Koscielny is Key

Watching the World Cup and our players representing their countries it is possible to view their performances without the bias of an Arsenal match.  I would like to highlight our central defenders.


Having enjoyed the Germany/ Algeria game it became apparent that Mertesacker was being focussed upon by the Algerian midfield. They chose to send long balls onto a forward who was as close to Per as possible. Why? Because Per has excellent vision and pitch awareness, he knows where to snuff out danger and how to make the best of his talents, but what he doesn’t have is pace. My grandmother with bricks on her feet has more pace – even I am fleeter of foot. In the first half in particular the Algerians attacked this weakness. The German response was to use the goalkeeper Neuer as a sweeper – not the most secure defensive tactic!

Germany use Merts as the distributor from the back and as such he is always the last man and it repeatedly caused Germany problems. He does the same at Arsenal but for us he doesn’t appear to be such a liability – why?

Let’s look at France’s defensive set-up. Two attacking wingers, the best (? RM think so) young centre back in world football and Koscielny. What has become clear is just how reliant France are upon Kos’s awareness and pace. He always seems to be in the right place at the right time. Varane may well become a brilliant player but right now he is being educated by his centre back partner. It was good fortune for France that Sakho was injured and Deschamps was forced to play Kos whom the French blamed for the loss in their first game against Ukraine in the WC play-offs.


Kos is two-footed according to Sagna (and he should know), he has a prodigious leap, is tactically aware but above all is is quick – very quick. Arsene bought him for €9m and after a problematic opening season he has developed into a key player at Arsenal. When he is missing even a fine defender like Vermaelen cannot fully replace him.

Which brings me to this. To be successful one has to have a proper CB partnership – we have one of the finest. Per and Laurent complement each other. They have different skills – Kos is a better tackler, Merts is better in the air, Kos is better with the ball at hois feet and running into midfield, Merts is better at distribution out of defence.

The fact of the matter is that Mertesacker is a better player when Koscielny is by his side and vice versa.

There isn’t a better CB partnership in the World Cup than Arsenal have at the Emirates – we should be proud.

Written by Big Raddy

61 Responses to Koscielny is Key

  1. Norfolk Gooner says:

    ‘morning all, including the Knot Ears. Well done BR, I agree with every word.

    So that said I’m off for a swim.

  2. 26may1989 says:

    That’s Raddy is it? Tip-top stuff, sir.

    For me, Kos is simply Arsenal’s best player, first on the team sheet. What a find by Wenger and the scouting team – a player who’d spent all but one season in Ligue 2, whose talents were not spotted by those in French football, now transformed (IMO) into the best centre back in English football, alongside Kompany, and one of the best in the world.

    But the point made in the post, that for CBs more than others, the strength is in the collective, in the partnership between the two CBs. And having two like Merts and Kos, of such different talents and physiques, but of a similar temperament and level of intelligence, is perfect for us. The fact they’ll be facing each other in the World Cup QF is a very interesting prospect.

    It remains a mystery to me how Deschamps, who in all other ways is having a really great World Cup, ranks Kos behind Varane and Sakho. I know Varane can be the tall guy but neither one has the poise and reliability of Kos.

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  4. wally says:

    Germany play their cb’s differently don’t they. They split their cb’s and each have responsibility for half of the field. For us anything in the centre and to the right is bfg’s ball and kos cleans up behind him.
    Where both sides get hurt is the long diagonal to the right side out toward the line, as both sides push their fb’s forward, which pulls the cbs apart and creates problems.
    They are a fine pair and Bould has played them in a fashion where their abilities are used to complement each other.

  5. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Raddy again. Top bloke. Thank you.

    Cannot argue with that. However, you’ve given me a great idea, as we all know the ideal pairing would be a Kossacker and a Mertelny. In other words two hybrids both with the supreme qualities each possess.

    Here’s the clever bit. Ditch the Youth System. Kidnap Arnie as he’s very clever and has a beard, and stick him deep within the dark bowels of the stadium in a room with tubes and bunsen burners and chemicals and whisky and shit.

    Put the little wizard to work as a genetic engineer and he could build The Master Team. Longish term, I know, but I’m sure you’d all agree a very worthwhile project.

  6. RA says:

    By the ecky thump, Raddy that was a reet riveting read!

    (Some of my time oop North must have affected my psyche when describing a good and unexpected post). 🙂

    That, as tricky Micky might say, is top class tactical bollix, more usually associated with Exile of Total Arsenal, back in the day.

