Koscielny's injury picked up against Manchester City could be a big factor in Arsenal's season.
A lot of plaudits have headed in the direction of the Arsenal defence so far this season – before the weekend’s clash against Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium the Gunners had only conceded 11 goals in the league this season.
The solid central defensive partnership of Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertsacker has been one of the biggest reasons behind that. Their decision making, positioning and ability to deal with a lot of the strike forces they come up against has made them a difficult duo to deal with.
But when City struck for a second time in Saturday’s lunchtime kick off, so did injury to Laurent Koscielny, and what followed in the second half was a more dysfunctional defensive performance from Arsenal. Both of Fernandinho’s goals could have been easily prevented, whilst the ball that allowed David Silva to poke home for City’s fourth could have been dealt with, James Milner’s run into the area for the penalty to conclude the scoring could have been more difficult in the 6-3 defeat at the weekend.
Whilst some who doubt Arsenal’s title credentials this season will point to a lack of adequate cover or competition for Olivier Giroud in the side’s forward line, and though they brought in a marquee signing in the form of Mesut Ozil – it has to be a concern that one of their most consistent performers is going to be on the sidelines, at least during a busy fixture period for the club.
Though it is a chance for Thomas Vermalen to send a message to Arsene Wenger saying that he should be in the side, he has a lot to live up to given what the current back line has done, but there is a worry that they could leak goals as a result, and if they’re crucial the early season promise could slide away.
If Koscielny’s lay off is a lengthy one, some will wonder if Wenger should go into the transfer market for reinforcements. Regardless, Koscielny’s injury is a big worry for Arsenal, and has a similar effect if the likes of Ramsey or Ozil were ruled out.
image: © Ronnie Macdonald