Laurent Koscielny recently gave an interview to SFR Sport about defending in the Premier League, and why he loves it so much.
Arsenal’s French centre-back is a key component of the defence whenever he’s fit, and the Gunners look much more solid with him in the team. But even then, Arsenal never find it easy to completely shut teams out. Koscielny told SFR Sport why he thinks this is, saying (as translated by Gunnerstown.com): “I think in Premier League, we have several amazing strikers. They can score a lot of goals, week in week out.
“As a defender, you know you have be ready, to be completely focused every game. You know you will have to put physical pressure each game you play. As a defender, the Premier League is the best, the most difficult league.”
“You have to show your opponent you are ready for the fight during 90 minutes.”
Then Laurent explained what he enjoys about his role: “What I really like in my job as a defender is challenges. To be one-on-one with a player, trying to guess his next move, is a good way for a defender to improve.
“Every striker is different, you can always learn from challenging. In fact, I really love to be a defender.”
It’s hard to deny the attacking quality all over the Premier League at the moment. Lukaku, Agüero, Kane, Morata, Gabriel Jesus, there so many quality strikers scoring goals week after week, and no two on that list are exactly alike, each brings something different to the table.
Being able to adapt to each challenge is key. Lukaku’s intelligence and presence, Agüero’s clinical finishing and pace, Morata’s aerial threat, you have to be able to deal with all of it to be a useful defender for a club like Arsenal.
To Koscielny’s credit, he is one of the most adaptable defenders in the Gunners’ back line. Mertesacker obviously has aerial presence, Bellerín has pace, Monreal reads the play well to make interceptions, but I’d say Koscielny has the best mix of the lot.
Hopefully he can get over his Achilles issues as soon as possible, because that’s the one thing holding him back right now.