Koscielny Denies Disrespecting Arsenal After Transfer Row

'Devastated' Koscielny Ruled Out Of World Cup
Arsenal’s French defender Laurent Koscielny eyes the ball during the UEFA Europa League semi-final second leg football match against Atletico at the Wanda Metropolitano stadium in Madrid on May 3, 2018. GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP

 

Former Arsenal captain Laurent Koscielny insisted Wednesday that he had nothing but respect for the Gunners despite being told he “should be ashamed” of himself over the way his unveiling at Bordeaux was handled.

The 33-year-old penned a “rolling contract” with the French side on Tuesday but enraged Arsenal fans when a video showed him stripping off the red and white shirt of the London side to reveal the blue top of Bordeaux.

“You should be ashamed for the way you’ve left the club after nine years,” tweeted former Arsenal striker Ian Wright.

“Got what you wanted and still trying to have a dig. Hope it’s worth it in the long run.”

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However, the French international, who made clear his desire for a move last month when he refused to travel on Arsenal’s pre-season tour of the United States, said he meant no disrespect.

“I have the greatest respect for Arsenal,” he said at a press conference on Wednesday.

“I showed my respect on the pitch. As far as my transfer is concerned, that’s not for me to discuss. I am now at Bordeaux with a match quickly approaching.”

Koscielny joined Arsenal in 2010 from Lorient and played 353 games for the London side, winning the FA Cup three times.

He was named club captain at the start of last season following the retirement of Per Mertesacker but made just 17 league appearances after sitting out the first half of the campaign as he recovered from a ruptured Achilles tendon.

“When the chance to move to Bordeaux arose, I weighed up the pros and cons. I thought it was a good choice,” he added on Wednesday.

“I am very happy to be at this historic club.”

The new Ligue 1 season begins this weekend with Bordeaux starting their campaign against Angers.

AFP

Koscielny Set For First Arsenal Start Since May

'Devastated' Koscielny Ruled Out Of World Cup
Arsenal’s French defender Laurent Koscielny eyes the ball during the UEFA Europa League semi-final second leg football match against Atletico at the Wanda Metropolitano stadium in Madrid on May 3, 2018. GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP

 

Arsenal defender Laurent Koscielny will make his first appearance since May when the injury-plagued French international starts Thursday’s Europa League tie against Qarabag.

Koscielny ruptured his Achilles in Arsenal’s Europa League defeat against Atletico Madrid last season.

The 33-year-old missed France’s World Cup-winning campaign due to the injury.

He finally returned for Arsenal’s reserves in a Checkatrade Trophy clash with Portsmouth last week and Emery confirmed on Wednesday that Koscielny will start against Qarabag.

The Gunners have a defensive crisis ahead of Sunday’s trip to Southampton with Rob Holding injured, Shkodran Mustafi struggling with a hamstring problem and Sokratis Papastathopoulos suspended.

That could mean Koscielny will be asked to play twice in four days if he proves his fitness.

“Because we are going to play a lot of matches, in the next 10 days we play four matches – each of them very important…it is in our planning to start with Laurent Koscielny,” Emery told reporters.

“We are going to decide after tomorrow’s match, as it’s the first match with us that Laurent Koscielny will play. We are going to look also if he can play 90 minutes or less minutes in this game.

“We are going to decide but the first is to think about the match tomorrow because we need to receive information on how he can feel.”

Mesut Ozil could also feature against Qarabag having lost his place in Emery’s Premier League side.

Germany midfielder Ozil has missed the last five games in all competitions with a combination of a back injury and Emery preferring other options in his starting line-up.

Emery was forced to deny reports of a training ground row with Ozil earlier this season after claims he had told the former Real Madrid star to work harder.

“Tomorrow he is in the group, there are 18 players in the squad for this match and I am going to decide if he plays tomorrow from the beginning or during the match in the 90 minutes,” Emery said of Ozil.

