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The case for Koscielny as a defensive midfielder

THE CASE FOR KOSCIELNY AS DEFENSIVE MIDFIELDER

by NACHIKETA

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.

——————————–

The books…

The sites…

NACHIKETA

Match Review: Mike Dean – Arsenal Vs Manchester City (0 – 2) [13/01/2013]

Match Review: Mike Dean – Arsenal Vs Manchester City (0 – 2) [13/01/2013]

If you are new to this site and this is your first visit then please: Read this to fully understand our reviews.

Today’s referee is Mike Dean

MATCH REVIEW DETAILS – Mike Dean (2013-01-13)
Period 1
Min Type From On C/NC Reviewer Comment Weight
0 THROW IN ARS C Laurent Koscielny concedes a throw in. 1
0 THROW IN ARS C Kieran Gibbs concedes a throw in. 1
1 THROW IN MNC C Gaël Clichy concedes a throw in. 1
1 CORNER ARS C Jack Wilshere concedes a corner kick. 1
3 THROW IN MNC C Gaël Clichy concedes a throw in. 1
4 FOUL ARS C Lukas Podolski Commits a Regular foul. 1
4 FREE KICK MNC C Joe Hart takes a direct free kick. 1
6 THROW IN MNC C Gareth Barry concedes a throw in. 1
7 CORNER ARS C Thomas Vermaelen concedes a corner kick. 1
8 PENALTY ARS C Penalty kick given against Laurent Koscielny for a Regular foul on Edin Dzeko 1
8 FOUL ARS C Laurent Koscielny Commits a Regular foul. 1
8 RED ARS C Laurent Koscielny recieves a RedCard for the following reason: ProfessionalFoul. 1
10 THROW IN ARS C Bacary Sagna concedes a throw in. 1
12 GOAL KICK ARS C Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain concedes a goal kick. 1
13 THROW IN MNC C Carlos Tévez concedes a throw in. 1
13 FOUL MNC C James Milner Commits a Regular foul. 1
13 FREE KICK ARS C Wojciech Szczesny takes a direct free kick. 1
13 FOUL MNC ARS NC jumped in his back, foul not given 3
13 FREE KICK ARS NC for the previous foul 3
14 THROW IN MNC C Francisco Javier García Fernández concedes a throw in. 1
14 CORNER ARS C Lukas Podolski concedes a corner kick. 1
15 GOAL KICK MNC C Vincent Kompany concedes a goal kick. 1
15 THROW IN MNC C Francisco Javier García Fernández concedes a throw in. 1
16 CORNER MNC C Gaël Clichy concedes a corner kick. 1
16 GOAL KICK ARS C Theo Walcott concedes a goal kick. 1
17 THROW IN MNC C Pablo Zabaleta concedes a throw in. 1
17 FOUL MNC ARS NC Wilshere plays the ball away and Garcia puts his foot on the leg of Wilshere. No foul given by the ref? 3
17 YELLOW MNC NC Planting your foot on an opponent on the ground is dangerous for injuries. Should have been booked 3
17 FREE KICK ARS NC Ref stops play and restarts with a dropped ball? Should have been a free kick to Arsenal ref. 3
17 DROP BALL NC Ref stops play and restarts with a dropped ball? Should have been a free kick to Arsenal ref. 3
20 GOAL KICK MNC C Edin Dzeko concedes a goal kick. 1
20 FOUL ARS C Lukas Podolski Commits a Regular foul. In the light of the not given foul and not coming back to the foul on Wilshere it looks harsh on Arsenal but ref is entitled to go back to the foul. But not really being consistent in a matter of minutes 1
20 FREE KICK MNC C Gareth Barry takes a direct free kick. 1
