Koscielny: I'm more at ease

France defender Laurent Koscielny admits he now feels "at ease" at Arsenal - and has a greater "physical presence".

Last Updated: 10/09/13 at 14:43 Post Comment

Laurent Koscielny: Feels he has greater physical presence

Laurent Koscielny: Feels he has greater physical presence

The 28-year-old centre-back started alongside Per Mertesacker in Arsenal's opening game of the season - but picked up two bookings and saw red in a 3-1 defeat to Aston Villa.

He missed the 3-1 win at Fulham but returned against Fenerbahce in the Champions League, only to suffer a kick in the head which briefly saw Bacary Sagna fill in at the centre of Arsenal's defence.

Koscielny was back on the bench for the return leg against Fenerbahce, who were beaten 5-0 on aggregate, but he was back alongside Mertesacker for the north London derby with Spurs and was the rock on which a hard-fought 1-0 victory was built.

The Frenchman admits Arsene Wenger's trust in him helps his confidence - and he feels he has improved his game massively since moving to England.

He told L'Equipe: "Playing a lot of big matches in the Premier League allows you to gain experience.

"I can still make mistakes, but rarely do I play badly for a whole match. After a mistake, you just have to start again.

"My character is calm and serene, so that helps on the pitch. The coach's trust also helps as it allows to liberate yourself and not worry about dropping to the bench if you make a mistake.

"For some months, I've felt better on several levels. In England, you have to be more aggressive in all levels: speed, control, passing, challenges in the air, anticipation... and I've got more physical presence.

"But you will never hear me saying I am unquestionable in the starting XI, either for my club or the national team."

Communication better

Mertesacker, Koscielny, Carl Jenkinson and Kieran Gibbs have emerged as Wenger's first-choice defensive line-up for this season - and Koscielny admits his communication skills have improved too.

"Am I the real boss of the Arsenal defence?" he said. "I try to talk more. One of my drawbacks is communication, so I am working on that.

"In defence, just one word can solve a problem. This season I feel more at ease at the club, notably considering the language.

"How can I still improve? Maybe scoring more often from free-kicks. But if I always score a £20million goal, that's fine!"

Arsenal pipped Tottenham to fourth spot in the Premier League last season with a 1-0 victory over Newcastle United at St James' Park, where Koscielny volleyed home the winner from six yards out.

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terling needs to be told though that upon entering the Arsenal squad he will re-enact the final scene from Highlander where he will be thrown around a warehouse by cartoon dragons and then be a mere mortal that will only ever spend three to four weeks a season playing football and the rest on the physio's bed. There can be only one.....player available at The Emirates.

rodger's gusset
Arsenal interest in Sterling

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he game changed in our favour when Carrick came on. We were able to play further up the pitch due to having a player who can give and go with the ball and keep possession. Yet barkley made some runs and Townsend scored a good goal but carrick's inclusion and chiellini's withdrawal made the biggest difference to the flow of the game

ricky villa
Hodgson: Barkley was brilliant

N

o, you've not silenced anyone Andros, i'm afraid. We know you can score a great goal, and it's really handy to have your direct running and willingness to shoot on the bench. But until you can do the other things expected of a winger (beat the man, put a decent cross in, stay wide etc) then you can't expect more than a regular cameo. Wonderful goal though, what a hit! No wonder Buffon wanted the shirt.

badwolf
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