We’re still top of league and finally pundits are starting to recognise our title credentials (finally!). Many are putting this down to our strength at the back, having conceded just 19 goals in 21 games, but is our defence over-performing or is it really the best?
Let’s start with our full backs. At right back we have Sagna and Jenkinson. There’s no denying Sagna’s quality but he made a few mistakes last season costing us goals and more importantly points. However, this season he has shown why he is the right man to play for the Arsenal. He is starting to get on though, which will probably be when Jenkinson gets his chance. At the moment, he’s still making a few wrong decisions and is learning from Sagna. He is definitely one for the future but if Sagna were to get injured I would not feel comfortable with him covering for a long time.
At left back we have Gibbs and Monreal which are probably the most reliable in the league. Gibbs has been great all season and I couldn’t think of anyone I’d rather have there. Monreal is a perfect second choice player and is keeping the Englishman on his toes trying to win a first team place.
The centre back partnership of Koscielny and Mertesacker has been getting a lot of praise this season. Mertesacker now has the confidence to be able to step up and not worry about what happens behind him knowing Koscielny’s pace can cover. It’s like a match made in heaven for the Gunners. Then we have our captain Thomas Vermaelen as third choice and will be called upon in confidence any time we need him. However, we may need a fourth choice. This would ideally be a young player that can learn from the other three and if needed, he will have the quality to provide suitable back up for the others.
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While City and Everton also have quality defenders and the depth to compete, I still firmly believe we have the best defence in the league and our players in general are finally living up to our expectations. You don’t concede 0.9 goals a game by accident! Szczesny has contributed towards that and shouldn’t be forgotten.