Laurent Koscielny put in a solid performance against Spurs on Saturday afternoon but has he still got that same ability, which prompted Gooners to nickname him ‘the Boss’ in the first place?
For the last season and a half, Kos hasn’t seemed like the player he used to be. Whereas before we could always rely on the France international to dig us out of trouble or to make a last-ditch tackle to save the game, he’s seemed slower and not as sharp as he did between 2012 and 2015.
Although Kos is 32, that’s not super-old when it comes to centre-backs. Therefore, the idea that he would be past if after just a handful of good years under his belt doesn’t sit right with me.
I’m a firm believer that the reason that Kos has seemed off the pace has been to do with his Achilles problems. He admits that he has to undergo treatment for it every morning and whether it’s actual pain that’s preventing him from reaching his previous potential or just being overly cautious, there’s definitely something not right there.
This was proven during his performance against Spurs. He missed out on France’s friendly against Germany because of the ongoing problem and seemed a little skittish at the beginning of the North London Derby. Once or twice he allowed Spurs to out-fox him and get in behind, which is unlike the Kos we know.
However, as his muscles warmed up, his confidence seemed to as well.
Kos went on to win three tackles, make four interceptions and 11 clearances, making up for his earlier sloppiness and helping to keep a clean sheet.
It wasn’t his best game for Arsenal but it was solid and proof that he’s still got it, despite many believing he’s already over the hill. Just not 100% fit.
However, I don’t think this is a problem that’ll improve, which is a shame.
Although Kos isn’t not old, he’s no spring chicken either and if surgery was the answer for his Achilles, all he had has to do is look at Santi Cazorla to see how badly that can go wrong. It could potentially end a career.
Therefore, for all we know, he might have already made the decision to play through it until he can’t any longer. He’s already decided to retire from international football after the World Cup in Russia next year. Perhaps this is because he wants to fully concentrate on his form for Arsenal during his final few years at the top level.
Hopefully this allows him to get the rest he needs during international breaks.