Laurent Koscielny

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Laurent Koscielny
Laurent Koscielny-cropped22.jpg
Koscielny playing for Arsenal in 2011
Personal information
Full name Laurent Koscielny[1]
Date of birth (1985-09-10) 10 September 1985 (age 28)
Place of birth Tulle, France
Height 1.86 m (6 ft 1 in)[2]
Playing position Centre back
Club information
Current team
Arsenal
Number 6
Youth career
1993–1995 Tulle Corrèze
1995–1997 Brive
1997–1998 Tulle Corrèze
1998–2002 Brive
2002–2003 Limoges
2003–2004 Guingamp
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2004–2007 Guingamp 41 (0)
2007–2009 Tours 67 (6)
2009–2010 Lorient 35 (3)
2010– Arsenal 121 (9)
National team
2011– France 21 (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 20:08, 17 August 2014 (UTC).

† Appearances (Goals).

‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 4 July 2014

Laurent Koscielny (French pronunciation: ​[loˈʁɑ̃ kosjɛlˈɲi]) (born 10 September 1985) is a French footballer who plays as a defender for Arsenal and the French national team. He primarily plays as a centre back but he can also play as a right back, a position where he started his career.[3] He is described as an aggressive, strong, quick and ball-playing defender.[4]

Koscielny was born in the city of Tulle and began his football career playing for a host of amateur and youth clubs such as Brive, Tulle Corrèze and Limoges. In 2003 he moved to Guingamp, where he made his professional debut the following year. Koscielny joined Tours for an undisclosed fee to play in the third tier of the French league in 2007 and enjoyed promotion with his new side before being named in the Ligue 2 Team of the Season the following campaign.[4] In 2009, newly promoted Ligue 1 side Lorient signed Koscielny for around €1.7 million, and his performances caught the eye of Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger, who signed him in 2010. Arsenal fans voted Laurent Koscielny as Wenger’s most effective signing of 2010–11 following an impressive debut campaign.[5]

Koscielny was called up to the French national team on 4 February 2011 and represented the country at UEFA Euro 2012 and the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Prior to his call-up for France, he was also eligible to play for Poland, as a result of his family roots.[6]

Club career[edit]

Early career[edit]

Koscielny was born in Tulle, Corrèze. His career began in 2004 with Guingamp, a team that had produced such talents as Didier Drogba and Florent Malouda. Three years later, Koscielny was forced to take stock and drop down to the French third tier. He made 46 appearances for Guingamp, between 2004 and 2007, mostly as a right fullback.

In 2007, Koscielny joined Tours FC, deciding that he wanted a chance at centre back. He showed remarkable improvement in aerial ability and positional awareness that limited him to just three yellow cards. During the 2008–09 season, Koscielny made 34 Ligue 2 appearances, scoring 5 goals from defence, and was named in the division's best XI at the end of the season.[4]

Lorient[edit]

On 16 June 2009, newly promoted Ligue 1 side FC Lorient signed Koscielny on a four-year contract for around €1.7 million. He established himself as a starter and played in his preferred centre-back position. Over one season at the club, he scored 3 goals in 35 appearances. On 7 March 2010 Koscielny tapped in his first Ligue 1 goal against Olympique Marseille at Stade Vélodrome in the 65th minute in a 1–1 draw. Koscielny became a fan favourite when he scored his second goal with a header deep in injury time against Montpellier in a 2–2 draw after a cross from Monterrubio.

He scored another against Bordeaux after 11 minutes. However, he received a red card 15 minutes later for a foul in the penalty area against his future Arsenal teammate Marouane Chamakh. Koscielny helped Lorient to finish the campaign in 7th place; its best finish in Ligue 1. An impressive season culminated in reports from French daily Ouest-France that the defender was training with the Arsenal reserves ahead of an official announcement. On 6 July 2010, Koscielny agreed personal terms with Arsenal. Arsenal's initial offer for Koscielny was believed to be in the region of £4 million, while they were then prepared to do a deal that would also involve youngster Francis Coquelin moving on loan in the opposite direction, which Lorient rejected.[7] During the summer transfer window of 2010 reports began to emerge in late June that a deal had been reached to bring Koscielny to Arsenal for a reported sum of £8.45 million.