AFP

‘It’s over with Les Bleus’: Arsenal’s Koscielny Says France Career Is Finished

'Devastated' Koscielny Ruled Out Of World Cup
Arsenal’s French defender Laurent Koscielny eyes the ball during the UEFA Europa League semi-final second leg football match against Atletico at the Wanda Metropolitano stadium in Madrid on May 3, 2018. GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP

 

Arsenal centre-back Laurent Koscielny, who missed France’s World Cup triumph in Russia due to injury, said on Sunday his international career was “finished”.

The 33-year-old had intended to retire from France duty following the tournament, but the defender was ruled out of Didier Deschamps’ squad for the finals after rupturing his Achilles tendon in May.

“The injury is one thing, the World Cup win is another. I think the victory certainly hurt me much more psychologically than my injury,” Koscielny told Canal Plus.

“The World Cup will remain a dark stage of my career and my life.”

“I think I’ve given what I could to the France team. I’m 33 now. I’ve been to two Euros, a World Cup. For me, my injury hasn’t changed anything,” he said.

“It’s over with Les Bleus. I will always be a France supporter but what is sure is that I will never put on the blue shirt again.”

Koscielny has yet to return for Arsenal since hurting himself during the second leg of last season’s Europa League semi-final defeat by Atletico Madrid.

“I have a new mindset. There will be the Laurent before and the Laurent after the injury. I want to carry on at Arsenal and I want to come back soon,” he said.

“I don’t know what level I’m going to have because I haven’t resumed training yet, but I want to fight in any event.”

Koscielny made his France debut in November 2011 in a friendly against the United States. He earned the last of his 51 caps in a 3-1 victory over Russia in March.

AFP

‘Devastated’ Koscielny Ruled Out Of World Cup

'Devastated' Koscielny Ruled Out Of World Cup
Arsenal’s French defender Laurent Koscielny eyes the ball during the UEFA Europa League semi-final second leg football match against Atletico at the Wanda Metropolitano stadium in Madrid on May 3, 2018. GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP

 

Veteran French defender Laurent Koscielny is “devastated” at missing out on this year’s World Cup finals after undergoing surgery on a ruptured Achilles tendon, said Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger.

The 32-year-old central defender is set to be sidelined for six months according to Wenger, bringing a sad end to his international career as he had planned to retire after the finals in Russia.

Koscielny, capped over 50 times and a member of the France side that lost to Portugal in the Euro 2016 final, was carried off 12 minutes into Arsenal’s Europa League semi-final second-leg defeat by Atletico Madrid last Thursday.

“He is of course devastated. He will be out for six months. You will not see him before the beginning of December at best,” said Wenger.

Koscielny revealed to the Evening Standard in May last year he would require daily treatment on an Achilles injury for the rest of his career.

According to the newspaper he was diagnosed with chronic tendonitis in both feet by the French Football Federation during an international break in October 2014.

AFP

Arsenal Unlikely To Finish In Top Four, Says Koscielny

 

Manchester City’s Argentinian striker Sergio Aguero (R) shoots to score the opening goal as Arsenal’s French defender Laurent Koscielny closes in during the English League Cup final football match between Manchester City and Arsenal at Wembley stadium in north London on February 25, 2018.
Glyn KIRK / AFP

 

Arsenal defender Laurent Koscielny admits it will be “very hard” for the club to qualify for the Champions League after another damaging Premier League defeat at the hands of Brighton.

Manager Arsene Wenger said after back-to-back 3-0 defeats to Manchester City, including the League Cup final, that his players’ confidence was low and Chris Hughton’s team took full advantage on Sunday.

Lewis Dunk and Glenn Murray capitalised on poor defending to put the hosts two goals ahead, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scoring the first-half consolation in a 2-1 loss.

Significant numbers of Arsenal’s travelling support were calling for Wenger’s head as they went two goals down but Koscielny called for a united front.

“We need to stay together, to fight together,” he said. “It is a big period for us. We know it is difficult but you need to put your head down and work every day.

“We need to win to have more freedom on the pitch and we need to stay together because it is a bad period but all the players, staff and fans need to know that we are all together. It is important to have everyone behind us.”

Arsenal have won just three away league games all season and have now lost eight of their last 13 games in all competitions.

