Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has said that Laurent Koscielny’s loyalty made him the obvious choice to become the club’s captain in the absence of the injured Per Mertesacker.
The French defender scored Arsenal’s equaliser with a spectacular bicycle kick in their 2-1 victory over Southampton on Saturday.
Koscielny, who joined the Gunners in 2010 from Lorient, has been a vital component of the team’s defence in recent years and has evolved into an established world-class player.
Speaking after the Southampton game, Wenger told the club’s official website: “He is one of the most experienced players we have here. He has been the longest-serving defender.
“I believe as well he has committed to the club with a long contract and he has always improved every year. Saturday he was an outstanding centre back.
“He is one of our best players, and when I think about the squad when you pick a captain, you think of one with a good chance to play. If you never see the game, that’s not easy nowadays.
“What I like is that it was his birthday, and he gave himself a great present. As well, he doesn’t score that when it is 4-0, it is when you are 1 -0 down and that is his quality.”
Koscielny’s ability occasionally goes under the radar amid his physical no- nonsense style of play, but the 31-year-old’s acrobatic finish against the Saints was certainly a reminder of his well-rounded game.
The centre-back will be planning on forming a solid partnership with new signing Shkodran Mustafi.
Wenger also believes that Arsenal’s other new signing, Lucas Perez, needs time to settle but insists that he can score goals.
He added: “I think he got 17 goals last season. Let’s give [Perez] time. We have scored goals since the start of the season, but we bought one more striker because we thought we needed one more. Lets give him time and not judge him too quickly.”
Wenger’s Arsenal will travel to Paris Saint Germain for Tuesday’s Champions League opener against the French champions.
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