Perhaps Unai Emery’s biggest task as Arsenal manager is sorting out the club’s defensive woes, after Arsene Wenger allowed that unit to decay in the final years of his reign.
In recent weeks he has enjoyed contrasting luck in terms of injuries at the heart of his backline; the return of Laurent Koscielny went some way to mitigating the blow of Rob Holding being ruled out for the rest of the season.
The Frenchman made his first league start since returning from that injury against Southampton yesterday, as Arsenal looked to extend the unbeaten run that had lasted since the third match of the season.
But it was not to be as Ralph Hasenhuttl’s Saints reign got the shot in the arm it needed with a late 3-2 win, aided by some poor Gunners defending in the process.
Koscielny looked rusty and perhaps unaccustomed to the demands of Emery’s style of play at St Mary’s, as Arsenal struggled to keep out a side who have been struggling badly for goals throughout the season.
There was not much sympathy for the club captain, who some fans feel is done at the top level…
Koscielny's first game under our new boss and it showed. He seems to think that Arsene's plan to pass around the back 3 or 4 players is still happening, Get the ball forward at pace and not always backwards
— John Furse (@Bugler64) December 16, 2018
This. Exactly this. Cheap to blame Leno – watch the goal, Koscielny watches Austin but still runs back in a straight line ignoring the runner. Years of poor coaching. Won’t change until we buy top class CB/s.
— Az (@azhar_m_s) December 16, 2018
That’s how Kos has been playing since 2016 and he’s one of the reasons we in Europa 😤
— S A V E me🇺🇸⌛️🏝🚿🦂 (@LouisJammyne) December 17, 2018
I've been saying this since yesterday. All the goals Koscielny at the fault
— ___Arkams (@Dbigdon) December 17, 2018
Kos is garbage
— EDB (@ONESupperGooner) December 16, 2018
Kos has bn such a liabilty for the past 2 years. Gives max. pens, loses his man in the box, greizman, murry kane sturrige,Costa,Hazard ings, austin Long , who hasnt dominated him is the past few years. Need to be a back up at most
— Ramit Sharma (@Guggusharma) December 16, 2018