Friday 28 October 2016

Laurent Koscielny knows the importance of Arsenal's home form

Published 23/01/2016 | 09:41

Arsenal's Laurent Koscielny knows they face a tough run of away games in the coming weeks
Arsenal's Laurent Koscielny knows they face a tough run of away games in the coming weeks

Laurent Koscielny believes the road to any Arsenal trophy success this season begins at home.

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The defender will be looking to keep out reigning Barclays Premier League champions Chelsea on Sunday afternoon when the now-struggling Blues visit the Emirates Stadium.

And Koscielny thinks the Gunners' form in front of their own fans will be crucial if they are to maintain their challenges on three fronts.

A victory over Chelsea will almost certainly keep Arsenal top of the Premier League while their quest to win a third successive FA Cup sees them host Sky Bet Championship side Burnley next weekend.

Add to that a tantalising Champions League clash with Barcelona on the horizon and it amounts to exciting times for the club's supporters.

But, with a gruelling run of games away from home still to come in the league, Koscielny knows how important home success, including Sunday's visit of their London rivals, will be.

"If you want to win the Premier League, you need to win all your home games," he told Arsenal Player.

"Our seven away games will be very difficult because we play against Man City, Man United, Tottenham, West Ham, Everton, so we need to do the job well at home so we have the points."

West Ham are the only Premier League team to leave the Emirates with three points so far this season, winning on the opening day of the campaign.

Since then Arsene Wenger has guided the Gunners to the top of the table and now, entering a crucial period of the season, Koscielny is right behind the adage of not getting too far ahead of himself.

"We take each game and we will see," he added.

"We want to play and win all games. We are in a period where we play many different competitions, we play the Champions League, the FA Cup, Premier League.

"This weekend is an important game and next weekend too, because it is the FA Cup and we won it twice and we want to continue like this.

"In February, March, we will have Champions League so we need to take it game by game and that's it."

Defeat at Stamford Bridge was a rare low-point in the season for Arsenal as the 2-0 reverse was compounded by red cards for Gabriel and Santi Cazorla.

Chelsea striker Diego Costa, who may not be available on Sunday due to injury, harassed and harangued both Gabriel and Koscielny - with both players involved in separate altercations with the Spain forward.

It was the latest incident in a long-running, bitter saga between Wenger and Jose Mourinho - who has since paid the price for Chelsea's woeful title defence by losing his job.

But Wenger does not expect a different challenge this weekend purely because it is Guus Hiddink, and not Mourinho, in the opposing dugout.

"Honestly no," Wenger replied when asked if the dynamic of the game changes with Mourinho not involved.

"I look at the quality of the players on the football pitch and never at who sits on the bench. Look at the characteristics of the team, of the players.

"We do not analyse the character of the manager who sits on the bench on the other side."

"More than a manager, it's down to the characteristics of the players. They have the same players.

"It will be an intense game. As usual in the Premier League. Overall, I think because of the qualities of the players on the pitch and what is at stake for both teams, it will be a very intense battle."

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