Ray Parlour sees Laurent Koscielny offering 'real boost' to Arsenal

Ray Parlous says the return of Laurent Koscielny is a 'big plus' for Arsenal and will offer their Premier League campaign a 'real boost'.

Arsene Wenger has had to get creative in a few of his Premier League selections of late, with untimely injuries giving him an unwelcome headache.

The heart of his back four has become a problematic area, with Laurent Koscielny’s absence forcing square pegs into round holes.

Nacho Monreal is among those to have provided cover, but a lack of depth at Emirates Stadium has been ruthlessly exposed.

France international Koscielny is, however, back after three weeks out and looked solid upon his return to action against West Ham United.

Former Arsenal midfielder Ray Parlour believes the centre-half will offer a welcome ‘boost’ to the Gunners cause, with greater stability added to the ranks when key men are available.

He told Sky Sports: “A big plus for Arsenal is Koscielny. (Per) Mertesacker hasn’t been the same player this year without Koscielny alongside him.

“It’s been chop-change in the centre-half position. (Mathieu) Debuchy has had a go there, Monreal has played there, so Koscielny being back in that side is a real boost for Arsenal.

“He (Wenger) just needs his players back now – (Aaron) Ramsey, (Theo) Walcott, people that he needs back in the side.”

  Total TackleOutfielder BlockTotal ClearanceDuel WonInterceptionAppearancesMins Played
Laurent Koscielny 12 5 43 39 34 9 746

Despite their struggles in keeping players fit, Arsenal have been able to position themselves in top-four contention.

Ronald Koeman’s Southampton have also been in impressive form in recent times, winning back-to-back Premier League matches before drawing 1-1 with Chelsea on Sunday.

The Saints eased past Everton 3-0 at St. Mary’s Stadium before Christmas and got the better of Crystal Palace 3-1 in London on Boxing Day.

Predicted line-ups:

Southampton: Forster; Yoshida, Fonte, Alderweireld, Targett; Davis, Wanyama, Ward-Prowse; Tadic, Pelle, Mane

Arsenal: Szczesny; Debuchy, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs; Coquelin, Flamini; Oxlade-Chamberlain, Cazorla, Welbeck; Sanchez

]]> http://www.hitc.com/en-gb/2014/12/30/predicted-southampton-and-arsenal-line-ups/ Wed, 31 Dec 2014 12:00:00 +0000

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