Before the game, a lot of noise was made of the menace that Lukaku would be to Arsenal. The powerful Belgian was fresh from his ordeal with Vidic and came out on top. However, in the Emirates, he had a very torrid time.
When Koscienly came to the Emirates from Laurent, everybody wondered where Arsene got this unrefined defender from. As expected, it took him time to settle down and came for criticism for his very rough play and very susceptible to committing needless fouls. I remember the ‘smack down’ he gave to Dzeko in the game against Manchester City, many gooners wanted him out if the team; but one thing you can never fault with Koscienly is his commitment, drive and desire not to be beaten by the opponent.
That same season, he came back strong, forged a super partnership with Mertesacker, sent Club Captain Vermaelen to the bench and then scored the all-important goal in the race for fourth place with Spurs. It was no surprise when he won the Arsenal’s second best player of the season behind Santi Carzola.
This season, he has started in super form and the partnership, he has with Per Mertesacker is one of the pillars of this team. The pair went all through November without conceding (Manchester United game had Vermaelen in it). Laurent has faced some super strikers this season and has come out tops, so it was no surprise when he added Lukaku to the list of strikers he has tamed.
It was just the way he marshaled the defence that was impressive, the stats he got in the game were staggering.
1. He made 8 interceptions in the game, the highest for both sides. Only Seamus Coleman came close with 7.
2. He made 9 successful clearances out of 9 attempts. Only Distin attained such a figure.
3. He made 2 successful tackles and even though Arteta was the highest with 5, you would understand that Arteta’s position made him more likely to have that high figure.
4. The Frenchman had 2 shots blocked.
5. Made 24 successful passes and had an 83% pass completion.
After looking at this figures and others that he had this season, I can only thinking of one adjective to describe the powerful Frenchman: THE WALL.
Nothing seems to pass him and when an opponent wants to enter the box and meets with Koscienly, you can just close your eyes, open it after some seconds and see the ball with Laurent, he is actually that good.
Thumbs up to Wenger and his scouting team for discovering this gem.
With tough fixtures coming up against Napoli, Manchester City and Chelsea coming up. I do not want to be in the shoes of Higuian, Negredo and Aguero and Torres, Eto’o, Demba Ba or whoever Mourinho plays that day. Expect ‘the wall’ alongside with Per and the rest of the guys to come out on top. #COYG