Much talk before the Arsenal v Liverpool game surrounded this summer’s little transfer to-and-fro between both clubs over the services of Luis Suarez.
The Gunners made several approaches to Liverpool for his services, after it became clear that the Uruguayan wanted to be playing in the Champions League - but in the end the Anfield club were never going to sell to a league rival.
But after he tore apart West Brom last week, the prediction was one of a player ready to show Arsenal just what they were missing.
But he did not bet on coming up against an inspired Laurent Koscielny. There were plenty of top performances in the Arsenal team yesterday. Per Mertesacker was his usual calm self at the back, Mikel Arteta dominated the midfield while Santi Cazorla played really well in the creative third.
But for me, Koscielny stood head and shoulders above the rest. He was tight in on Luis Suarez on every available opportunity, and I generally only remember the Frenchman getting beating by the Uruguayan on one occasion. Against a player of Suarez’s quality, that is an excellent record.
It was the way he conducted himself in the game that truly caught the eye. His pace of mind and feet saw him getting into Suarez, Daniel Sturridge and co before they even had a chance to consider their next option. In fact, he made Sturridge a missing person for all of 90 minutes.
While Mertesacker seems to be the marshall, Koscielny was also a pivotal figure in the Gunners defensive position. They played with a high-line throughout the game - showing the defensive discipline and maturity that has often belied the rest of the teams bewildering class.
Since a red-card against Manchester City in January the former Lorient man seems to have woken up and heard the music. He now looks composed, rather than dodgy; cultured rather than rash; and powerful rather than clumsy.
His performance warranted man of the match accolades, and special praise from the media - and if he plays like this against Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday, then Wenger’s boys have a chance in Signal Iduna.
Here is what the fans thought on Twitter….
Laurent Koscielny has been stopped by police leaving the pitch this evening,apparently he had £40M & a pound in his pocket....— Mel O'Reilly (@40shewore) November 2, 2013
Suarez has just been released from the Koscielny residence.— Pz (@PascalZidane) November 3, 2013
SAS axis? They were dialing SOS when Koscielny jam dem!!— Itweetfor2 (@olu_sakin) November 3, 2013
Luis Suarez joins to the long list of "Famous players who spent the entire game in Koscielny's pocket." #KosIsTheBoss!— TONY ADAMS™ (@toneskybaba) November 3, 2013
Koscielny is the best defender in the league. Period.— Satish (@Arsenal__FC1886) November 3, 2013
Have both Daniel Sturridge And Luis Suarez (The SAS) left Laurent Koscielny's BIG pocket? :-P— Ndy® (@Nnamddi) November 3, 2013
Bet Suarez was comfy in Koscielny's pocket— Ben Kearvell (@BenKearvell) November 3, 2013
But my MOTM has to be Koscielny. Kept Suarez and Sturridge quiet. Was on them so quickly when they picked up the ball. Worked so hard.— Nick (@NickC_AFC) November 3, 2013
#arsenal: My MOTM is Koscielny, who covered Suarez like an undersized latex glove. With that, the outcome was academic. Woot!— John Marlin (@jem92756) November 3, 2013