Laurent Signs Kos He’s Happy & More


Another Saturday morning in the football season, the penultimate one and just as musicians refer to the ‘difficult second album’, Arsène and Steve Bruce have matches they would rather not face this weekend. Not because the opposition is hard, simply that to their left is deep blue sea and on the right, the devil laughing maniacally. What team to field, what players to risk and is it really necessary to test player x’s fitness? Such things can be pondered over this morning’s playlist, Contract Killers, found by clicking on the link or for those with a Spotify player, the right sidebar. No matter which division the match is played in, for the players and managers of the clubs involved in the FA Cup final, the last match of the league season has always been a distraction unless there was a title at stake or relegation to be fought.

Or more to the point, it is us, the supporters, who could do without this match. Arsène observed earlier this week that “in preparing for the FA Cup final, it’s important to feel that you play well in the game before“, preparing us instead for a strong line-up to fielded at Carrow Road tomorrow. Norwich need West Brom to lose heavily and to win by about seventeen goals themselves to prevent their relegation. Arsenal meanwhile, need a Chelsea defeat and an eighteen goal winning margin to secure third. The narrative for a goalless draw is set. At least Woijciech Szczesny will be happy with that, Petr Cech’s injury guarantees the Golden Gloves award for most clean sheets in a season if the Pole doesn’t concede a goal tomorrow. Personally, I’d be far happier if none of the Wembley XI were even considered for the trip to Norfolk but 79 points is the manager’s target, another tick in his boxes of improvement this season. The target for next year is a modest improvement, over 80 points which is anywhere between a two and twenty point improvement on this campaign. It would keep the seasonal tally gradually creeping up to its 2007/08 high of 83 making it sound like a rampant dose of inflation.

The headlines may scream that the gap will be closed by hard work, substantiating the view that there will not be much transfer activity this summer, Wenger’s words were not so closed and narrow. The interpretation depends on the narrative you want to follow, “We have hard work in the summer to achieve that” . Who has that work to do, the players, coaching staff, manager, the executive team working on Arsenal transfers? All of them, combined, will bring about the improvements desired; relying on one part of that is not planning to succeed, it isn’t planning at all.

If he had concerns about his squad, Wenger will be feeling happier this morning following the announcement of Laurent Koscielny’s contract extension. Whilst Bacary Sagna has procrastinated, stalled and is now refusing to talk about his future until after the World Cup, his compatriot has renewed with the minimum of fuss, entirely in keeping with his style of play. The stories of Barcelona and Madrileño interest came as no surprise with talks ongoing; just as Arsenal are used as interest by other players, the big clubs are used by our own. When you consider the trials and tribulations he suffered down the yearss – Wembley, early season dismissals, own goals – the way Koscielny bounces back and continues to improve as a player every season, is a testament to how hard he works at his game every day. Forming a solid partnership with Per Mertesacker – my Player of the Season – helps, drawing on the German’s experience but you sense it is a two-way street with the pair trusting the other’s judgement and views.

The settled nature of the back four is going to be disturbed when Sagna leaves and the importance of retaining Koscielny will be key in maintaining a sense of stability whilst helping a newcomer settle in to the club. Sagna is not discussing his future until his contract expires, as sure a sign as any that he is leaving. It is his choice and nobody can complain given his service to the club since joining seven years ago. In Premier League terms, that is perilously close to being given a gold watch such is the fluidity of player movement in the modern game. That view presumes anyone has offered the defender an acceptable deal, of course. The possibility exists that talk of Mancunian, French or Turkish interest is a negotiating ploy; if so, it’s a helluva game of chicken, Brian and leaving the feeling that The Sabrejets had it nailed: Sworn to fun, loyal to none.

Finally, at a time when FFP negotiations are giving the game even more of a bad name, not everything Manchester City does is wrong as this piece in this morning’s Independent shows. It doesn’t mean the way that they approach the game financially is right or justified but there is a sign that change in attitudes towards qualifications is moving in the right direction. You still sense that the likes of Heighway, Coppell or Le Saux are viewed suspiciously but are clubs finally ingraining a sense of social responsibility into their culture, ensuring that the scrap-heap has a more cushioned landing.

Enjoy your Saturday wherever you are spending it. Yes, dear, I’ve got my wallet…

’til Tomorrow.

28 thoughts on “Laurent Signs Kos He’s Happy & More

  1. Always play your best tea. That team should vary according to the opposition perhaps but play to win. Momentum. The Cup is a week away.

  2. I’m also torn on team selection but we do need to maintain momentum and keep our starting 11 on their toes. Will be interesting to see what the boss does.

    Player of the Season is not as clear cut as it was last season for me, Rambo would have walked it had it not been for injury but to me he’s still in contention (front runner?) along with Per, Lolo and possibly Woj. Have you guys cast your vote yet on the .com?

  3. Mertesacker is the clearest choice, I think. Played the most games, had a great season, organizer and captain when Arteta was out. If Ramsey hasn’t missed 4 months, it would be a different story.

