Rio Ferdinand believes Arsenal star Laurent Koscielny has become the best defender in the Premier League following his standout performance against Olympiakos on Wednesday.
Olivier Giroud dominated the headlines on Thursday morning and rightly so. The striker scored all three goals in what was his first hat-trick for the club, allowing Arsenal to qualify for the Champions League knockout round against all odds.
But Arsenal may be riding alongside Manchester United in the Europa League had it not been for Koscielny's display alongside Per Mertesacker. The 30-year-old made several superb contributions to keep Arsenal's clean sheet intact before Giroud did the business at the other end.
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While the majority of pundits were purring over his compatriot, Ferdinand made sure the performance of Koscielny was recognised in equal measure.
"Laurent Koscielny, when he's on form, he's the best defender in the league for me,” Ferdinand told BT Sport. "He's one of those you don't want to play against – he's quick, he's aggressive."
Sitting alongside Ferdinand was Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard, who also took the chance to talk up Koscielny's monumental display. He described it as one of the best European performances he had ever seen from a defender, which is quite a claim.
"Koscielny put in one of the best European defensive performances I’ve ever seen. Up there with the Terrys and Carraghers,’ he said on BT Sport after the match.
"Giroud will get all the headlines but for me Koscielny was man of the match tonight; last-ditch tackles, big headers."
The stats & reaction
They add up. The 30-year-old made three interceptions, eight clearances and gave away no fouls in the space of 90 minutes.