By Chris Harris
Laurent Koscielny can't wait to experience English football first-hand after years of watching the Premier League from afar.
The French defender joined Arsenal from Lorient last month and made a good first impression when he partnered Thomas Vermaelen in the Emirates Cup on Saturday.
Koscielny followed that start against AC Milan with a late substitute appearance against Celtic on Sunday - a team very much in the Premier League mould.
Arsenal's 3-2 win gave the 24-year-old a taste of what to expect when the 2010/11 campaign gets underway in under a fortnight. And like so many foreign imports, he is relishing the prospect of playing high-octane football in front of partisan crowds.
"In France I watched the Premier League a lot," said Koscielny. "It is a very physical league, with a fast and intense pace.
"I used to follow the Big Four of English football; Manchester United, Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea. I love the atmosphere here with the supporters. Even when you lose, the supporters are always behind you to lift you and take you to a higher level."
The traditional Big Four was gatecrashed last season as Tottenham and Manchester City went head to head for the fourth Champions League spot with Arsenal's local rivals prevailing.
Koscielny expects both clubs to challenge once again although he doesn't think a title tilt for super-rich City is a foregone conclusion.
"Maybe, though I do not know if money solves all the problems," he said.
"A football team is made of 11 talented players; it is not only one good player that makes the team win the match. So I don't know if Manchester City can perform right at the top level, but maybe they can."Copyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 3 Aug 2010