Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny have built an efficient and solid partnership at the centre of Arsenal’s back four, the pair were a key factor in the club’s impressive early season form last campaign and will be a very important part this time round if Arsene Wenger is to lift more silverware in 2015. For along time now Wenger has struggled to replace the likes of Tony Adams, Steve Bould and Martin Keown who were pillars for Wenger’s success. There have been poor replacements in the past the likes of Pascal Cygan, Mikael Silvestre and Philippe Senderos to name just a few.
Eyebrows were raised when Koscielny was bought in the Summer of 2010 for around £9 Million, Koscielny was relatively unknown and many fans at the time were hoping for a much bigger name. Koscielny at first took sometime to settle but is now one of the most efficient and reliable central defenders in the Premier League. The French defender has improved every season under Wenger and has now become one of the club’s leaders. He has a bit of everything a top class defender needs. He is good in the air, quick, strong, agile and loves a challenge. he also has good attacking attributes which he learned from his days in France as a right back and is very useful in the final third.
Per Mertesacker is many Arsenal fans pick for club Captain he already reminds me of the Arsenal legend Tony Adams in stature, leadership and organisation. Like Adams, Mertesacker is not the quickest but what he lacks in pace he makes up in awareness, he is a great reader of the game. Mertesacker signed from Werder Bremen in August 2011 for a fee believed to be in the region of £8 Million, this came very soon after the 8-2 humiliation at the hands of Manchester United something that will never be forgotten, nor should it be. The Big German struggled to adapt to English football in his first season many expected him to seek a move after his first season. Mertesacker has worked hard and it shows, he is the organiser of the back four, a pillar of strength. Before his arrival Arsenal had been seen as very light at the back, easy to dominate with Mertesacker’s inclusion Arsenal look more solid and a lot more difficult to beat.
As a partnership Mertesacker and Koscielny are vital to any success they may have next season, they work so well due to the fact they both bring different qualities. Mertesacker is the organiser of the two whereas Koscielny is the more mobile out of the two. Mertesacker’s awareness is second to none and was found in the right position at the right time countless times last season were it not for him than many more points could have been dropped. Many people mention the 3 games that Arsenal were humiliated last season away at Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester City. These 3 games yielded an abysmal defensive record that should always been in the back of their minds as a reminder of what can happen if you are not 100%. Those games aside, defensively Arsenal only conceded 41 goals all season which was only 4 more than the eventual winners Manchester City. Even more impressive were the 11 goals that were conceded at home all season which was the same as Mourinho’s Chelsea and saw them equal Blackburn’s defensive record set back in the 1993/94 season.
One season on and the partnership is a year older and has gained more experience, their is renewed vigor since winning the FA Cup and money is being spent. Mertesacker will not be available due to his World Cup Winning excursions with Germany but one thing is certain the partnership he has built with Koscielny will be key if Arsenal are to lift the Premier league trophy.
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