Koscielny: The Man Who Doesn't Make Sense

Laurent Koscielny is not a bad defender. Indeed, he's rather a good one, but in his latest look at the personalities that define our game Andi Thomas finds something not right...

Last Updated: 23/08/12 at 15:53 Post Comment

Latest Articles

The Completed Summer Transfers List

3 comments

Here is a full list of summer transfers in 2015. It's sparse now but it will get busy...

Signing Petr Cech: The Ultimate No Brainer

2 comments

David Ospina may consider himself unfortunate to lose his first-team place, but Arsene Wenger has finally been ruthless. Petr Cech is a necessary, fantastic signing...

All Articles

Once upon a time, before the internet and Championship Manager made everything better and worse, it was possible for football clubs to buy players that their twitchy-fingered fans hadn't already become experts on. Those were dark and barbaric times, yes, but we lived through them, and we emerged with a handy battery of stereotypes that we could use to understand exactly what kind of waste of money our latest waste of money was. We learned, for example, that there are basically four kinds of central defender.

Most common to English football fields is the Brutish Enforcer - lion's heart, dandelion's brain - who spends his days flinging himself at or near the ball with minimal regard for anything else in the way, however delicate, breakable, or precious.

Also on the violent side of things, though not as overtly barbaric, is the Repressed Psychopath, all latent menace and contained fury, with the dark eyes and empty smile of a man who knows what all the knives are called, and why.

The most coveted kind of centre-back is the Imperial Controller, those smug aristocrats that float around the field intercepting balls, directing team-mates, and generally making the game and the opposition look disgustingly simple.

Finally, there's the Jovial Maverick, who makes up for his inability to actually defend with hilarious Cruyff turns on the edge of his own box, frequent charges through the centre of the field, and three or four startling finishes a season. (There is an occasional English cross-breed, too, the Brutish Maverick, essentially a big lad that runs forward every now and then only to fall over before he has a chance to do anything useful. You can put your Phil Jones joke in here.)

Laurent Koscielny, however, is a man apart. He lacks the moronic vigour required to brutishly enforce anything; looks more like a repressed philatelist than a psychopath; is more mint imperial than commander; and so far his only maverick tendencies have been some excellent own goals. This failure to cleave to any of the categories brings with it the sad consequence that no defence with Koscielny at its heart will ever be entirely trustworthy. He just doesn't make sense.

At the time of writing. Wikipedia - what? This is research - describes him as "aggressive, uncompromising, and ball-playing", a description that could hardly be more generic if it read "has a nose, and knees". "Uncompromising" is a particularly lovely term for saying something where there's nothing to say, as it sort-of implies that there is such a thing as a "compromising" defender, one that agrees to let a striker through every other run, perhaps, or approaches the opposition to negotiate a reasonable percentage of headers. Calling a defender "uncompromising" is usually just a fairly inelegant variant on "so-and-so doesn't give up easily", which for a defender in the Premier League is more-or-less required.

This is not to say that Koscielny's a bad player. He's actually quite adept at the whole get-in-the-way-of-the-opposition business: reads the game well, has acceptable technique, makes some decent tackles, and certainly carries himself like a man with a reasonable pass completion percentage.

But being good is one thing; feeling right quite another. Stereotypes are the lurid buoys that guide us through a stormy, uncaring, dangerously complex universe. When people obstinately refuse to comply with them, we're lost. In a world where everybody's the new somebody, Koscielny, bless him, isn't the new anybody.

Andi Thomas

Andi also writes for SB Nation and The FCF, and is on Twitter. He also contributed to the Surreal Football Magazine #1, which is out now, and available here.

Football365 Facebook Fan Page

The Football365 fan page is a great place to meet like minded people, have football related discussions and make new friends.

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

D

on't go to England at your age, you'll either be mugged or not appreciated. Or made to lump the ball long to a bloke who looks like a mascot.

megabrow (cufc)
Beckenbauer warns Schweinsteiger

F

rom the headline I presumed he meant boots, pants, jim-jams, toothbrush and paste, passport, tickets, premier inn long-term package, Scouse-English-Portuguese-German dictionary, 'How to be a 9 and 3/4' by B. Rodgers, few dozen tins of food and Evian because you can never be sure about the local food/water...

KevinBoatang
Firmino has 'everything' for PL - Willian

H

e looked like he was playing with a plastic pound shop ball in the wind against Juve, his passing was so bad.

paddy7s
Sergio Ramos: Exactly What United Need

Latest Photos

Footer 365

Slaven Bilic missing from West Ham bench for Europa League opener

Academy manager Terry Westley will be in charge when West Ham make their Europa League debut against Andorran side FC Lusitans.

Matej Vydra joins Watford on five-year deal after two loan spells

Striker Matej Vydra is back with Watford, this time on a permanent basis after signing a five-year deal to join the club from Udinese.

Cech thanks Roman for overruling Jose

Petr Cech has thanked Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich for allowing him to join Arsenal against Jose Mourinho's wishes.

Mail Box

Are United Aiming Too High On Transfers?

One mailer wonders whether United are aiming a little high on their transfer ambitions. Plus, BAHs, West Ham in Europe, petty annoyances and Michu to United...

Liverpool Are Attractive To Strikers

You've got little competition and bags of service from midfield, so surely strikers would love to join Liverpool? Plus England's future, Callum Wilson handshakes and...

© 2015 Sky Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media company