    Suffice to say, I agree with every syllable of every word.

    Per has a great footbally brain, and Kosser the fleetness of foot and guts so they complement each other.

    I have my doubts as to how long Per will survive at international level and Kos will probably get lured by his own version of DNA to another financially loaded club, so we should enjoy them while we can,

  7. RA says:

    Having allowed myself to relax to the point that I thought we were about to sign Aurier who has had a great WC at RB, it now seems, if persistent rumours are to be believed, that we have all but completed a deal for the rubbishy Debuchy instead.

    Why does Arsene do this sort of thing – first a very average Monreal at LB, and now an even more ordinary Debuchy at RB.

    This window has a long time to run, and I am reasonably relaxed about our transfer business, and fully expect AW to sign some decent players – but Debuchy ,,,,,,,,,,? 😦

  8. Adrian says:

    I admit I will be very surprised as well if we were indeed to sign Debuchy. He was outshone by the Nigeria LB the other day and while Aurier may still be considered raw talent, the potential and talent is there for everyone to see. With words like new sponsorship deals being thrown around so much lately I’d expect a better replacement at RB..

    All our top 4 rivals (and Man Utd 🙂 ) have already made decent, if not great signings, wonder when it’ll be our turn to announce ours? Giroud’s performance against Nigeria showed that he is still prone to the occasional bad game where he can contribute little to nothing, and therefore a new striker still has to be our top priority.

  9. Adrian says:

    And yes, I have no idea whether to be more appalled by the fact that Deschamps seem to rate Sakho more highly than Koscielny or the fact that Liverpool fans think it is perfectly justified.

  10. Vinay says:

    Kos is the boss, he just needs a kick start at the start of every season, he is a lumbering giant who starts on a low key and then gets into the groove. If we notice the trend. he always starts on the back foot at the start of the season but come say oc-nov, he will be brilliant.

  11. 26may1989 says:

    Debuchy is a decent player – excellent going forward, good passer and crosser, decent positionally and has pace. That said, from what I’ve seen, his judgment can be a bit off (seems fond of diving into tackles needlessly). Aurier is an exciting option because he’s so fast and is younger but Debuchy has qualities and knows the PL. I think he’d be a solid choice.

  12. Big Raddy says:

    Thanks for the kind words. Good to get back to Arsenal related posts.

    I agree with 26. Debuchy is a quality RB and the reason by Sagna is not in the team. But who knows who AW will sign – probably a 17 y.o. from Colchester!

    I wonder how Sanchez feels about being the makeweight in the Suarez deal with L’pool. Id I were him I would refuse to sign and come south to AFC where he will be a winner and not just another Rodgers flop.

  13. Norfolk Gooner says:

    A very enjoyable swm, now back to the business of the day. Are really allowed to comment on transfer speculation? I thought all such musings were automatically fed straight into room 101. 😀

    I thought Debuchy looked decidedly dodgy defensively the other night, is he much of an improvement on Jenkinson? Aurier, despite his youth and lack of Premiership experience, would be my choice, but there is certainly some unknown fourteen year old just waiting to be discovered in Colchester.

    Sanchez or Di Maria? Can we have both please Arsene? 😀

  14. RA says:


    Can we have both please? What a greedy little Norfolkian you are – and what the hell is a swm? 🙂

  15. Norfolk Gooner says:

    RA, swm? I thought every body knew that, it’s an old Norfolkian tradition for a fine summer morning. Soak in Warm Milk. It combines ones morning ablutions with breakfast, one just needs to add the cornflakes to ones bath and Hey Presto. 😀

  16. Big Raddy says:

    NG. Is that something the doctor ordered?

  17. Norfolk Gooner says:

    No, No, Raddy, in Norfolk swm was considered therapeutic long before doctors were known in the county, as long ago as the 1950s in fact.

  18. 26may1989 says:

    Ha ha, Norfolk, I’ll pass that onto my parents, who were busy growing up around Lowestoft/Beccles/Oulton in the 1950s!

  19. Norfolk Gooner says:

    That’s OK 26, they didn’t get doctors in Suffolk untill well into the sixties. 😀

    Here’s a little bit of Norfolk life.

    The rest of the villagers were somewhat surprised when old Rattle, who lived alone in the semi-derelict cottage at the far end of Muck Lane, bought a billy goat at Acle market. He tethered the goat in his front garden where it contentedly munched it’s way through nettles, briars, thistles and other assorted weeds that had colonised the previously pristine garden tended by Rattle’s long suffering and now late wife Elly.

