Koscielny: January awful for us, but we’re back in the hunt now

Date published: Monday 8th February 2016 1:30 - James Marshment

Laurent Koscielny: Arsenal knock back Manchester United approach

Laurent Koscielny has urged Arsenal to kick on from their vital win at Bournemouth and put themselves firmly back into the Premier League title picture after a disappointing January.

Having been top of the table at the turn of the year, Arsene Wenger’s men slipped to fourth following a four-game winless streak before securing a 2-0 victory against the Cherries on Sunday afternoon.

The Gunners had gone almost five and a half hours without a league goal before Mesut Ozil and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain struck 88 seconds apart at the midway point of the first-half at the Vitality Stadium.

The victory takes Arsenal five points behind leaders Leicester, who visit the Emirates Stadium on Sunday looking to keep their unexpected title tilt in full swing having won at Manchester City at the weekend.

The Gunners are well fancied to claim victory against the Foxes in Sunday’s showdown.

But for Koscielny, he wants Sunday’s south coast success to set Arsenal on their way to a first Premier League crown in 12 years.

“It was important to win because we needed to stay high up the table with Leicester, Tottenham and Manchester City,” he said.

“We didn’t play well during January and we didn’t win a lot of points.

“We needed to start a good run with this game and we stayed strong at the back, and scored two goals with our first two opportunities.

“We had three games without scoring so it was important for our players.”

Koscielny praises Gabriel

Gabriel: Ready to challenge for regular Arsenal shirt

Koscielny has been partnered at the back by Gabriel for the last three games in all competitions, with Per Mertesacker only making the bench fo the last two having been banned for the FA Cup win over Burnley.

Gabriel has a turn of pace which Mertesacker lacks – something which has seen the German World Cup winner caught out more than once this season.

With a Leicester attack including the pace and explosiveness of Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez, Gabriel may well keep his spot against the Foxes and Koscielny has praised his Brazilian defensive partner.

“You know Gabby, he is a very good player,” he added.

“He likes his duels and he can play with the ball and passes. He played very well but the whole back four played well because we stayed together.

“Sometimes in your game you have a difficult situation but we stayed focus on our job.”

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