Their miserable run has left them 13 points adrift of Tottenham in fourth place and Koscielny conceded it would be difficult to overturn such a deficit.

“It will be very hard to finish in the top four,” said the Frenchman.

“We have (had) a bad period and did not have the results we wanted. We lost our confidence a little bit and on the pitch, we didn’t have the confidence we needed to push ourselves more and to play well with the ball.”

AFP

Late Show: 10-Man Arsenal Beat Burnley To Go 2nd

Late Show: 10-Man Arsenal Beat Burnley To Go 2ndAlexis Sanchez converted a last minute penalty in a dramatic finale to Arsenal’s Premier League game against Burnley at the Emirates on Sunday to earn them a 2-1 victory.

Alexis Sanchez earned the last-gasp penalty for Arsenal in the match that produced two converted penalties in stoppage-time.

After Burnley resisted Arsenal’s pressure in the first half, Skhodran Mustafi headed in from Mesut Ozil’s corner with 59 minutes gone.

The game looked set to be another easy win for Arsene Wenger’s men but Granit Xhaka was shown a red card for a lunge on Burnley’s Steven Defour.

Three minutes into added time, Burnley’s Andre Gray converted a penalty awarded after Francis Coquelin tripped Ashley Barnes.

The game became tense with Arsenal believing in the unthinkable and their pressure paid off following Ben Mee’s foul on Laurent Koscielny.

Sanchez deftly chipped the spot-kick down the middle of the goal – the final blow in the eighth minute of stoppage time.

The victory takes the Gunners to second place on the EPL table, taking full advantage of Liverpool’s home loss to Swansea on Saturday.

Premier League: Arsenal, Tottenham Triumph In Top Four Clashes

Premier LeagueIt was a dramatic win for Tottenham and Arsenal in the English Premier League on Sunday with both sides waiting till the last minute to secure victories.

Christian Eriksen struck in the 83rd minute to give Spurs a 2-1 win over Manchester City.

Harry Kane had fired home from the spot while Kelechi Iheanacho levelled the score line at 1-1

For Arsenal, Danny Welbeck scored the winner four minutes into injury time to beat Leicester City 2-1.

Jamie Vardy gave the Foxes the lead on the stroke of half-time from the penalty spot before substitute Theo Walcott put the Gunners back in contention.

The win leaves Arsenal on 51 points levelled with Spurs who are second based on goal difference. Leicester City still lead with 53 points while Manchester City remain fourth with 47 points.

Also on Sunday, Liverpool trashed bottom club Aston Villa 6-0 at Villa Park with Daniel Sturridge marking his return to the Liverpool starting line-up with the opening goal.

Other Results

Other Matchday 26 pairings had been decided on Saturday.

AFC Bournemouth 1 – 3 Stoke City FCStoke City
Chelsea FC 5 – 1 Newcastle United
Crystal Palace 1 – 2 Watford
Everton 0 – 1 West Bromwich Albion
Norwich City 2 – 2 West Ham United
Sunderland 2 – 1 Manchester United
Swansea City 0 – 1 Southampton

 

EPL: Arsenal Beat Leicester City 2-1 At Emirates

ArsenalArsenal have defeated current leader of the English Premier League table, Leicester City 2-1 on a dramatic afternoon at the Emirates Stadium.

The atmosphere on Valentines Day was electrifying from the kick-off as the Gunners had a fast start, creating two good opportunities in the opening two minutes.

Referee Martin Atkinson had overlooked a foul by Mesut Ozil but did not hesitate to award a penalty to City as Jarmie Vardy was tripped by Nacho Monreal in the box.

Vardy himself stepped up and slammed his spot kick past Petr Cech to open the scoring which lasted till the end of the first half.

Arsenal were forced into a change at half time as Calum Chambers came on to replace Laurent Koscielny, who had suffered a dead leg.

From the 53rd minute, however, Arsene Wenger’s boys played with an extra man after Danny Simpson was dismissed for two bookable offences.

Substitute Theo Walcott scored the equaliser with 20 minutes remaining, latching onto Olivier Giroud’s knockdown.

Danny Welbeck subsequently scored a last-minute winner to set Arsenal two points off the pace with 12 games remaining.