    Now everybody knows that billy goats smell! Rattle’s was by no means an exception. In fact when the east wind blew, as it did more often than not, the odour of goat drifted along Muck Lane past the blacksmith’s shed, over the cross roads, past the King’s Head and into the primary school playground causing the under elevens to run inside holding their noses.

    Then one chilly day, in late autumn, when the easterly wind picked up there was no goat odour. The blacksmith was the first to notice when he went to close the shutters on his shed, his usual practice on such days, but only the hint of seaweed and a suggestion of the muddy estuary reached him. The Landlord of The King’s Head, who was hopefully chalking up the day’s menu on the blackboard outside the saloon bar door, raised his head, sniffed suspiciously and then a look of pleasant surprise washed over his face and he went inside whistling happily. The children’s game of Grab-ball, a vicious mixture of football, rugby and general mayhem went uninterrupted until Miss Herson the headmistress called them in for morning assembly.

    Later in the morning, the Rector, the Reverend Morgan, on his morning walk, an excuse to get away from his nagging wife for an hour, paused outside the pub and noticing the lack of goat odour turned up Muck Lane to investigate.

    On reaching the tumbledown cottage he was surprised to see old Rattle sitting morosely on his doorstep wearing his habitual greasy flat cap, he reputedly wore even in bed, smoking a roll-up and no sign of the goat. “Good morning Rattle” said the Rector, cheerfully “where’s the goat this morning?”. “morning yourself Reverend” muttered Rattle, “He’s inside” “Inside?” said the Rector “but why?” Well said Rattle scornfully, “Yew caan’t leave tha’ poor old goat out in this yer weather, He’ll likely tak a chill.” “But Rattle” said the Rector, “what about the smell?” “Smell” answered the old man, “Tha old billy he dunt seem to mind it one bit!”

  20. MickyDidIt89 says:


    “I wonder how Sanchez feels about being the makeweight in the Suarez deal”

    What are you on about. Sources say we’ve bunged in a £30m bid.

    Fact is, if we want him, we get him. Now I can’t be sure he’s the man Arsene is after, but a top striker he certainly will be.

  21. RockyLives says:

    Good piece BR

    One thing I noticed in the Germany-Algeria game was that the BFG found it harder to play the ball out of defence for his country than he does for his club because of the absence of a certain plastic-haired Spaniard.

    Per was still excellent on the ball for Germany, but quite often none of the midfielders “showed” for him the way Arteta does and he was forced to play along the back four a lot of the time.

  22. chas says:

    I like it, BR, and am proud of both Kos and the BFG.

  23. LBG says:

    Top quality post Raddy. Much agreement from me, and I still believe a tough,athletic ball player like Sneiderlin directly in front of our pair of CBs,to cut out and distribute will be the making of Jack and Aaron. Sanchez and Remy/Bony for genuine goalscorers. Marshall for GK competition and Aurier (not Debuchy)at right back. Not much to ask AW! Get it done.

  24. neamman says:

    Nice post as always but I have a question about Dracula. I thought Barcelona have been given a transfer ban for breaking the rules. How come they can buy players?

  25. neamman says:

    I would be worried if I were a Southampton fan the way they are selling their stars.

  26. arnie says:

    Sorry, Raddy, Knot Ear all day. 😦 But brilliant post. 🙂 🙂 Too much agreement all round. Personally I hav nothing to disagree with. What a pity. 😛

    So so proud of Kos and BFG! COYG. 🙂 🙂

    What a pity one of the teams have to go out in the QF Nevertheless, the silver lining is that there will be at least 3 Gooners in the SF. 🙂 🙂 🙂

  27. neamman says:

    I would prefer both teams lost so that our players can rest to be honest.

  28. Big Raddy says:

    Morning All,

    25m for Lallana. 30+ for Shaw. How much is Ramsey worth?


  29. chas says:

    How about this, BR?

  30. chas says:

    I’m deeply suspicious of any dealings where people seem to know how much we’ve bid for certain players. Has any deal ever gone through when this is the case?

  31. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Morning Chas

    That’s a great stat about the £50 and £55m valuations. When will they ever learn?

    Thing about bidding is this. If you’re a lone bidder, you get a bargain, if two or more, you pay over the odds.