20 GOAL MNC C James Milner scores a goal for Manchester City. 1
21 FOUL ARS MNC NC After the not given foul a few minutes earlier on Podolski this time the German uses his arm to push Zabaleta and pushes him in the face. Another thing missed by the ref. 3
21 YELLOW ARS NC Should have been booked for use of the arm 3
21 FREE KICK MNC NC for the previous foul 3
22 THROW IN MNC C Carlos Tévez concedes a throw in. 1
22 THROW IN MNC C Pablo Zabaleta concedes a throw in. 1
23 THROW IN MNC C James Milner concedes a throw in. 1
24 GOAL KICK MNC C James Milner concedes a goal kick. 1
24 THROW IN ARS C Bacary Sagna concedes a throw in. 1
25 THROW IN ARS C Kieran Gibbs concedes a throw in. 1
25 THROW IN MNC C Francisco Javier García Fernández concedes a throw in. 1
26 CORNER ARS C Bacary Sagna concedes a corner kick. 1
27 GOAL KICK MNC C Francisco Javier García Fernández concedes a goal kick. 1
27 FOUL MNC C Vincent Kompany Commits a Regular foul. 1
28 FREE KICK ARS C 1
28 GOAL KICK ARS C Theo Walcott concedes a goal kick. 1
30 THROW IN ARS C Kieran Gibbs concedes a throw in. 1
31 GOAL MNC C Edin Dzeko scores a goal for Manchester City. 1
32 FOUL MNC C Carlos Tévez Commits a Regular foul. 1
33 FREE KICK ARS C Wojciech Szczesny takes a direct free kick. 1
33 FOUL MNC C Pablo Zabaleta Commits a Regular foul. 1
33 FREE KICK ARS C Kieran Gibbs takes a direct free kick. 1
35 THROW IN MNC C Gareth Barry concedes a throw in. 1
36 OFFSIDE ARS C Theo Walcott is played offside by Matija Nastasic from a ball by Per Mertesacker 1
37 ADVANTAGE ARS NC Milner was offside but Arsenal keeper had the ball in his hands unchallenged and had already tried to start up an attack and only then the ref gave the offside decision and stopped play. Should have played on 3
37 OFFSIDE MNC NC Milner was offside but Arsenal keeper had the ball in his hands unchallenged and had already tried to start up an attack and only then the ref gave the offside decision and stopped play. Should have played on 2
38 THROW IN ARS C Wojciech Szczesny concedes a throw in. 1
40 FOUL MNC C David Silva Commits a Regular foul. 1
41 FREE KICK ARS C 1
41 THROW IN MNC C Vincent Kompany concedes a throw in. 1
42 GOAL KICK ARS C Vassiriki Abou Diaby concedes a goal kick. 1
42 CORNER ARS C Kieran Gibbs concedes a corner kick. 1
43 GOAL KICK MNC C James Milner concedes a goal kick. 1
45 THROW IN MNC C David Silva concedes a throw in. 1
45 FOUL ARS C Thomas Vermaelen Commits a Regular foul. 1
45 YELLOW ARS C Thomas Vermaelen recieves a YellowCard for the following reason: Foul. 1
46 FREE KICK MNC C Francisco Javier García Fernández takes a direct free kick. 1
Period 2
Min Type From On C/NC Reviewer Comment Weight
39 YELLOW MNC NC Throw in for Arsenal and Clichy kicks the ball 10 meters further up the pitch in the wrong direction. Clearly with intent time wasting 3
45 OFFSIDE ARS C Theo Walcott is played offside by Vincent Kompany from a ball by Vassiriki Abou Diaby 1
46 OFFSIDE MNC C Pablo Zabaleta is played offside by Kieran Gibbs from a ball by Vincent Kompany 1
47 OFFSIDE ARS C Theo Walcott is played offside by Matija Nastasic from a ball by Santiago Cazorla 1
