Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny a.k.a Kosacker have been arguably the Premier Leagues most potent defensive partnership this season.
The statistic speak for itself, since January 22, 2012 they’ve never lost a game together where they have completed a full ninety minutes. They have finished 31 matches alongside one another, winning 22 of them.
The Gunners have one of the meanest defences in the league, conceding just once in the last 11 home fixtures, and the incredible stats has bewildered Mertesacker.
The experienced Germany international was also quick to praise captain Thomas Vermaelen, who he feels is an integral member of Arsenal’s impressive defensive package.
Mertesacker told Arsenal Player:
It [the statistic] sounds not real for me. When I first heard it, it sounded very weird. It’s a good statistic but we have to build on that.
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I think we have shown a lot of people who criticised us a lot over the last two-and-a-half years that we know each other much better now and that we complement each other well, so it looks like that’s a good partnership [with Koscielny].
But I wouldn’t say that’s only us or the two of us. I think when I speak about our centre backs I want to include always Thomas Vermaelen because he’s our captain and he’s always vital for everyone. He’s aware of situations, he gives us a boost, he came back from a heavy injury.
The boss will rotate in the next couple of months and it’s really important that we are all in good fitness and all in a good shape so we can continue our good form and good partnerships with the three of us.
In the case of Kosacker, it’s a situation of opposites attract. Mertesacker adds intelligence, height and excellent reading of the game while Koscielny injects pace, steel and tenacity.
The duos strengths combine well to make up for one another’s weakness’s and this why Mertesacker believes they compliment one another successfully.
In this case I would say we have different qualities. One is more mobile, one has more height. It fits absolutely well together because [these] days the centre backs are not just tall and just have to [deal with] long balls and to head these balls.
I’ve played with many good centre backs with different qualities. But Laurent, he’s one of the quickest players I’ve ever played with, one of the most mobile players, and he anticipates well a lot of balls so he has real strengths to be a good partner.
For me it’s easy to play alongside him. Hopefully he’s going to say that to you as well when he speaks about me! We both take advantages from each other so that is the main key [to our success] I think.
The defensive duo have been the springboard on which Arsenal’s season has thrived. Without forgetting the heroics of Szczesny between the sticks and the consistency exerted by the full backs, having a strong defensive unit is vital and can provide a strong foundation for a title challenge.
If Kosacker can remain unbeaten for the season that will be an incredible feat and they will be knocking on the door of Arsenal’s greatest defensive partnerships. But they must gain the silverware to boot.