    Was there seriously another bidder who pushed Pool/Utd to have to go that high?

  32. MickyDidIt89 says:

    On your other point, my answer is yes, all the time. Bales. Ronaldos, Podolskis, Neymars, the list is endless, and I’m not surprised as there must be so many people involved in any deal from both sides, that I’m amazed there can ever be any secrets.

  33. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Mind you, we’re guilty. £42m for Mesut. Nuts by ant standards. Nice guy, great player, but not that much.

  34. chas mobile says:

    I was talking about Are deals, Micky.
    I don’t remember there being any early knowledge of a Podolski bid. It was a done deal before we heard about it.

  35. chas mobile says:

    Arse not Are….

  36. Big Raddy says:

    Micky 6.23. Doomer.

    Love that stat chas. It is easy to understand why AW will to buy British.

  37. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Ok, if if if if if Sanchez (or very similar) transfer comes to pass, can we assume that he plays central and Ollie becomes Plan B.

    I bloody well hope so, otherwise Arsene will be playing someone out of position. Again.

  38. MickyDidIt89 says:


    Doomer!!!! Come on, he’s not a £42m player by any stretch of the imagination.

    Are you off tomorrow?

  39. Big Raddy says:

    Sure am Micky. Back for the start of the season. Or perhaps the Emirates Cup when we parade all our shiny new signings.

    Interesting your comment about Ozil – it is the elephant in the room – and at the moment your are right, he is not worth 42m

  40. MickyDidIt89 says:

    I’m off today, back Tuesday. Missing all the games 😦

  41. MickyDidIt89 says:


    I have to add to my Mesut valuation comment by saying that it makes no difference to me whatsoever how much we pay for a player.

    I’m delighted he’s with us.

  42. chas mobile says:

    Me too

  43. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Me too what?

    Agree about Mesut, off to Italy till August, off to France till late Tuesday, don’t care about player costs? 🙂

  44. RA says:

    Me three.

  45. MickyDidIt89 says:

    You three what?

    Agree about Mesut, off to Italy till August, off to France till late Tuesday, don’t care about player costs?


    Actually RA, I should be in your good books, as I nearly stuck you in the ems basement yesterday instead of Arnie. It was a close call. Thing was, I’m not aware you have the required beard, and secondly I reckoned you’d be a disruptive influence what with your somewhat cavalier attitude 🙂

  46. arnie says:

    motning all.


  47. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Oh for fk’s sake

  48. arnie says:

    I have the vision that Redders has not shaved a few days, and has a stubble. 😛

  49. arnie says:

    Chas. Great statistic. Really proud for the good guys. 🙂

  50. arnie says:

    Micky, Raddy. On Mesut valuation, do not agree. Finally. Too much agreement on AA. 🙂

  51. arnie says:

    OK, back to the Knot Ear club. 😦

  52. kelsey says:

    Having lived in Spain for 12 years one has to understand that as a country they can act as a third world country when it suits.Corruption is rife (as in Italy) and both Barcelona and Real Madrid regardless of TV rights and other sponsorship seem to be heavily in debt yet always seem to find money for transfers.
    Barcelona’s main bankers are offering a higher saving deposit generally to anyone than any other bank in Spain which is actually not a good sign as they appear to be cash strapped.
    When Real Madrid bought Bale it was widely reported that their bank made a condition that they sold a player to cover 50% of the transfer fee and consequently Ozil (who was never on Wenger’s list) suddenly became available at the last minute.
    Don’t believe that Levy tried to stop Arsenal by blocking the deal,that was just media speculation.
    Real seem to have a pipeline direct to the government to obtain money when needed.A while back they sold their training ground at an inflated price and then bought it back for a pittance.
    The EU commission are seemingly trying to look into their accounts.

    Corruption is rife from Blatter downwards and now we have alleged match fixing at the highest level(Ghana) not second division games from various games in Europe.This all stems from the Far East and it is interesting that horse racing which was the main income for bookmakers has wained and has been superseeded by football.Just look at the hundreds and hundreds of bets that are advertised on various aspects in a game.
    Whenever money is involved there will always be corruption.

    At least we run our club in a true and proper way.I would just like to see no last minute signings.

    Have a good holiday Raddy.

  53. stevepalmer1 says:

    Morning all,
    Nice one Raddy,

    I know everybody is watching the world cup games, but i must admit its, refreshing to talk about a few Arsenal players again, Merts is not my ideal type of defender, although i have to agree that he does have some good attributes, he lacks in more ways than i would like to see.

