The first four games of this season saw the Frenchman play three times for his country and open the Premier League season at home to Aston Villa. In his opening matches Koscielny was on the losing side on three occasions out of the four matches, drawing once, and received four yellow cards – one being a second yellow resulting in a red. Since his poor start to the season, Laurent has played 19 games for club and country without receiving a caution, and losing only three times (Champion’s League home game versus Borussia Dortmund, the Capital One cup tie home to Chelsea and the 1-0 loss at Old Trafford in the league to Man United).
Koscielny won 14 of the 18 games since his red card against Aston Villa, but most recently he was sent off in the 2-0 loss in Ukraine in the World Cup Qualifier meaning he was suspended for the return leg in Paris. France were able to turn the match around in the second leg and qualify without the need for Koscielny. The Frenchman’s short comings have been rescued by his German counterpart Per Mertesacker who scored the solitary goal at Wembley to beat England.
The partnership began when Thomas Vermaelen was dropped in the crucial Champion’s League second leg match against Bayern Munich last season and the Gunners kept a clean sheet which was an achievement no other team accomplished. The key statistic Wenger will be enjoying about Laurent Koscielny is his pass completion at 92.5% across the Premier League and Champion’s League. Since the first game of the season where the Frenchman was dismissed for a second yellow, his partnership with Mertesacker has been almost impermeable. The only points the partnership has dropped in the league has been at West Brom – this year’s giant slayers.
The only other game the French-German relationship was able to be beaten was the Champion’s League clash at home to Borussia Dortmund. In the 13 matches the two have played together since Laurent’s red card the Gunners have dropped only 5 points from a potential 39. Thomas Vermaelen will find it very difficult to break back into this Arsenal side and if their form continues Koscielny and Mertesacker will be the best centre back pairing in the Premier League. Another key statistic to note is that since Koscielny’s red card neither him nor Mertesacker have been booked in the 13 matches they’ve played together.
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