Arsenal’s defeat of Bayern Munich on Tuesday proved to be a busy night for French center-back Laurent Koscielny.
With a quality performance in defence, Koscielny helped the team to a clean sheet, and was also involved in Giroud’s opener from a set piece.
Koscielny was at the heart of the defence and spent a lot of time communicating with Per Mertesacker and Nacho Monreal to ensure the defense was keeping as tight as possible. He mainly maintained the relationship with the Spanish full back to make sure no one was making runs inside them, and was nearly doubling up at times on the left side.
With Bayern averaging around 70% of the possession, Arsenal were forced to defend deep and the back four was kept on their toes by Müller’s runs and Lewandowski’s attempts to move into pocket of spaces. Most of the game, they were to no avail.
The battle with the Polish striker was quite intense and he made a few saving tackles, in the 1st, 4th, 75th and a crucial piece of defending in the 92nd minute, when he resist going into a sliding tackle and potentially give away a penalty.
He also won many headers with four headed clearances and conceded four corners overall. In terms of defensive availability he was also seen very often going out of the defence to take the Bayern forward that was sitting between the lines in order to exert pressure and prevent the forward to bring players in and find space in behind the fullbacks with reverse passes.
His attackinging contribution was crucial as he helped creating the opener from the free kick that led to Giroud’s goal. He challenged Müller for the header and ended up preventing Neuer from catching the ball that hit Giroud head and hand to end up in the back of the net.
The only disappointment in his game tonight was a distribution that was uneven with some passes going ashtray and straight into touch, mixed with quality vertical ball to Özil and Coquelin and a lateral one late in the game to Bellerin.
It was a very good performance from the French center-back overall. Solid and tenacious in defending the penalty area and he contributed superbly to the important clean sheet against a Bayern side that had scored five in their last UEFA Champions League group stage games.