Arsenal[edit]

2010–11 season[edit]

"I don't believe any French player would have refused to come and play for Arsenal. It took me four years to go from the bench of Ligue 2 to Arsenal so it is a great achievement. I have been on the crest of a wave for the last few years. But it is just the beginning; I haven't proved anything yet. Arsenal is a reference for football."

Laurent Koscielny[4]

Arsenal confirmed the signing on 7 July 2010 and Koscielny was handed the club's number 6 shirt, previously worn by Philippe Senderos, who had moved to Fulham earlier in the summer. Wenger explained he bought Koscienly due to the fact he added height to the team and Arsenal were low on centre backs.[8] Koscielny made his debut against Barnet in a pre-season friendly in July 2010. One month later in his competitive debut against Liverpool at Anfield, he was sent off in the 94th minute for a second bookable offence. Both of his yellow cards were shown beyond 90 minutes. The game ended in a 1–1 draw with both teams having debut players sent off.[9] He scored his first goal for Arsenal on 11 September 2010, in a 4–1 win against Bolton.[10]

Koscielny made his debut in European competition on 15 September 2010, when he partnered Sébastien Squillaci in a 6–0 win over Braga at Emirates Stadium. Koscielny was praised for performances against Sunderland and made a brilliant tackle against Tottenham to stop Aaron Lennon from scoring during their League Cup tie. On 27 October he blocked a shot off the line and provided an assist to Theo Walcott against Newcastle United in the fourth round of the League Cup, where Arsenal went on to win the match 4–0 at St James' Park. Koscielny was given a straight red card in Arsenal's 0–1 loss at home against Newcastle United on 7 November 2010. This was his second sending off of the season.

Koscielny playing for Arsenal on 10 September 2011 against Swansea City.

On 25 January 2011, Koscielny scored the second goal in the 3–0 win over Ipswich Town in the League Cup semi-final second leg win at the Emirates Stadium. Throughout January 2011, Johan Djourou and himself were a part of a mean defence in the Premier that did not concede a goal. On 1 February, he scored his third goal of the season, which proved to be the winner in a 2–1 turn around victory over Everton with a bullet header in the dying minutes of a league clash at the Emirates. Koscielny had arguably his greatest performance to date in an Arsenal-shirt against Barcelona in the first leg of the round of 16 Champions League-match. The match ended in a 2–1 home win for Arsenal. Koscielny's performances were applauded and praised in many media reports of the game. Former Arsenal defender, Martin Keown, said his performance was "impressive" and "magnificent throughout".[11] In the last minute of the League Cup Final on 27 February, Koscielny was involved in a mix-up with his goalkeeper Wojciech Szczęsny, which resulted in Birmingham City striker Obafemi Martins scoring the winning goal.[12]

2011–12 season[edit]

Koscielny and Fernando Torres in a Premier League match on 21 April 2012.

Koscielny started the 2011–12 season very well with recently fit defender Thomas Vermaelen beside him. He was injured and taken off the pitch after barely 10 minutes into the game in a 2–0 home loss to Liverpool. However, he returned in arguably Arsenal's worst match in the Premier League, losing 8–2 to Manchester United. On 17 September, Koscielny scored an own goal as Arsenal lost 4–3 to Blackburn Rovers in the Barclays Premier League. He went on to pick up a man of the match display away at Marseille, where Arsenal won 1–0 at the Stade Vélodrome, keeping their first clean sheet in a UEFA Champions League away game since 18 August 2009 against Celtic, where the Gunners had won 2–0. On 29 October, Koscielny received praise for his solid performance in Arsenal's 5–3 away win against Chelsea. He scored his first goal in the 2011–12 season on 2 January 2012 in a 2–1 away defeat against Fulham. He scored his first Champions League goal against AC Milan in a 3–0 victory in the Round of 16's second leg. On 13 May 2012 he scored the winner in a 3–2 win against West Brom to make sure that Arsenal finished third in the Premier League. He was voted as the fourth most important player by the fans in Arsenal's Player of the Season poll for his performances throughout the 2011–12 season.[13]

2012–13 season[edit]

On 24 July 2012, Laurent signed a new long term contract with Arsenal, around 5 years.[14][15][16] His first goal of the season was a late equalizer against Manchester City on 23 September 2012 in a match which ended 1–1 at the Etihad Stadium.[17] On 30 October, he scored a header from a corner in the 88th minute against Reading in the League Cup, helping Arsenal come back from 4–0 down to eventually win the game 7–5.[18]

