THE CASE FOR KOSCIELNY AS DEFENSIVE MIDFIELDER
For most of the past year now, whenever I see Arsenal play, we close down the opposition quickly enough but still do not get possession back as fast as we should, as fast as Barcelona do it.
For most of the past year whenever I see Koscielny play at Centre Back I wonder how well he would do at Central defensive midfield.
Before going any further let me tell all of you that I am a big fan of Mertesacker, Vermaelen and Koscielny. So I have a tendency to be biased about seeing them play together without altering the system already in place at Arsenal.
Some people might wonder what’s wrong with a Juventus style back three and for them all I can say is changing to a new defensive line up in the middle of the season is not exactly easy and doesn’t promise instant results. What I propose is that we tweak our system to have a high pressing CDM in front of the centre backs.
So what does Koscielny give to the side? What are his strengths? And how can we realise his potential to the fullest?
Koscielny is by far the quickest centre back we have at Arsenal, equally adept at using both his feet and an excellent reader of the game. If it wasn’t for all of us knowing beforehand that he is a defender we might have viewed a person with the above qualities as a Defensive midfielder.
If we look at his game further he has a propensity to make long runs with the ball which often leaves us gaping at the back. If he plays in midfield even if he leaves his post once or twice a game it should not be as fatal as a cb leaving his position.
Also he is an average header but is excellent at reading the game and often does his damage before the attacker is able to control the ball. His superior speed and greater technique resulted in the likes of messi struggling at the Emirates. He does make some rash tackles that can result in penalties and hopefully we can admonish them to being outside the box when he plays at Defensive midfielder.
Also he isn’t exactly a powerhouse but so isn’t Xabi Alonso or Sergio Busquets. He has the sort of close control needed to make it big in midfield and that dash of aggression missing from our defensive set up ( Vermaelen ever since being promoted to Club Captain has been subdued).
I cannot stress enough that the key to being a great defensive midfielder is being a good reader of the game, great stamina and the ability to make well timed challenges.
Koscielny has all that and more. Also playing him at CDM can free up both our full backs and they can bomb forward at each opportunity. If we are keen on playing Gibbs and Jenkinson together this can be our way of ensuring defensive stability. Given that Diaby is injured most of the time, Sagna’s form has dipped remarkably and we did not buy a defensive midfielder in the recently concluded transfer window, this is well worth a shot.. What say Gooners?????
P.S. Nacho Monreal is a good buy. Not just because he shares my nickname but because I think he his dependable, dedicated and in the prime of his life.
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