Laurent Koscielny will be Thomas Vermaelen’s first-choice partner, he is definitely an upgrade on William Gallas.

Compared to the former Arsenal skipper, Koscielny has more grit and relishes the ugly, physical side of the game (watch his tangles with Kuyt, Jovanovic and then Torres) while his heading ability is quite as reliable as Vermaelen’s.

Gallas was a decent defender, but only on days he chose to show up, and his lack of persistent physicality (which saw him pushed over by the likes of Agbonlahor and Defoe in the past) often saw his partners Toure and Vermaelen forced to claim the responsibility of being the ‘tough guy’.

From observations of him at Anfield, it looks as though Koscielny’s much-speculated size is of little concern and it actually suits Arsenal’s game because his mobility will occasionally help the team going forward and of course, like his race with Torres showed, quick strikers will not terrorize him much.

Now what he needs is another back-up to join Djourou!


For those still skeptic about Koscielny because of his average size, I think the talk of Arsenal being ‘bullied pussies’ in recent years has gotten too much into your head that you guys now want giants or nothing.

But I feel in a defender, athleticism and enough physical strength is not necessarily measured by size – Vidic, Verm and Skrtel are not ‘giants’ are they?.

Getting a big, tall, but slow Hangeland or Mertesacker will see us struggle against quick strikers like Anelka and Defoe. So we have to balance size and athleticism here.

If his size is OK and he has bags of strength and pace, I will prefer him over a bullish giant.

The reason why we are being called ‘pussies’ is because we get too many skillful midgets (Arshavin, Rosicky, Walcott, etc.) who like the game pretty or nothing else and we had centre-backs like Gallas who defended better with the ball on the ground or attacking-mindedly.

But you should notice that (not just by their looks) players like Verm and Kos are bringing the ‘Keown’ feeling back. Last season, it took until March for an Arsenal player to get a red card and it was Vermaelen. This year, Koscielny has done it quick.

Red cards are not great achievements, but in our case, it rids that ‘pussy’ tag and Koscielny will only help bring tough back. Because we need it!

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