Friday, August 12, 2022

Koscielny and Mustafi’s Partnership: Have Arsenal Found The Last Piece Of The Puzzle?

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Prasoon Sur
Prasoon is a law student who lives in the North East of India. Wildly innovative, football is more than a passion for him.

To say that the breeze of optimism had not flown across the Emirates Stadium post the ‘Invincibles’ season would be similar to making a completely absurd statement. The last decade has witnessed Arsenal making it’s fans dream of the silverware alongside boasting about the prospective league triumph until the first half of the campaign.
Sadly, trophies aren’t handed in December. Come the merry month of May, the top four finishes and the sudden urge to claim territorial dominance were the sources of solace which the fans needed to satisfy themselves with. Basically, St. Totteringham’s Day has been celebrated as a league triumph in the recent years. Sigh!

Alike the other seasons, the whispers of hope started to take the centre stage after the closure of the summer transfer window. But unlike every other season, there seems to be a touch of promise and practicality this time around after what transpired in the transfer market.

More than anyone else, the urgency of adding a centre back with a notable reputation held the key in the transfer window. Contrary to the customs set by Arsène Wenger, he did throw truckloads of cash (in the vicinity of £35 million, if the reports are to be believed) to buy a player who was earmarked by the gaffer himself. Valencia CF were lured by the humungous amount of cash which they could not refuse, implying that the plea of the Arsenal faithful were finally answered.

Shkodran Mustafi was the one recruited by the Gunners this summer and undoubtedly, he has been a brilliant addition to Arsenal’s defence which had been crying for a substantial addition since ages. Ageing Per Mertesacker and inexperienced youngster Rob Holding are the two central defenders who are in the extremes of their career, with the former on the verge of wearing down and the latter just warming himself up. Including the newly added 24-year-old into the armoury, the balance of the team seems to have been met perfectly. The German international has taken very little time to settle alongside the player who deserves to put on the captain’s armband: Laurent Koscielny.

Koscielny’s contributions to Arsenal have simply been unparallel ever since the debacle in the last minute of the 2011 League Cup Final against Birmingham City took place. Time and again, the Frenchman has saved Arsenal’s blushes and has steadily stabled the otherwise shivering ship. The mobility, preciseness, ability to read the game which he possesses barely has a match, at least in the Premier League.

In Mustafi, Koscielny seems to have found the perfect partner who can very well match the pace and strength of the latter. The duo has added considerable mettle to Arsenal’s defence and apparently, there is a gritty resolve in the defensive nous for the North London outfit. Together, they have been eradicating the loopholes in Arsenal’s defence and adding a sense of unmatchable confidence and leadership right from where it matters the most.

Having the luxury to employ both the French as well as the German internationals, Arsenal have accumulated the right pedigree and tenacity to lead them to the glory days one again. The two being good in making the right moves, avoiding unwanted chaos, and having a commanding presence in the air, they have instilled an element of discipline along with leadership and have imposed themselves as tough nuts to crack. Although Koscielny has vehemently improvised himself to reach where he is now, his other half has already shown his potential and gave a glimpse of the benefits he can yield for Arsenal.

Statistically speaking, together they have won 21 tackles, made 42 interceptions, 79 clearances and 10 blocks in the Premier League with absolutely no defensive errors to dent their incessantly glittering season so far. An analogy between the defence of the red half of North London and that of now would definitely urge us to eulogise the current setup with no doubt whatsoever.

As a consequence of the 4-1 win over Sunderland at the Stadium of Light on Saturday (let’s be generous and credit Olivier Giroud for his brace after a comeback as well, which is really not easy), Arsenal extended their unbeaten run to 14 games in all competitions, and a large chunk of credit goes to the pair of veteran centre-backs. They have been taming the attackers with ease, with perfection and with a class.At the moment, the

At the moment, the thirteen-time league winners find themselves second in the league table, behind Manchester City on goal difference. Considering the hostility that Premier League has on its tray, branding Wenger’s men as the favourites to clinch the league title would be a premature evaluation but with what has been derived so far (thanks to the resilient duo at the back), it won’t be delusional to underline that the Gunners are indeed a serious title contender this season.

Statistics Credit: Squawka.

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