Tag Archives: Laurent Koscielny

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

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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

Laurent Koscielny injury GREAT news for Arsenal

You have to wonder if Koscielny will be seen again in an Arsenal shirt.

That was my thought process in an article I wrote after the Europa League defeat to Atletico Madrid.

Laurent Koscielny’s troublesome Achilles once more reared its ugly head. Crumpled on the pitch in extreme pain, he was forced off after just 12 minutes. Immediate diagnosis was that he would be out of the World Cup.

Soon to be 33, I felt at the time it could keep him out longer, and so yesterday’s prognosis that he is set to be out for 6 months is not surprise.

“You will not see him until December at best,” said Wenger.

It pretty much rules the Frenchman out until 2019. At that is best case scenario. As we have seen with Santi Cazorla, any sort of surgery on your Achilles can lead to further complications. Even if he returns in December, he will only have 18 months left on his contract.

By the time that contract expires, he will be 35. This is almost certainly his last contract with Arsenal.

He has already spoken about wanting to see out his career at Lorient, and even before the injury, I felt that his Arsenal career was coming to an end. That he perhaps only had 1 more year left in him at the top level.

Whilst I do feel for Koscielny, this long term injury could actually be good news for 2 reasons for Arsenal.

The first (and lesser) reason surrounds the captaincy of the club.

For too long, the captain of Arsenal has been messed around with. Since Patrick Vieira left us back in 2005, the only consistent player we had as a captain was Cesc Fabregas – who led us for 3 years.

Robin van Persie was given it to try and encourage him to sign a new contract, whilst in recent years with the likes of Thomas Vermaelen, Mikel Arteta and most recently Per Mertesacker barely captained the team on the pitch.

The concern going into next season was that Laurent Koscielny was going to be the natural successor to Per Mertesacker, as the current vice-captain and senior professional in the team.

That concerned me as I felt he only had 1 good year left in him, and even next year he might not be guaranteed to start week in week out (if we sign a top centre back). That would leave us in the exact same position that we have been in recently. A captain who does not always play.

With captaincy off the table for Laurent Koscielny, it naturally gives the club a chance to look a bit longer term. Give it to someone who will be captain for the next 5 years, not just the next 12 months. If Aaron Ramsey signs his new deal, he is the man for the job.

The second reason is that Koscielny’s injury will force the clubs hand in the transfer market.

We needed a centre back last season. Instead of signing the player we needed, we stuck with Koscielny and Shkodran Mustafi, with Per Metesacker and the youngsters Rob Holding and Calum Chambers backing him up.

After Konstantinos Mavropanos performances in the later end of the season, it would have been an easy option for the club to say “lets stick with Mustafi and Koscielny, with Holding, Chambers and Mavropanos backing them up”. This would have been a disaster.

Koscielny is clearly on the wain. He has always been error prone, but more mistakes seem to have crept into his game in the last 18 months. As for Mustafi, there are question marks over whether he will ever be good enough.

Had we gone into next season with Mustafi and Koscielny as our centre back partnership, it would have led to another season of disappointment. Now the club has no choice but to go into the market and sign a senior centre back to partner Mustafi.

Whilst the injury is bad news for Koscielny personally, it is great news for Arsenal as we can moved forward into the new era post-Wenger with a new captain and new centre back partnership.

Keenos