Portsmouth had 10 players who were still eligible to be playing in the U18s.

Having seen a dozen youth team graduates make the trip to Ukraine last week, the academy is in a very strong position, with many players performing above their age group.

On Koscielny, it is concerning that he limped off last night.

Following a 45 minute cameo against Derby for the U23s last week, he played 85 minutes last night. It was a step up in his recovery process, with the target being to return to the first team against Qarabag next week in the Europa League dead rubber.

It is not yet clear whether he was taken off as a precaution, or whether he has tweaked something more serious.

At 33-years-old, your body does recover slower and is more susceptible to niggling injuries during recovery. If this turns out to be something more serious, it could be the end of his Arsenal career.

On injuries, it was announced earlier this week that Jack Wilshere has picked up yet another ankle injury just as he returned to first team action following an injury to his other ankle.

Wilshere had missed West Ham‘s last nine Premier League matches due to an ankle injury before making his comeback last Saturday against Newcastle.

After playing only five minutes against Newcastle on the weekend, he had to be rested for the Cardiff game because of an ankle pain.

This season he has appeared for West Ham just 5 times – starting 4 games and playing 339 minutes.

When Arsenal fans announced he was to be let go on a free transfer, a lot of fans responded in anger. Wilshere’s continuation of a poor injury record justifies Arsenal’s decision.

The decision to let Wilshere go is ever more supported in hindsight with the development of Matteo Guendouzi.

Had 26-year-old Wilshere played, he would have taken minutes away from the teenage Frenchman.

19-year-old Guendouzi has started 12 games this season and the extra play time has sped up his development.

Wilshere is the teenage star of yesteryear. Guendouzi is the teenage start of today.

Keenos

Laurent Koscielny, Miguel Almiron & the UEFA Nations League

Laurent Koscielny

Yesterday Laurent Koscielny announced that he was retiring from international football. It did not exactly come as a surprise.

The 33-year missed out on a World Cup winners medal this summer and admitted that it was hard to see his team-mates lift the trophy in Moscow.

It seems Koscielny’s decision was driven by a lack of communication from French manager Didier Deschamps.

The Frenchman picked up an Achilles injury back in May, hobbling off after 12 minutes in the Europa League semi-final against Atletico Madrid.

Koscielny claims that since his injury, Deschamps has contact him just one – wishing him happy birthday.

He made 51 appearances for France, making his debut in November 2011, and took part in the European Championships in 2012 and 2016, as well as the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

“The injury is one thing, the victory of the World Cup is another,” Koscielny said. “I think the victory certainly made me much more psychologically hurt than my injury.

“I think I gave the France team what I could. For me, my injury has not changed anything. The Blues are over, after that, I will always be a supporter of the French team but what is certain is that I will not put on the blue jersey.

“I have a new state of mind, there will be the Laurent before and the Laurent after injury. I want to continue to Arsenal, I want to return quickly. I want to fight.”

At his age and with his injury record, you have to wonder how long there is left in the career of Koscielny.

With his Arsenal contract set to expire in 18 months, his career in London is also coming to an end. It would not be a surprise if this summer he returns to France to see out the rest of his career.

PARIS, FRANCE – MARCH 28: Laurent Koscielny of France applauds the fans after the International Friendly match between France and Spain at Stade de France on March 28, 2017 in Paris, France. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

Miguel Almiron

We are pretty much equidistance between the closure of the summer transfer window and the opening of the January window.

It is no surprise therefore that we have seen an increase in transfer speculation as  outlets look to increase their advertising revenue.

One name that seems to be at the top of Arsenal related news is Miguel Almiron.

The 24-year old Paraguayan has been linked heavily to Arsenal recently with increasing intensity. My take on it is that his agents are using Arsenal to get his name in the papers, to make it clear his client is available for a potential move to Europe.

He has had a good season in the MLS, with 12 goals and 14 assists. However the step up from America to the Premier League is a huge one.

Whilst the scouting reports that I have read highlight him as a good player:

“Almiron is the epitome of a 21st-century playmaker: strong in the pass, equipped with outstanding vision and technical ability, but also with the physical attributes to match.”

The consensus seems to be that Almiron is both a technical brilliant, two-footed play maker, but also has the industry and work rate to press the opposition high up the pitch.

With Aaron Ramsey set to leave the club at the end of the season, Almiron could provide a decent, low-cost understudy for Mesut Ozil / Aaron Ramsey replacement. Although I am unsure if he is that much of a step up from Alex Iwobi.

There is talk that Atlanta are holding out for double the £12.6million that Arsenal were rumoured to have “agreed”. At this point he no longer becomes the cheap understudy.

Almiron’s statistics this season are not too dissimilar to former Arsenal star Carlos Vela.

In a league where Bradley Wright-Phillips finished 3rd top scorer, you have to question the quality of the league.

Ultimately, the deal could come down to whether Sven Mislintat believes that the MLS and Premier League are too far apart in terms of quality. And whether they see the point in investing for cover for Ozil when you already have Alex Iwobi and Henrikh Mkhitaryan.

Keep an eye on this one.

UEFA Nations League

What a load of rubbish. Glorified friendly’s. Scrap it now.

Keenos