Arsenal Debate – The perfect Arsenal centre-back partnership?

Before the Man United game, most Arsenal fans were regretting that Laurent Koscielny was taken out injured and were worried that Per Mertesacker would have to partner Gabriel in defence, but they held firm against the so-called deadly Man United attack force, and along with Petr Cech (5 shots – 5 saves) stopped the Red Devils from making any sort of comeback.

Mertesacker himself was impressed with the partnership. “We had a good understanding [defensively],” he said on the Official Arsenal website. “I think a lot clicked today.

“If one of us won a duel, the other would be there and that was the same in the second half. If he [Anthony Martial] ran past one of us, which can happen, someone else would be there straight away.

“It went well from the start and that’s always crucial. When you take your chances and are strong defensively, that’s a clear indicator that you feel good.

“[Sunday] was just special and then it’s always difficult for your opponents to gain a foothold when they are so far behind after 15 minutes.”

“You could see how much the team wanted to respond [from Olympiacos]. As a team you try and remind yourself of what you can achieve and you could see that we have a lot of confidence.

“I hope that we can display that again in two weeks.”

When we brought Gabriel in last January, I am sure it was in response to Koscielny’s ongoing Achilles problems, so Wenger probably expected the Brazilian to be playing alongside Mert more often than the Boss anyway. Many fans and pundits said when Gabs arrived that he was very similar in style to Koscielny and would be the perfect backup. Despite BFG’s perceived slowness, he complemented Koscielny perfectly when they played together, so maybe it was obvious that playing with Gabriel would be a similar outcome.

So, the question is; When Koscielny returns, is Wenger more likely to drop Gabriel back to the bench rather than Mertesacker? Or, if the pairing that played against Man United was near perfect, will he leave the Boss on the bench until injuries or suspensions force his hand?

Tags Gabriel Koscielny Mertesacker


  1. Mertesacker is the most underrated Center Back in the BPL.
    I’m not saying he should be in all games…However, he instills a calm to the Back Four…more than The Boss or Gab.

  2. OT. here was what i read on manure forum”That first 20/30 minutes from Arsenal is the best football I’ve seen in the Premiership since Liverpool a few seasons ago.Fast, incisive, deliberate, and every single pass was absolutelyinch perfect.Whatever 11 we fielded, we would have struggled to keep upwith them I feel… but I think having a solid midfield (3 in there instead of 2 – which shouldbe par for the course away at the Emirates) would have stopped the wave a little bit.” makes me proud to b a gunner.

  3. Definitely Kos and Gab. They’re promising more dynamic and mobile CB. They are backing up for each other, not like BFG who often need back ups rather then make one.

    1. @Budd
      Me too. I think he should be paired with Per, taking over the role Kos had in their pairing.

  4. Sometimes I simply find it difficult to understand that fans want Mertesacker to be dropped, because he is “too slow”. Is it only based on pace that fans would pick a CB??

  5. It’s not THAT straightforward…

    Gabriel Mertesacker (Captain) Cazorla
    Koscielny Mertesacker (Captain) Cazorla
    Koscielny Gabriel Cazorla (Captain)

    Which is better?

    Football is funny – you take out one player and you affect something completely unrelated ?

    1. Fans will argue that Koscielny never really got the chance to become the captain. If that happened, our win % would be much better.

  6. Why fix it if it ain’t broken.
    it love Kos but let him be 150% fit..then worry about it depending g on the opponent.
    But for me the principle remains. We didn’t conceed and the scored 3 times. What’s there to fix?

    1. But fans will still demand a Gab-Kos partnership because Mertesacker is just “too-slow”. He make “countless” errors for which Kos or Gab have to work 2-3 times more.

  7. From evidence so far what is apparent is that Chambers and Gabriel cannot start together as long as the other two defenders are available. Chambers performs well alongside Mert, while Gabriel and Koscielney perform well alongside Mert. Their partnership while fascinating is however subject to one odd moment that can cost us games. As an example in the Olympiacos game they went for the same ball causing confusion that led to a corner kick, which became goal number one for Olympiacos. While that could be blamed on lack of communication, it was also in part a factor of their aggressive nature. This is where Mert becomes important to our defence. He is less aggressive but reads situations better than the two other defenders.

    An article was done here in which the writer argued that the best CB partnering must have an aggressor CB and a sweeper CB. If one was to go by the logic of that article then the conclusion will be that any defensive partnership with Mert will be fine for us.

  8. As for me, I’d prefer Mertesacker’s partnership with either of Koscielny or Gabriel. Even though he doesn’t have enough pace as we would have loved, he compensates for his lack of pace with his good reading of the game to know when to make last ditch tackles and timely interceptions….

Comments are closed

Top Blog Sponsors