On 13 March 2013, Koscielny scored against Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena in the UEFA Champions League Last 16. His goal put Arsenal 2–0 ahead on the night and level at 3–3 on aggregate, but they still exited the competition on the away goals rule.[19]

On 20 March 2013, Koscielny headed a Theo Walcott free kick back across the box to set up a Per Mertesacker goal against Fulham. On 19 May, Lukas Podolski flicked Theo Walcott's free kick with his head to set up a goal for Koscielny against Newcastle. This goal proved to be the goal that secured Champions League football for the Gunners in the 2013–14 season, for the 17th consecutive season.[20]

Koscielny was voted as Arsenal's second best player of the season.[21]

2013–14 season[edit]

Koscielny started the 2013–14 season by conceding a penalty and getting sent off in Arsenal's 3–1 Premier League opening day defeat at home to Aston Villa.[22] However, his partnership with Per Mertesacker saw the Gunners achieve the joint-best defensive record in the Premier League at the halfway point of the season, as the team topped the table.[23]

On 22 February 2014, Koscielny scored his first goal of the season in a 4–1 defeat of Sunderland.[24] In the team's penultimate home match, Koscielny scored his second goal of the season in a 3–0 win against Newcastle United.[25]

On 9 May 2014, Koscielny signed a new long-term contract with Arsenal.[26]

On 17 May, Koscielny scored Arsenal's equalising goal as the team came from 2–0 down to defeat Hull City 3–2 in the 2014 FA Cup Final, winning his first piece of silverware with the club.[27]

2014–15 season[edit]

On 16 August 2014, Koscielny opened his goal-scoring account for the new season with a header from a free-kick in first half stoppage time against Crystal Palace at the Emirates Stadium; the first match of Arsenal's in the 2014–15 season.[28]

International career[edit]

Koscielny was called up to the French national team on 3 February 2011. Before his call up for France, Koscielny was also eligible to play for Poland and initially considered applying for Polish citizenship.[6] In August 2010, it was reported that he had not submitted an application and cancelled a meeting with Poland national team coach Franciszek Smuda in Warsaw on 7 August. Koscielny later declared that his priority was to play for France.[29]

Koscielny was called up to the French team for the first time on 3 February 2011, for the team's friendly versus Brazil on 9 February.[30][31] Koscielny made his first appearance for les Bleus in a friendly match against the United States on 11 November, playing the entire match in a 1–0 win.

He made his first appearance in a major tournament during UEFA Euro 2012, when he played the entire match in a 2–0 defeat to Spain in the quarter-finals but was voted Man of the Match by the French media. On 15 November 2013, he was sent off for the first time in a 2014 World Cup qualifying play-off against Ukraine.

On 13 May 2014, Koscielny was named in Didier Deschamps' squad for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.[32] He made his FIFA World Cup debut as a substitute for the injured Mamadou Sakho in a 5–2 defeat of Switzerland in the team's second group match.[33] He was then named in the starting line-up for the next match against Ecuador, helping the team to a clean sheet in a 0–0 draw.[34]

Career statistics[edit]

Koscielny celebrating a goal against Sunderland in a Premier League match on 22 February 2014.

Club[edit]

As of 17 August 2014[35]
Club Season League Cup Europe Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Guingamp 2004–05 11 0 3 0 0 0 14 0
2005–06 9 0 1 0 0 0 10 0
2006–07 21 0 2 0 0 0 23 0
Total 41 0 6 0 0 0 47 0
Tours 2007–08 33 1 6 1 0 0 39 2
2008–09 34 5 5 1 0 0 39 6
Total 67 6 11 2 0 0 78 8
Lorient 2009–10 35 3 5 1 0 0 40 4
Total 35 3 5 1 0 0 40 4
Arsenal 2010–11 30 2 9 1 4 0 43 3
2011–12 33 2 3 0 6 1 42 3
2012–13 25 2 5 1 5 1 34 4
2013–14 32 2 5 1 9 0 46 3
2014–15 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 1
Total 121 9 21 3 24 2 166 14
Career total 264 18 42 6 24 2 331 26

International[edit]

As of 25 June 2014.