47 THROW IN MNC C Edin Dzeko concedes a throw in. 1
49 GOAL KICK MNC C Edin Dzeko concedes a goal kick. 1
49 FOUL MNC C Matija Nastasic Commits a Regular foul. 1
49 FREE KICK ARS C 1
49 FOUL ARS C Jack Wilshere Commits a Regular foul. 1
50 FREE KICK MNC C Matija Nastasic takes a direct free kick. 1
50 FOUL MNC C David Silva Commits a Regular foul. 1
50 FREE KICK ARS C Jack Wilshere takes a direct free kick. 1
51 THROW IN ARS C Santiago Cazorla concedes a throw in. 1
51 THROW IN MNC C James Milner concedes a throw in. 1
52 THROW IN ARS C Vassiriki Abou Diaby concedes a throw in. 1
52 FOUL MNC C Edin Dzeko Commits a Regular foul. 1
52 FREE KICK ARS C Thomas Vermaelen takes a direct free kick. 1
52 THROW IN MNC C Gaël Clichy concedes a throw in. 1
53 FOUL ARS C Bacary Sagna Commits a Regular foul. 1
54 FREE KICK MNC C David Silva takes a direct free kick. 1
54 THROW IN MNC C Gaël Clichy concedes a throw in. 1
54 FOUL MNC C James Milner Commits a Regular foul. 1
54 YELLOW MNC C James Milner recieves a YellowCard for the following reason: Foul. 1
55 FREE KICK ARS C Wojciech Szczesny takes a direct free kick. 1
55 FOUL MNC ARS NC Push while Gibbs was hanging in the air, not given 3
55 THROW IN ARS NC Should have been a free kick to Arsenal 1
55 FREE KICK ARS NC Should have been a free kick to Arsenal 3
55 FOUL ARS C Lukas Podolski Commits a Regular foul. 1
55 FREE KICK MNC C Carlos Tévez takes a direct free kick. 1
56 THROW IN ARS C Kieran Gibbs concedes a throw in. 1
56 THROW IN ARS C Lukas Podolski concedes a throw in. 1
58 THROW IN ARS C Wojciech Szczesny concedes a throw in. 1
59 FOUL MNC C Edin Dzeko Commits a Regular foul. 1
59 YELLOW MNC NC I see no difference with the yellow card that he gave Vermaelen in the first half. Inconsistency ref. Should have been booked 3
60 FREE KICK ARS C Jack Wilshere takes a direct free kick. 1
61 GOAL KICK ARS C Aaron Ramsey concedes a goal kick. 1
62 THROW IN ARS C Kieran Gibbs concedes a throw in. 1
63 FOUL ARS C Theo Walcott Commits a Regular foul. 1
63 YELLOW ARS NC Now a similar foul from an Arsenal player like Dzeko did one is a booking. complete inconsistency. 3
63 FREE KICK MNC C Matija Nastasic takes a direct free kick. 1
64 THROW IN MNC C Edin Dzeko concedes a throw in. 1
64 FOUL MNC C Matija Nastasic Commits a Regular foul. 1
64 YELLOW MNC NC Stopped what could be a promising run with a strong challenge. Should have been booked 3
65 FREE KICK ARS C Jack Wilshere takes a direct free kick. 1
65 GOAL KICK ARS C Santiago Cazorla concedes a goal kick. 1
66 FOUL ARS NC Ref makes a strange gesture but nothing to see that was a foul 3
66 FREE KICK MNC NC No foul so no free kick 3
67 CORNER ARS C Bacary Sagna concedes a corner kick. 1
67 YELLOW MNC NC Barry waits a long time before picking up the ball for a throw in. Ref blows his whistle to indicate to hurry up. And then Barry drops the ball to the floor to give it to Clichy to take the throw. Ref is making a fool of himself by not carding Barry for this clear time wasting. 3
67 THROW IN ARS C Jack Wilshere concedes a throw in. 1