Arsenal Beat Bournemouth 2-0, Go Top Of Premier League

arsenalArsenal beat Bournemouth 2-0 at Emirates Stadium on Monday night to move to the top of the Premier League table.

However, their position is only secured going into the New Year if Leicester fail to win against Manchester City on Tuesday.

Gabriel’s header and Mesut Ozil’s strike sealed the points for the Gunners with Ozil adding to his assist tally for the defender’s goal.

Asides the 2-0 win pushing Arsenal to the top of the log, the win also meant a personal milestone for goalkeeper Petr Cech who broke the Premier League clean-sheet record.

The legendary goalkeeper secured his 170th shut-out to move past David James’ long-standing record.

Arsène Wenger described the win as a nervy one considering how badly they needed to recover from the humiliation at Southampton.

“It was nervy at the start because we had to swallow the 4-0 [at Southampton] and it didn’t go well and I think we were focused at the start not to concede a stupid goal and got slowly into the game.

“I changed a few players and put Calum Chambers at the centre of the park so it took us a while to get going but I think in the last 70 minutes we were in control of the game and did very well,” he said.

The manager believes his boys have moved on from the disappointment as the victory meant they responded well. “You can’t go from the start of the season to the end of the season without disappointment at some stage,” he said demanding more consistence from his players.

He also had kind words for midfield maestro, Mesut Ozil.

“Mesut was the focal point of our team because we had a new midfield today and he gives reassurance with his technical security and ability. When we had problems in the first part of the game it went always through him and it gives you confidence and security.

“I have seen a few good games from Ozil but what is important is that he convinces everybody that he is not only a talented player but a player that is always willing to work for the team and work hard. He has added scoring goals to his assists and overall he is a complete player.

Knockout: Southampton Humiliate Arsenal On Boxing Day

SouthamptonSouthampton humiliated Arsenal 4-0 on Boxing Day as the gunners missed a chance to go top of the English Premier League.

The title favourites had gone into the match needing a win to top the log, with Liverpool having defeated Leicester City 1-0 earlier in the day.

The Gunners, however, started badly with the saints ensuring that Wenger’s men were not allowed space for their style of football.

Southampton showed better coordination as they mounted pressure on Arsenal and deservedly went into half time leading 1-0.

Backup right back, Cuco Martina, chose the right match to show his quality with a spectacular low volley in the 19th minute.

The goal came after a long spell of pressure on a shaky Arsenal defence, marshaled by Laurent Koscielny and Par Matersacker.

In the second half, Southampton continued from where they left off and quickly put the ball in Arsenal’s net but was rightly ruled out for offside. They, however, made it 2-0 in the 50th minute through Shane Long to further darken Arsenal’s Christmas.

Wenger introduced Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain for Joel Campbell in the 64th minute and it appeared the players suddenly realised what was at stake as they tried to get back in the game.

The night got worse instead. It was 3-0 in the 69th minute courtesy Jose Miguel Fonte and Shane Long completed a brace in the 90th minute as the hosts refused to be intimidated by Arsenal’s stars and pre-match rating.

The Saints held on for a famous 4-0 victory over the London giants as Arsene Wenger’s men missed a glorious chance to become league leaders after trailing Leicester for weeks.

Chelsea Players Have To Be Humble – Mourinho

MourinhoChelsea manager, Jose Mourinho, has identified problems at both ends of the pitch as the primary reasons for his team’s defeat at Leicester City but believes a change of attitude can help turn their fortune around.

The manager was pleased with the fight his team showed in the final half-hour, but lamented defensive mistakes made for the home side’s goals and the wastefulness up front as the two factors that ensured the defending champions left the King Power Stadium empty-handed.

“I worked for four days on this match,” he said. “I prepared everything related to the opposition.

“I identified four movements where they score almost all of their goals. My players got all that information and training in the last three days. From the four types of situation I identified we conceded the first and the second goal. I think they listened and they are good enough, but the mistakes were there.

“I don’t want to focus only on the two goals we conceded, because in the past four or five matches we were defensively good and we had clean sheets,” he continued.