  4. Per got my vote and having made 50 or more appearances I think it is a fair reflection of his importance. Sagna off, then Jenkinson gets the nod from me for tomorrow.

  5. I agree with Bob that we should try to keep our intensity up. Still, I would make a few changes and rest anyone with a niggle.

  6. Top post Yogi.

    I tend to say play your best team based on who you are playing.

    Mert is the clear cut choice for Player of the Season. There is no other options and there’s nobody else that should be Captain next year.

  7. Nice one Yogi. Pic from Grosse Pointe Blank isn’t it (love that film), contract killers reference…..

    I get it, I get it. I love it when I “get” things. Puzzles and all that. Probably ‘cos I usually don’t 🙁

    I agree with Bob and Lime. Keep winning, keep the momentum going ahead of next week.

    Also with agree with Mr C about the BFG.

  8. Hi everyone,

    Seems something of a consensus – leave out anyone with the slightest fitness doubt but play the strongest team otherwise and WIN!

    A win would take us to a 6 point gain compared to last season. Another 6 point gain next season will take us to 85 and who know where? I think this is a more realistic way of looking at it than looking at the narrowing gap to first.

  9. Mertesacker would be a good choice but I wish on receiving the ball, he wouldn’t release it so quickly to a colleague.
    So often there is bags of space ahead of him in order to advance with the ball, yet he passes it immediately.
    If I’m nitpicking, I’m sure someone will tell me.

  10. It’s exactly it.

    Wenger hasn’t said anything about not bringing anyone in but it won’t be a raft of players either. We are not Spurs.

    Likely Sagna is gone. May be timely anyway since he is 31 and has served us well for 8 seasons.

    Vermaelen looks a departure too. Not sure about keepers, one (Fabianski or Viviano) could be convinced by Viviano of course would be a signing if so.

    Also don’t forget organic development. out wide, Campbell has shown good form this season at Olympiakos and the gaffer will have to make a decision whether to cull him back into the first team now or keep him on loan for another season to further sharpen him with regular playing time (ala Lukaku).

    Dick law was derided for his pursuit of the Costa Rican but (like metersecker and koscielny who were ‘panic buys) seems that a bit of time has allowed the dust to settle and qualities to shine through.

    We will still need the added capability up front though but likely we won’t see any other additions thereafter (DM can wait)

  11. team tomorrow, audition friendly :


    Jack in for Ozil, Diaby for Kallstrom last 15minutes

    Bellerin in for Rosicky and switched RW last 10 minutes

    Would be great to get a gauge of some of the more peripheral squad players in this game. At very least it will give us final indication of the quality in depth in some key areas before market (if not already)

  12. @Harry. Thanks. was just going to ask Alan Arkin in ? film.

    I thought Barca would be after Koscielny so am pretty pleased he’s staying.
    Wenger won’t go to Monaco. I hate they way he insists he’s doing us such an honourable favour by staying.
    Note that the other top PL teams are already compiling lists of who they want to sign and passing them on to the Higher Ups. Except for You Know Who, who isn’t even going to the shops before mid July after the World Cup.
    I predict a few more Kallstroms in the summer, if that.

  13. I of course do not like the idea of Sanogo starting…what if he scores a hat trick and breaks his duck?

    Wenger won’t buy a striker in the summer then! 😀

  14. Note Wenger’s list is not nominally available to media, none of which tend to predict our moves.

    Metersecker, Ozil…

    I wouldn’t bother with these list, we would otherwise believe rumours that Gustavo, or wanyama or Mvilla were such quality players crucial to our needs when Flamini would more than suffice.

    frankly bollocks.

  15. At this point, if Sagna says no decision till after the WC, Arsrnal should give him his final offer and go sign Aurier or the best available younger but established RB. If Sagna wants to take our offer, even later on this summer, that’s great but we shouldn’t delay our business. Worst case is that we have two RB’s, one new to the PL and a veteran who can play CB. Jenks can go on loan for a year.

  16. Actually to me that’s the best case. But I doubt the club looks at it like that… Monreal and Gibbs have worked out well. No reason a similar situation at RB wouldn’t be possible as the new one adapts to the league.

  17. I think if Sagna goes, it is due to recalcitrance in negotiations by the club to meet his demands or a feeling by Sagna that he can do better competitively and financially elsewhere. He is a solid pro and I feel he’d stay if we made a competitive offer and looked like we could challenge. Sagna has been outspoken about his dismay over previous departures and said he found the trophy drought embarrassing. I can’t say he hasn’t had a point but that public honesty might not be appreciated…

  18. As much as I fully accept Sagna’s plan to negotiate one last big payday, Arsenal simply cannot continue to let the situation meander on unresolved.
    The Club should make a final offer, with a deadline, so that if not acceptable to Sagna, it would allow adequate time to find a replacement.
    No player should be bigger than the club he plays for.

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