67 FOUL MNC C Edin Dzeko Commits a Regular foul. 1
68 FREE KICK ARS C Wojciech Szczesny takes a direct free kick. 1
68 THROW IN ARS C Olivier Giroud concedes a throw in. 1
68 THROW IN MNC C James Milner concedes a throw in. 1
68 FOUL MNC C Francisco Javier García Fernández Commits a Regular foul. 1
69 FREE KICK ARS C Thomas Vermaelen takes a direct free kick. 1
70 THROW IN MNC C David Silva concedes a throw in. 1
70 THROW IN MNC C David Silva concedes a throw in. 1
71 FOUL MNC C Gaël Clichy Commits a Regular foul. 1
71 YELLOW MNC C Gaël Clichy recieves a YellowCard for the following reason: Foul. 1
71 FREE KICK ARS C 1
72 GOAL KICK ARS C Olivier Giroud concedes a goal kick. 1
73 THROW IN ARS C Kieran Gibbs concedes a throw in. 1
74 FOUL MNC C Vincent Kompany Commits a Regular foul. 1
74 RED MNC C Vincent Kompany recieves a RedCard for the following reason: Foul. Possible dangerous tackle going off the ground launching himself in a frontal tackle studs showing. Ref has to judge if it could have injured a player. It surely can. 1
75 YELLOW MNC C Francisco Javier García Fernández recieves a YellowCard for the following reason: OffTheBallFoul. 1
75 FREE KICK ARS C Santiago Cazorla takes a direct free kick. 1
76 FOUL ARS C Theo Walcott Commits a Regular foul. 1
77 FREE KICK MNC C Gareth Barry takes a direct free kick. 1
77 FOUL ARS C Olivier Giroud Commits a Regular foul. 1
77 FREE KICK MNC C Joleon Lescott takes a direct free kick. 1
80 GOAL KICK MNC C James Milner concedes a goal kick. 1
80 FOUL ARS C Theo Walcott Commits a Handball foul. 1
81 FREE KICK MNC C Matija Nastasic takes a direct free kick. 1
81 THROW IN MNC C Edin Dzeko concedes a throw in. 1
82 FOUL MNC ARS NC late challenge from Dzeko who catches Ramsey 3
82 2ND YELLOW MNC NC Another late challenge from Dzeko, not his first and again he escapes the yellow card. Not even given seconds later when City commit another foul. 4
82 FREE KICK ARS NC for the foul from Dzeko 3
82 FOUL MNC C David Silva Commits a Regular foul. 1
82 FREE KICK ARS C Jack Wilshere takes a direct free kick. 1
83 THROW IN MNC C David Silva concedes a throw in. 1
84 THROW IN MNC C Gareth Barry concedes a throw in. 1
85 THROW IN MNC C Edin Dzeko concedes a throw in. 1
85 FOUL MNC C Gareth Barry Commits a Regular foul. 1
86 YELLOW MNC C Gareth Barry recieves a YellowCard for the following reason: Foul. 1
86 FREE KICK ARS C Santiago Cazorla takes a direct free kick. 1
87 CORNER MNC C Gareth Barry concedes a corner kick. 1
88 THROW IN MNC C David Silva concedes a throw in. 1
88 FOUL MNC C Mario Balotelli Commits a Handball foul. 1
89 FREE KICK ARS C Wojciech Szczesny takes a direct free kick. 1
90 GOAL KICK ARS C Theo Walcott concedes a goal kick. 1
90 THROW IN ARS C Kieran Gibbs concedes a throw in. 1
92 CORNER ARS C Thomas Vermaelen concedes a corner kick. 1
93 GOAL KICK MNC C Gareth Barry concedes a goal kick. 1
93 FOUL MNC C Aleksandar Kolarov Commits a Regular foul. 1
93 FREE KICK ARS C Bacary Sagna takes a direct free kick. 1
95 GOAL KICK ARS C Jack Wilshere concedes a goal kick. 1
95 THROW IN MNC C James Milner concedes a throw in. 1