“We also have another problem which is the number of goals our attacking players are scoring, or in this case aren’t scoring. When we make defensive mistakes we are punished because we don’t score enough goals. The team pays for the number of goals our attacking players aren’t scoring.

“The good thing is the spirit – in the last 30 minutes they tried, they gave everything they had, they scored one goal, and they could have scored more.

“That’s the positive thing that makes me leave the dressing room with a feeling that isn’t as bad as the result, because in the last 30 minutes they were a team.

Eden Hazard was withdrawn with an injury during the first half having initially tried to play on.

Mourinho explained, “He made the decision in a few seconds. When he came off he said he couldn’t do it, a couple of seconds later he said he would try, and when he went back on two seconds later he immediately decided to go back off.”

With the January window approaching, Mourinho expressed his faith in his current players, “I don’t think it is right I go to the board and say these players are not good and we need to spend 50 or 100 or whatever.

“We have these players and it is with these players we have to go, and the players that are not performing well must feel attacked in their pride, in their self-esteem and they have to do everything to get results in a humble way.

“I don’t think they can feel they are top players or they are superstars. At the moment they have to be humble, they have to look to the Leicester boys and feel that they are the stars, they are the top players.

“They have to look to Sunderland and Watford and say: we are at the same level as you are. The players have to put their feet on their ground and be humble. We are where Sunderland are, we are below Watford by 10 points. The next two matches we play at Stamford Bridge we have to look to these opponents in a humble way.”

Chelsea Can Make Top Four, Mourinho Changes Tune

mourinhoJose Mourinho believes the competitive nature of this season’s Premier League means that if his side can put together a sequence of victories they still have a chance of finishing in the top four.

The manager was speaking to media at Cobham ahead of Monday’s trip to league leaders Leicester City, and this view is a sharp contrast to his earlier concession of the top four finish after the team’s 1-0 loss to AFC Bournemouth at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.

Mourinho said that there were no fresh injury concerns for Monday’s fixture against Leicester City, managed by Claudio Ranieri, the man he replaced when he first arrived at Stamford Bridge in 2004.

Earlier in the week Ranieri said he thinks the Blues are still more than capable of securing a top-four finish, and Mourinho agrees.

“First of all, it’s nice from him,” the Portuguese said. “Nobody has any doubt that he hasn’t forgotten his time at Chelsea. Everyone who is at this club for a certain period of time likes the club very much and Ranieri is showing the nice feeling he has, but I also believe what he says.

“Before we lost three points against Bournemouth I was absolutely convinced about finishing fourth in the table and I was convinced about a great December for us.

“The reality is that some clubs are doing well and some others are not capable of doing what they are used to. It’s not easy for the top clubs to win three, four, five or 10 matches in a row now, so who knows?

“If we can get a run of four or five consecutive victories, because none of the other clubs are doing that, maybe we have a chance to make up the distance and dream of finishing fourth. While mathematically it’s possible we have to try.”

He also praised the Foxes for their performances up until the moment.

“They deserve to be where they are, let’s be honest,’ said the Blues boss. “I said a couple of weeks ago I didn’t believe they can be champions and maybe I have to think twice because it’s one thing to be top in September after a beautiful start, another is to be top in December, that’s a completely different story, so if they are there and get result after result, it’s because they can win the title.

“It would be something magnificent, something to impress the football world but sometimes these things can happen, so why not?

“They are there because they are doing magnificently well, we are where we are because we are doing badly. We have the same potential as last season, the same manager, same players, so if we are where we are it’s because we are underperforming.

“He (Ranieri) is going to win the manager of the month award and he should win more than that, he should win manager of half-term. If you could give an award for the first six months of the competition everybody is miles away from him and every club is miles away from what Leicester are doing. I know the distance between them and Man United, Man City, Arsenal is only a few points but they are the ones who deserve all the respect and compliments.

“One year ago they were bottom of the league and Ranieri was sacked by the Greece national team for losing to the Faroe Islands, now he is the top manager in the Premier League and their players are top of the league. That’s the beauty, it’s fantastic.”