Arsene Wenger says the return of Laurent Koscielny provided Arsenal with defensive stability as they took a point from Champions Leicester in the 0-0 draw on Saturday.
The French international was Arsenal’s highest rated player after the game, and his performance alongside Rob Holding at centre-half was imperious.
For a man just returning from his summer break, it was one in which he had to dig deep, but the manager was keen to praise the man who skippered the side.
“We look a different team straight away and he gave us stability against a team that attacks very well,” he said. I think he was very important.
“I saw that we were a bit too young and I have no real solution at central defence at the moment. In fairness he had a big back problem yesterday when he came out of the training.
“We came with 19 players and this morning we decided that he could play and I think it saved us this point.”
Speaking about his decision to leave him out of the side last week, Wenger continued, “I think, should I have taken a gamble or not? But because we lost already two defenders, if I lost another one for two or three months we have a massive problem.
“He was not ready. He had only four days training and it is too short after having four weeks off. I think he was very brave today.”
So, just back from his holidays, with a back problem (you could see him grimacing at times), and he played like that. Hats off to the man, but let’s hope the manager can do what’s necessary so we don’t run him into the ground too early in the season.