Let us have a look at his competence numbers in this game

COMPETENCY SUMMARY – Mike Dean (2013-01-13)
Period 1 Called Total Correct %
ADVANTAGE 0 1 0.00
CORNER 6 6 100.00
DROP BALL 0 1 0.00
FOUL 9 12 75.00
FREE KICK 8 11 72.73
GOAL 2 2 100.00
GOAL KICK 9 9 100.00
OFFSIDE 1 2 50.00
PENALTY 1 1 100.00
RED 1 1 100.00
THROW IN 21 21 100.00
YELLOW 1 3 33.33
TOTAL 59 70 84.29
WEIGHTED 59 91 64.84
Period 2 Called Total Correct %
2ND YELLOW 0 1 0.00
CORNER 3 3 100.00
FOUL 21 24 87.50
FREE KICK 21 24 87.50
GOAL KICK 8 8 100.00
OFFSIDE 3 3 100.00
RED 1 1 100.00
THROW IN 24 25 96.00
YELLOW 4 9 44.44
TOTAL 85 98 86.73
WEIGHTED 85 123 69.11
Totals Called Total Correct %
2ND YELLOW 0 1 0.00
ADVANTAGE 0 1 0.00
CORNER 9 9 100.00
DROP BALL 0 1 0.00
FOUL 30 36 83.33
FREE KICK 29 35 82.86
GOAL 2 2 100.00
GOAL KICK 17 17 100.00
OFFSIDE 4 5 80.00
PENALTY 1 1 100.00
RED 2 2 100.00
THROW IN 45 46 97.83
YELLOW 5 12 41.67
TOTAL 144 168 85.71
WEIGHTED 144 214 67.29

Let us see if it evens out in this game and have a look at the bias numbers

BIAS SUMMARY – Mike Dean (2013-01-13)
Period 1 Arsenal % Manchester City % Total
Correct For 30 50.85 29 49.15 59
Correct For Weighted 30 50.85 29 49.15 59
Incorrect Against 6 60.00 4 40.00 10
Incorrect Against Weighted 18 62.07 11 37.93 29
Fouls Commited 5 41.67 7 58.33 12
Fouls Penalised 4 80.00 5 71.43 9
Period 2 Arsenal % Manchester City % Total
Correct For 52 61.18 33 38.82 85
Correct For Weighted 52 61.18 33 38.82 85
Incorrect Against 13 100.00 0 0.00 13
Incorrect Against Weighted 38 100.00 0 0.00 38
Fouls Commited 8 33.33 16 66.67 24
Fouls Penalised 7 87.50 14 87.50 21
Totals Arsenal % Manchester City % Total
Correct For 82 56.94 62 43.06 144
Correct For Weighted 82 56.94 62 43.06 144
Incorrect Against 19 82.61 4 17.39 23
Incorrect Against Weighted 56 83.58 11 16.42 67
Fouls Commited 13 36.11 23 63.89 36
Fouls Penalised 11 84.62 19 82.61 30

Please leave a comment!

The books…

The sites…

Arsenal – Stoke: crazy assistants, mad tackles and bad punches. Oh and we won.

By Walter Broeckx

So the Huns came to the Emirates and left with empty hands.  Fine.

There are teams that you want to see trashed at the Emirates. The spuds come to mind. And in fact Stoke is such a team.  Winning 6-1 against Southampton is great but you don’t get a devilish great extra feeling doing this. After all Southampton are a rather  nice club with no bad blood running between both clubs.

But with Stoke this is different. So if we could beat them with a big score you have two great feelings coming together. But in a way winning 1-0 against them with a hard fought victory with a goal at the end is in fact almost as good as a trashing. Because now they had hope for getting away with a point with their terrible tactics. And then suddenly we scored with a deflected free kick and they have to go home with no points. This brings the  great devilish feeling. Beating them with their own weapons.

I can imagine the usual suspects coming over here and telling us how bad we are and how doomed we are. I think those characters will have been as disappointed as Pukes or what’s his name?

Wenger made 5 changes compared to the Liverpool game. We must remember Stoke had one day more rest between their Tuesday fixture than we had. So a  smart move in my opinion. Vermaelen was out and so was Gibbs. And then he gave a rest to Cazorla, Podolski and Ramsey.

