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

26 comments

Here is a full list of summer transfers in 2015. It's getting very busy now...

Football People On TV: Danny Murphy

6 comments

For me, I'll tell you what, oh my days, there's something quite likeable about Danny Murphy - even if he has the sunken eyes of a man with a lot of demons...

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

I

m pretty sure van Gaal has created his own dialect.

parsy12
LVG: Herrera better at No.10

W

hy do ye insist on making out Spurs are a bigger club than Everton? Blatant London bias here

Nutboy
Have The Top Six Met Their Targets?

N

ot even Bosnich: The United Year(s) by Victor Valdes. Coming to a bookshop near you soon.

sailingmagpie
Valdes set to leave United for Besiktas

Latest Photos

Footer 365

Louis van Gaal: We were too dominant to change

Louis van Gaal has claimed Manchester United were "too dominant" to react to Swansea's tactical change in their 2-1 Premier League defeat.

Garry Monk has praised 'brave' Swansea following their 2-1 win over Manchester United

Garry Monk has labelled Swansea as 'brave' following their 2-1 victory over Manchester United at the Liberty Stadium on Sunday.

Goals from Andre Ayew and Bafetimbi Gomis helped Swansea to a 2-1 win over Manchester United

Swansea came from behind to secure a 2-1 victory over Manchester United thanks to second-half goals from Andre Ayew and Bafetimbi Gomis.

Mail Box

Brendan Rodgers Just Isn't Good Enough...

That's the general consensus in a bumper Mailbox, which says we have reached 'Peak Brendan'. Also, Arsenal don't need a striker, and is Klopp being lined up by Chelsea?

It's Stupid To Write Off Coquelin Now...

Francis Coquelin gets the staunch backing of one mailer, while Lazar Markovic is given a fond farewell. Plus hat-tricks, ideal teams, the north, Stones and a Son song...

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