Laurent Koscielny has shouldered extra responsibility in the Arsenal defence since the loss of Thomas Vermaelen to injury, and Arsene Wenger believes he is now playing with more authority and starting to show his full potential.

The 26-year-old defender enjoyed a fine game alongside summer signing Per Mertesacker at the heart of the Gunners backline in Wednesday's UEFA Champions League encounter against Marseille, helping the club to a 1-0 victory at the Stade Velodrome.

"I believe he was certainly Man of the Match in that game," Wenger told Arsenal Player. "You saw in that game what we want from Laurent - he was commanding and playing with authority. That is something that has come out of the game.

"When he had the ball he was calm, he read the game well and got in front of the strikers to save many dangerous situations."


 

Wenger admits that the physicality of the Barclays Premier League was a shock to Koscielny at the start of his Arsenal career, but insists he has now settled since moving to the Emirates Stadium from Lorient in the summer of 2010, and is growing in stature with every game.

"I would say he was surprised coming from France at the physical intensity of the game here," he added. "But he has got that now and I think he is very commanding.

"He had a very good game against Sunderland and again in Marseille. I always thought he would become a great central defender. He is getting there."

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Laurent Koscielny