It was very much one way football. The BBC gave Stoke more possession in their stats but that must be down for counting the time the ball was out of play and they were time wasting as possession. But all the other statistics were pretty much in favour of Arsenal.

We struggled to break down their 10 man defensive line. It was a game where we had to take the few chances we would have. Stoke is the champion of the draws and of the 0-0 score line so we had make sure we took that we could get. We didn’t so it became a long and frustrating game.  With not many chances. They can defend, Stoke, that is for sure.

Wenger brought Podolski and Cazorla in the second half and it paid off.  When Walcott was fouled it was Podolski who placed himself behind the ball. And his shot went in taking a deflection from a Stoke defender. Yeeeeeaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhh! We all shouted.  And then suddenly ……we saw an assistant with his flag raised.

First the facts:

  1. When Podolski took his free kick Walcott was standing in an offside position. He was the player the furthest away from all the players and from the assistant.
  2. The ball was shot in the middle some 10 meters away from where Walcott was standing.
  3. In the middle no Arsenal player was offside or even close to the ball (apart from Podolski who took the shot of course)

Now being an assistant myself these days most of the time I know a few things about the job of the assistant.  And I know the problems you can have at times. But if the assistant couldn’t see that Walcott wasn’t interfering at all in this situation he should have his vision checked. Maybe he has a problem with depth perception. If so then I am sorry but then he should stop being an assistant.

If his vision is ok and I hope the FA checks this every now and then, then this is the strangest flag raising I have seen for a long, long while.  This was a disgrace if you ask me. And I think Foy knew that all too well and so he overruled the assistant rightly so.

That was a total embarrassment for the assistant who on a few occasions seemed not really completely up to his task. And I feel sorry to say this but he himself drew the wrong sort of attention upon himself this afternoon.

Towards the end there were a few other incidents and the ref this time didn’t take enough control of. After we scored Stoke became even more aggressive and then Shawcross came in with this studs and slid in the body of Koscielny who had cleared the ball. He got a yellow card (Shawcross) but once again he came flying in like the complete lunatic he is. Breaking Ramsey is leg clearly isn’t enough for this embarrassment  of a football player.  Lucky for him Foy gave him a yellow card so he once again can escape what he deserved and that would be another ban for a red card.  But well we know that Shawcross is ‘not that type of player’ by now. Puke.

Tempers were raised because of the bad spell from the ref and when Arteta went in strong on Owen the ref gave no foul. It was a foul from Arteta and should have been a booking as far as I can see. And then Owen threw a punch at Arteta that missed him. Again the ref didn’t see that. On MOTD the “experts” showed it and laughed it away saying it was nothing as it was a bad punch and didn’t really hit Arteta.

Well another example on how little they actually know about the rules but still try to indoctrinate the general public with their nonsense. In fact when you throw a punch or try to throw a punch it is the same. The offence is throwing a punch towards an opponent. The offence is not if it hit the opponent or not. No the throwing itself is the offence and should be punished with a red card.

Another example is that if a player throws  a ball in anger towards another player, ref or spectator this player should get a red card. And then again it doesn’t matter if the ball that was thrown makes contact or not. Such actions don’t belong on a football field.

My final words go to Nacho Monreal who made his début after only one training with the team and having signed a contract some 36 hours before. I think he did his job in a sober way. He had a few misunderstandings in this game as can be expected when you are thrown in to the deep.  I remember him joining the attack a few times but being overseen a bit, maybe because of the absence of Podolski on the left flank.

On one occasion he made a good run when he combined with Wilshere and his cross was dangerous but Shawcross I think could get it out of the way just before the onrushing Giroud. Defensively he looked solid and I cannot really remember him getting out of position in this game. So a good solid start from the left back who I feel will grow when he gets used to his teammates a bit better.

1-0 against the thugs from Stoke (they sure lived up to their bad name), a clean sheet. A good début.  What more can you want.  Chelsea losing, Everton dropping points… I know what more that I want. Let’s hope it happens on Sunday.

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