Laurent Koscielny believes he’s improved at Arsenal, especially in the air, but is still wary of new Liverpool forward Christian Benteke.
When we originally signed Koscielny in 2010 from Lorient for a reported £10m, I don’t think anyone, except maybe Wenger, could have predicted the centre-back he would go on to become.
The defender has caught the attention of some of the biggest clubs in Europe, including most recently Real Madrid, but appears happy to remain at Arsenal where he’s a fan favourite.
“I’ve improved my technique, my physical strength, my position on the pitch and my duels with the striker,” he said. “I feel I’ve improved every year, each season I’m better, so I hope it will continue like this each year.”
The defender explained, “My biggest development has been in aerial duels. For a centre back that is very important when you are playing against a lot of long balls. We need to win these duels, find our feet to win the ball back and play, so maybe this is my most important quality. But everything is important.
“Psychologically you have to be prepared as there is a lot of pressure every game because we always want to win. All the games are important so you need to be ready in your body and in your head – so the two parts are important.”
Speaking ahead of our match against Liverpool on Monday, the defender is making sure not to underestimate Liverpool forward, Benteke.
“We had a good game against Aston Villa in the FA Cup final but the other games against Benteke will be harder,” Kos said. “I know him and every game is hard against him. He’s a big professional who gives his all for the team and to score.”
The centre-back added, “He loves the duels and he loves the goal so it will be harder this time. Just because we won by three or four against a team last season doesn’t mean you will again. We can do it again, but each game you need to improve yourself so you are ready to win.”
The striker signed for the Merseyside team from Aston Villa this summer and has a fairly decent record against us, scoring three goals in six appearances.
The fact that Kos knows not to take the battle for granted and realises the threat which Benteke can cause, in theory, should mean he’s adequately prepared enough to deal with him.