Kos is the Boss and our Most Important Player
The season thus far has been more notable for fan unrest than our exploits on the field. For every goal scored – another hot mess of a scandal involving hurling vitriol at Arsene Wenger. For every injured player returning to the frontline we get an acerbic video that is more car-crash TV than an episode of ‘An Audience with Dean Gaffney’. You get the gist, we haven’t exactly been blessed.
A myriad of reasons and excuses have been given for the mediocre form shown in the League. One of the genuine reasons for our poor league position is our injury record. We currently have eight first team players on the treatment table, second only to Newcastle with 9. This is an improvement as well, seeing as Giroud and Debuchy have only just rejoined us from lay-offs.
The players currently catching up with injured castaway Diaby are all men that can influence our team on a massive scale. Ozil, Theo, Jack. A startling stat came my way recently. Our attacking triumvirate of Sanchez, Ozil and Theo have never played together. Can you imagine opposition defences with those three running at them? Ozil and Theo alone have only played together four times! Shad Forsythe – our new injury guru – certainly has his talented hands full trying to cope with the teeming hordes that currently fill the halls at Colney.
Whilst we have missed these players to a huge degree, there is one player who I hope to make a compelling case for, in arguing that he is indeed our most important player. The base card for which our elaborate house of cards sits on. The solid foundation atop which is our team. The Ernie Wise to Eric Morecambe if you will. Laurent Koscielny.
Koscielny has long been regarded as our most talented defender. His ability to nip in when our opponents are running amok is utterly priceless. I seem to remember a game versus Wigan in the League a couple of seasons ago where a long ball split us down the middle and it was only Laurent at the back. He somehow cleared the ball just before the striker touched it past Szczesny. What is more, it was done cleanly.
His partnership has flourished with the intelligent yet lumbering Mertesacker. This duo was at the crux of many a vital win last season. Whilst Per can read the game like an open book, his severe lack of pace always leaves us with a very evident chink in our armour. When playing alongside Laurent though, it is quickly shored up due to Koscielny’s recovery pace and good positioning. They make each other stronger.
His absence this season has been felt more than any other due to the chief error of Wenger this season. Arsene’s tactical calls can sometimes leave us perplexed but we can never confess to knowing what the team needs at a specific moment in a match to a better degree than Wenger, as we simply don’t have the credentials, the nous nor the experience. What we can highlight though, is the cold hard fact that he didn’t reinforce anywhere near as much as he needed to in the summer. Our lack of defensive bodies has brought us to our knees.
Calum Chambers was meant to be a ‘prospect’. A kid with dazzling ability who could be drip-fed minutes until he had gleaned enough from the experienced teats of Kos and BFG to be able to compensate for his lack of experience in the top flight. Instead, due to our dearth of cover, he has been pitched in at centre-back and right-back with regular abandon and is now suspended. He has shown that he has more than enough talent to make it with us and in a few years I can envision a regular starting spot not only with us but with England as well. His link up play with The Ox on the right has been extraordinary at times this season and he will only get better. The plan was not to have a 19yr old in the centre of our defence though Monreal and ebuchy have also featured as emergency CB’s as well. Whilst they have performed admirably under the fierce heat of scrutiny in a position that is entirely a stranger to them, it is simly not good enough. It is not only Koscielny’s ability we have missed though.
At times when we have struggled this season, particularly versus Stoke, instead of harnessing the will to win and geeing up troops, we have seen our players trudging around the pitch, brow furrowed and no one around willing to bust a gut to get our team back in the game against seemingly insurmountable odds. No one to take the game by its short and curlies and force the issue. Kos does that.
Last game of the season Vs West Brom. Last game of the season Vs Newcastle. The F.A Cup Final Vs Hull. If ever we needed a man to step up amid a hail of bullets, then Laurent has shown time and again that he will not bow, nor break. Kos will not falter. Like the T800 played so woodenly by everyone’s favourite Austrian, Arnold Schwarzenegger – he will simply continue until the mission at hand has been completed. He is a machine.
Unfortunately for us, the machine has been used too flagrantly and must now rest his enflamed tendons in a bath of WD-40. Whilst our attacking players garner the attention and grab the goals which win us games, Koscielny is the man that nearest embodies what our Captains of the past represented. The sooner he comes back to plug the massive aperture in our rearline – the better. He’ll be back.