Analysing the strengths and weaknesses of each Arsenal Centre Back
Arsenal begin their first season without Arsene Wenger in charge on Sunday, when they play host to the defending champions, Manchester City. While the game would go some way in establishing the Gunners’ credentials, Emery would have liked an easier fixture to get the ball rolling.
A major criticism of Wenger’s latter years in charge was that the Gunners were a little lightweight and had a ‘soft underbelly’. Emery would like to shed off that tag quickly and make Arsenal a tough nut to crack.
Emery moved in the market to bring in defensive reinforcements in the form of Sokratis and Lichtsteiner to complement the likes of Mustafi, Koscielny and Holding. He also made the strange decision of letting Chambers leave on loan, which leaves Arsenal a little short in the defensive third.
Through the course of this article, we would focus on an area Arsenal have seemingly neglected for the better part of a decade. I will try to throw some light on the shortcomings of each Centre Back while highlighting their strengths.
#1 Laurent Koscielny
Laurent Koscielny was appointed club captain after Per Mertesacker assumed his role as head of the academy. Towards the end of last season, his achilles problem resurfaced and he now faces an extended period on the side-lines. However, he still remains Arsenal’s most trustworthy Centre Back.
Strengths: He is a good reader of the game and shows good pace on the cover. Koscielny also possess the ability to come up with last-ditch tackles to bail the team out of trouble. To supplement this, he has the uncanny knack of coming up with crucial goals from set-pieces.
Weaknesses: He gets outmuscled sometimes against strong, physical centre forwards. Diego Costa and Andy Carroll have in particular, troubled him quite often. With age, the number of errors in his game are creeping up.
Arsenal would want him back on the pitch sooner rather than later as he still represents Arsenal’s best option as the left-sided Centre Back.