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Why Arsenal’s Boost In The Back-line Could Have A Major Say Against Chelsea And The New Season

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Kos The Boss – Why Laurent Koscielny Featuring In The Community Shield Is Huge For Arsenal

Arsenal have received a big boost ahead of their FA Community Shield game against Premier League champions Chelsea, as it has been confirmed that centre-back Laurent Koscielny can take part in the contest.  

The 31-year old was believed to be unavailable for the game due to suspension, after he received a three-match ban from the FA, following his sending off in the final Premier League game of last season, against Everton.  

Koscielny served the first game of that suspension by missing out the FA Cup final against Chelsea, which Arsenal won, and was understood to be unable to make the team for the Community Shield game and the 2017/18 Premier League season opener.

However, now the FA has confirmed that the suspension does not hold valid for the Community Shield and Koscielny can feature in the game on Sunday, meaning he will miss Arsenal’s first two league encounters, against Leicester City and Stoke City. While there aren’t many who hold the Community Shield in the highest of the regards and are quick to dismiss it as just another pre-season friendly, it does have an important place in the larger scheme of things.  

The contest, played between the winners of the FA Cup and the Premier League champions, has been played every year since 1908 (called as Charity Shield until 2002). With the Premier League season about to kick off, this contest allows the playing teams to test themselves against the best in the country and a positive result here could set the tone for the rest of the season. It is all about momentum in football and some early steam going into the bigger competitions can be worth its weight in gold.

So, having a vital player like Koscielny available for the game comes as a great news for manager Arsene Wenger and Arsenal. The Frenchman has grown into the leader of the pack at the Emirates in recent years and has established himself as one of the best defenders in the Premier League. Having been with the club since 2010, he has racked up 291 appearances for the Gunners till date, scoring 22 goals in the process and has become a mainstay in the backline for the Gunners.

Last season, he played on 42 occasions for the club in all competitions, finding the back of the net twice. Koscielny is one of those modern centre-halves who relies on his anticipation and reading of the game to stop oppositions in their tracks. Quick across the ground, strong and tenacious, technically good, the 31-year old has shown it all, but isn’t always regarded as high as he should be. A good organizer of defences and a vocal presence on the field, him being available is extremely pivotal for the Gunners, considering that Wenger has a much younger and less-experienced backline with the phenomenal Per Mertesacker being the exception.

Arsenal were torn apart in the pre-season friendly by their Sunday’s opponents. But with Koscielny’s presence in the ranks, the Gunners’ defence will no doubt be much more resolute and will have a more resilient look about it.  

Sunday’s Community Shield encounter between the two London clubs may not be the biggest match of the season, but a good result here can set things up for a strong campaign and having Koscielny back for the tie will be a great boost for Wenger and Arsenal.

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