The return of Laurent Koscielny has been one of the few high points for Arsenal this season.
The Gunners captain returned to first-team football after close to eight months out of action with an Achilles injury, and after a few shaky performances upon his return in December, the veteran Frenchman is back to his brilliant best.
The 33-year-old put in a grinding and resilient performance against Manchester United over the weekend to keep Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side at bay and earning Arsenal the title as the first team this season to keep the Red Devils off the scoreboard since the appointment of the Norwegian.
His performance was even more impressive when it was revealed that the Frenchman had played a good chunk of the game with a three-inch gash across his leg following a collision with a United player in the second half.
Koscielny’s attitude to act beyond the call of duty has made him one of the most beloved players amongst Gooners this decade, and with the business end of the season fast approaching, his impact and performances have to only improve from here.
Whether or not he will be available for Arsenal’s vital Europa League game against Stade Rennais on Thursday remains to be seen. But with Sokratis out suspended and Shkodran Mustafi being Shkodran Mustafi, Unai Emery might be forced to turn to the battered warrior for defensive stability and leadership on the pitch.
Koscielny was on the pitch for the calamity that was the 3-1 defeat last week in France, but if there is one player in the Arsenal team that knows how to get up after being beaten down, it’s Lolo.
The skipper has stuck with Arsenal this decade through back-to-back FA Cup triumphs to embarrassing defeats at the hands of Bayern Munich, AS Monaco and Birmingham City, so you can bet Koscielny will be up for Thursday night if he is involved with the first-team.
Koscielny is Arsenal through and through. His presence in and around the first-team can be felt in every corner of the squad, and his return to football late last year was a shifting point for the Gunners.
His Achilles injury has certainly reduced his athleticism on the pitch, but what Koscielny brings in terms of leadership, organisation (don’t laugh), and defensive quality is something Arsenal will find hard to replace the day he decides to hang up his boots.
Koscielny has quietly been Arsenal’s unsung hero, and now we’re starting to see a club hero come back to his brilliant best after months of missing his presence on the pitch.
Arsenal fans, what do you think of Laurent Koscielny’s legacy at the club?