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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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Readers' Comments

H

ow are people still backing Arsenal for the title? It's like you're predicting the tide not to come in; Arsenal will finish third or fourth and make the quarter final of the Champions League. It was ever thus.

thefuldutch
F365's Season Predictions

N

othing screams 'Panic!!' when your new manager brings Fellaini on as a sub for your star signing of the summer and within 5 minutes you concede the winner. I know it is only the first game in but I would seriously be sh1**ng myself I was a Man Utd supporter. This has the potential of being very nasty indeed.

stevemelbourne
Now Are You Nervous, Louis?

I

n the words of Pete Townsend, meet the new boss, the same as the old boss. Though I would comment that it's 3 more points than we picked up in the same fixture last year, so that's a 100% improvement.

uncle monty
No Sign That Liverpool Will Lessen Attacking Intent

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