Laurent Koscielny expects tough Benteke battle in Liverpool clash

Laurent Koscielny

The defender has also highlighted how he's improved since he joined Arsenal in 2010.

Speaking to the club’s official website, Arsenal defender Laurent Koscielny says he is anticipating a tough challenge from Liverpool forward Christian Benteke.

The Gunners host Liverpool at the Emirates on Monday evening in one of the season’s early clashes between two sides who are likely to be challenging for a top four place come the end of the season.

The last time Koscielny came up against Benteke was the FA Cup win last season, with the Belgian being quiet on that occasion, but the French defender is anticipating a wholly different clash at the Emirates.

“We had a good game against Aston Villa in the FA Cup final but the other games against Benteke will be harder,” he told arsenal.com.

“I know him and every game is hard against him. He's a big professional who gives his all for the team and to score. He loves the duels and he loves the goal so it will be harder this time. Just because we won by three or four against a team last season doesn't mean you will again.”

Improvement year on year

The defender doesn’t have fond memories of clashes against Liverpool, having been sent off on his debut against them.

However, he has since developed into one of the Premier League’s top defenders, making more than 200 appearances or the Gunners and helping them to back to back FA Cup wins in the last two seasons.

And he has highlighted the specific areas of his game he has improved, saying that he has gotten better with each passing year, something he hopes will continue.

“I’ve improved my technique, my physical strength, my position on the pitch and my duels with the striker,” he added.

“My biggest development has been in aerial duels. For a centre back that is very important when you are playing against a lot of long balls, this is my most important quality. I feel I've improved every year, each season I'm better, so I hope it will continue.”

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