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Laurent Koscielny Calls Time on his International Career

Image result for koscielny france

So after two long months, I’m back to writing about the club I love so much. As you’d expect from the international break, nothing much has been happening, except Germany and their continues woes post- Ozil. The Netherlands has been a nation on the decline, since they reached the World Cup final in 2010, but Ronald Koeman’s side put the Germans to the sword with three unreplied goals. Even that former Manchester United wasteman, Memphis Depay, was on peek Cristiano Ronaldo mode or something.

The biggest news from an Arsenal perspective is the retirement of club captain, Laurent Koscielny, from international football. Koscielny served his country 51 times, featuring in two European Championships (2012 & 2016) and the 2014 FIFA World Cup. A nasty injury suffered in May cost Koscielny his place in the 2018 FIFA World Cup and it must have hurt a lot, watching his countrymen lift the trophy.

He even admitted that it hurt him a lot missing on the mundial, and while a part of him was happy to see them win football’s biggest prize, his more evil side hoped they were eliminated. Typically, you would expect that retiring from his country clearly means that he wants to concentrate on playing regular club football, but it’s not so surprising to know that our captain is itching for a move back to Ligue 1 to as his career reaches its twilight. With the likes of Mustafi, Holding, Chambers, Mavropanos and this season’s new addition, Sokratis, in our ranks, we are quite stacked up with our fair share of centerbacks, but none can make up Koscielny’s experience and leadership.

He is expected to resume action some time in late November / early December and I’m pretty sure that Unai Emery has major plans for his captain this season. In recent seasons, Arsenal captains turned out to be bench warmers as they reached the ends of their careers with the club but I’m certain that such a fate will not befall Koscielny.

I wish him the best as he continues with his long recovery from injury.

Sayonara.

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Arsenal Euro 2016 Update: Giroud Opens Scoring as France Beat Romania

There is always that measure of pressure that comes playing an international tournament in front of your own turf. For the case of Olivier Giroud, there was some extra pressure as he was favored ahead of Karim Benzema, which divided opinions among the French fans.

A lot of chances fell his way and he gnashed his teeth in anguish as he failed to capitalize on most of them but in the second half, he got his reward for his sheer persistence as he reacted after the Romanian goalie fluffed at his chance to catch the ball and France was one goal to the good.

Les Bleus were in control of the game and seemed to be doing just fine but they took their feet off the pedal and allowed to the visitors to come back to the game when Patrice Evra clumsily fouled some chap in the box, leaving experienced Hungarian ref, Victor Kassai, no chance but to point to the spot. Star midfielder, Nicolae Stanciu, sent Hugo Lloris the wrong way and the visitors levelled the contest. Despite France’s incessant wave of attacking, Romania had a very clear cut chance to actually open the scoring but it took a point blank save from Lloris to deny a Romanian chap from scoring the maiden goal in the tournament.

Late on, Dimitri Payet showed his class again with a magnificent volley from quite some distance leaving the keeper rooted to the spot. Payet was substituted minutes after his match winner and the reception he got from the crowd was quite raucous, making him feel very emotional as a tear or two was seen creeping down his eyes.

This is what we ‘neutrals’ expected from the tournament and my keen focus will remain on the Gunners featuring in the competition.

Another Gunner is bracing himself for action as Switzerland take on Albania today.

Sayonara.

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Thoughts on Koscielny’s Link with Madrid and Schneiderlin Off to Man Utd?

 

The Copa America has been serving as a good distraction this summer with Chile and Peru advancing to the semifinals and they await the winners of the Argentina vs. Colombia and Brazil vs. Paraguay games. However, it’s transfer news that has been dominating the back pages with the usual bits and bobs here and there.

Morgan Schneiderlin is a player that has been heavily linked with a move to Arsenal for as long as I can remember and it’s evident that Southampton is resigned to allowing the player leave this summer but the Saints have placed a price tag of £25 million for one of their prized asset. The Mirror has reported that LVG has given Ed Woodward the go-ahead to make a bid for the midfielder and from all indications, Manchester United is ready to meet Southampton’s asking price. The club spent close to £150 million last summer and they’d continue in that vein as they have been linked with a host of players, including Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos.

If Schneiderlin makes the proposed move to Manchester United, some Arsenal fans would be hoping that Wenger has plans to get a quality holding midfielder to support Francis Coquelin next season. Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini are candidates to play the role of backup to Le Coq but we know that they are past their primes. Coquelin was regarded as a major success story last season but many fans believe that he cannot play every game in the forthcoming season but we will see how things pan out as the weeks progress.

Elsewhere, amid the uncertainty surrounding Sergio Ramos’ future, the Mirror has reported that Real Madrid has identified Laurent Koscielny as a possible replacement. It’s been reported that the Spanish juggernaut are set to offer the Gunners a fee worth £21 million for the Boss. Koscielny has been at Arsenal for five years and has grown from strength to strength to become an indispensable member of the squad.

According to Squawka, Koscielny won 56 percent of his headed duels in the Premier League last season and, in typical Arsenal fashion, maintained an impressive passing accuracy of 89 per cent across his 27 appearances. The centre-back’s 93 interceptions demonstrates his excellent reading of the game, while his total of 166 successful clearances hints at the calming influence he has on his fellow defenders.

When the French defender was out injured for a considerable chunk of the campaign, Arsenal struggled defensively as Arsene Wenger featured the likes of Nacho Monreal, Calum Chambers and even Matt Debuchy to play alongside Per Mertesacker. With his return to the team, Arsenal’s fortune changed for good and as expected, the club finished the season strongly as well as winning the FA Cup to crown their efforts.

Arsenal is now at the peak of their financial powers and I don’t believe that they’d be swayed by Real Madrid’s advances. The only challenge would come if Koscielny opts out, like Cesc Fabregas, Robin van Persie and co. Then again, what do I know.

I’d monitor the situation in the coming weeks.

Sayonara.

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