    Koscielney on the other hand is one of the best, Vermaelen is another defender i like, He hasn’t played a great deal, so when we see him he is a bit ring rusty, and i feel many of us judge him on those performances, which i feel is unfair.

    Mertsackers lack of pace,, appears to be acceptable to many, but without Kosi covering him, we could on many occasions have been punished.

    I feel that the Germans also feel the same about him, Hence their goalkeeper doing what Czezesney has done in the past, rushing out recklessly. Czez is very bad at it, but i feel that this shows that Merts has problems.

    Personally i feel Merts is an accident waiting to happen, but i also feel the same about Czez, I feel they should both be changed.

    When i look at The Arsenal, i would like to see players that can be relied on, granted all players make mistakes but when you know prior to the match where players faults are, i feel you are tempting fate.

    Giroud, a good sound player but slow as a carthorse, he is going to miss a lot of chances just because of his pace. Another that should only be used as back up.

    Get rid of the dangers before the match and at least you wont be waiting for a mistake.

    I know its easy to criticise, but if we want to win more trophies we need to get rid of the players who are not the finished article.. .

  54. RA says:

    Hi Kelsey,

    Here is a note about part of the UEFA investigation into seven Spanish clubs. —- They are wasting their time!!!!!!

    — “Spain’s foreign minister Jose Manuel Garcia Margallo denied that the clubs had broken EU rules, adding: “The government will fight to defend Spanish clubs because they’re also part of the Spanish brand.”

    The investigation comes as Uefa, European football’s governing body, begins to enforce its Financial Fair Play rules, encouraging teams to live within their own means.

    Proceedings could take months to conclude.

    The commission’s statement continued: “The commission will firstly investigate possible tax privileges for Real Madrid, Barcelona, Athletic Bilbao, and Osasuna.

    “These four clubs are exempted from the general obligation for professional football clubs to convert into sport limited companies. The effect of this exemption is that these clubs enjoy a preferential corporate tax rate of 25% instead of 30% applicable to sport limited companies.”

    “In another inquiry it will assess whether a widely reported land transfer between the City of Madrid and the club Real Madrid involved any state aid in favour of the club.
    “Real Madrid appears to have benefited from a very advantageous real property swap with the City of Madrid. This swap was based on a re-evaluation of a plot of land at a value of 22.7m euros, instead of its earlier supposed value in 1998 of 595,000 euros.”

    If they are found guilty, the money will be repaid to the Spanish Government — who gave them the money or gave them tax exemption in the first place. Neat.

  55. Morning all

    Happy holidays to Raddy and Mrs Raddy

    Have a great time in France Micky

    I’m just diving into the cupboard for a post ……………………..

  56. Norfolk Gooner says:

    ‘morning all, Steve, I’m can’t agree with you about Merts. He’s very good at what he does, his positional sense, his heading ability and his distribution are all excellent and he is probably the one true leader on the pitch. Yes he lacks a bit of pace, but with a more solid DM in front of him this would not be so much of problem. The partnership that he has developed with Koscielny is vital especially as we are in the process of searching for, and introducing a new right-back. We need to stick with him for the time being at least.

    I can agree with you about Giroud, isn’t it a pity that so many of our, and other teams, players lack one or two vital skills, be it pace, vision, or just plain football nous. Still we can’t all be perfect. 😀

  57. Micky if you’re still about, did you say you’d dropped a post into arsenalnuts? If you did, it didn’t arrive 😦

  58. stevepalmer1 says:

    Many clubs buy and sell players without money being paid out. or not all of it. I believe if clubs had to part with all of the money up front, would solve some of the problems.

    Wealthy clubs or clubs that look wealthy, often leave smaller clubs in the shite as they get what they ask, but the money is drip fed back.

    A mate of mine owned a mushroom farm, and his biggest market was Tesco’s and Sainsbury. They told him what they were prepared to pay which didn’t cover the cost of growing them, They also paid late, so he went out of business.

    I see the same kind of thing could happen in football.

  59. stevepalmer1 says:

    Norfolk you have a point, but when a professional player needs someone else to watch him, he is not the player we want.

    Eleven players on the field of play, all got their own jobs to do, do that well and we have a balanced team. When you have to watch out for another’s deficiencies, your mind is not on your own job. But of course we all have our own views. 🙂

  60. We have a New Post ………………….

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