Arsenal: Do you believe Laurent Koscielny?

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 25: Granit Xhaka, Laurent Koscielny, Aaron Ramsey and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Arsenal look dejected during the Carabao Cup Final between Arsenal and Manchester City at Wembley Stadium on February 25, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 25: Granit Xhaka, Laurent Koscielny, Aaron Ramsey and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Arsenal look dejected during the Carabao Cup Final between Arsenal and Manchester City at Wembley Stadium on February 25, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images) /
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Laurent Koscielny has admitted that confidence is low, but has protested that he and his Arsenal teammates will keep pushing to turn it around. Do you believe him?

Arsenal have lost four games in a row in all competitions for the first time in 16 years. In and of itself, that is a damning stat. In context, it is even worse.

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Of the four losses, two were against lesser opponents: Sunday’s relegation-fighting Brighton and Hove Albion; the first victors of the disastrous run, Swedish side FK Ostersunds, who play at a level comparable to non-league British football. The other two were against Manchester City, the best team in the Premier League era. But while that may perhaps provide pause for vitriol and critique, the manner of those defeats were somewhat sobering.

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Gary Neville infamously described the first as ‘spineless’, charging the Arsenal players of ‘giving up’, even in a cup final. The second was over by half-time with City up three goals to the good. It is the first time that Arsene Wenger has been 3-0 down at home with the club. Not since 1989 have Arsenal conceded three goals in a league match at home in the first half. Embarrassing.

And so, the responses began to flow. First, it was Arsene Wenger in his post-match interviews and press conferences. Then it was the players on social media. And now it is the captain, Laurent Koscielny, in an extended interview in which he admitted a decimation of confidence within the dressing room. Here is what he had to say:

"“We know we are in a bad situation, a bad period. We tried but nothing is with us. We tried to fight and play football but you could see the confidence is very down. We miss a lot of things during the game but we need to push more again and again. The confidence will be back slowly. We know we need to win to have a little bit more confidence in us. We lost a little bit of our quality but we need to stay united.”"

Now, I accept that Koscielny is hurt by the recent run of the team and feels like he needs to defend himself and his teammates from the intense scrutiny that is flying around. But there was no urge or challenge in his comments. They were passive, resigned, merely describing the situation, not revealing an attitude to inspire and invigorate a reaction.

And that leads me to a state of disbelief when he stated that ‘the confidence will be back slowly.’ Why? What have these players, this manager and this club shown that leads one to believe that the confidence will return? Now, perhaps Koscielny is simply stating that it will take a long time for the confidence to return. And, in that sense, he would be accurate. But that is another admission, not answer. There is no statement of intent, no proclamation of change, no show of resilience and fight.

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And that is a problem. This is a collection of individuals that lack character and commitment to face their troubles and turn them into positives. At such a low point in this season, change may not be on its way.