How will sending off for France affect Koscielny at Arsenal?

Arsenal defender Laurent Koscielny was dismissed in the dying moments of France’s disappointing 2-0 defeat to Ukraine in Kiev last week.

The 28-year-old centre-back was dismissed for violent conduct for raising his arm to Ukraine international Oleksandr Kucher and will take no further part in proceedings with France this international break.

For Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger and Gunners fans this may come as welcome news considering the number of games and minutes Koscielny has played for Arsenal in the last few months. With crucial fixtures ahead of them in the Premier League and Champions League and with only two other recognised centre-backs in Wenger’s senior squad, the fact that Koscielny will get a rest this week will perhaps ease the worries of the boss.

However, that would be completely discounting the negative affects on the player’s morale, confidence and, subsequently, performance following his red card for his country – especially given the fact that France are skating on very thin ice and look likely to fail to qualify for the World Cup next summer in Brazil.

Koscielny has been performing very well for Arsenal this year and has become a formidable force to be reckoned with alongside Per Mertesacker in Wenger’s back line – Arsenal’s current league position is in no small part down to a solid and organised defence, of which Koscielny is a key component.

Since their 3-1 opening day defeat at the Emirates to Aston Villa, Arsenal had been on an unbeaten run of nine games in the Premier League of which no less than eight were wins – prior of course to their 1-0 defeat at Old Trafford prior to the international break. It’s perhaps no coincidence that Arsenal captain Thomas Vermaelen lined up alongside Koscielny instead of his partner in the previous nine out of ten unbeaten games Mertesacker who was ill for the clash with the Red Devils.

It is critically important that Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker remain fit, focused and in form for the Gunners if they are going to continue in their pursuit of a title this term and Koscielny’s focus and confidence must not be tampered with due to this incident with his national team. Arsene Wenger, especially as a French national himself, must find a way to repair any damaged confidence or morale quickly in order to keep one of his most important players focused on his job for his club.

image: © Ronnie Macdonald

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