Did Arsenal’s BFG just need Koscielny back?

It does not take a rocket scientist or even a football expert to see that Arsenal’s leaky defence was a major reason for the club’s struggles in the season so far. Very few clean sheets, defensive errors, letting Anderlecht come back from three goals down and then the loss to Manchester United when the visitors had hardly any chances just highlighted the issue.

And although the injuries to Mathieu Debuchy and Laurent Koscielny were very damaging for our defence, it was actually our first choice centre back Per Mertesacker that was struggling as much or more than Calum Chambers of Nacho Monreal.

Initially it was thought that the German was suffering a World Cup hangover, but that excuse could only last so long. In the Premier League defeats by Swansea City and Man United, Mertesacker’s performance stats on Squawka.com were the worst of all our defenders, significantly worse than the stand in centre back Monreal’s.

But I think that the German was suffering as all the responsibility was on him and he was trying to organise, cover for and second guess his team mates. It remains to be seen if I am right, but I think that now he has Laurent Koscielny back alongside him in the pairing that did so well for us last year, our BFG will become his old reliable self again.

His stats for the game at West Brom were much better and he ended up with the same performance score as the Frenchman. They do seem to have a great understanding and their abilities counter the other’s weak points. Do you think we are about to see the Arsenal defence racking up the clean sheets again from now on?

Tags Mertesacker Monreal


  1. True. I think some “fans” have been to hard on the big guy. They forgot that statistically Koscielny/Mertsacker were the BEST CB pairing in the league last season. Mertsacker had a long summer, wasn’t 100% fit and lost a CB partner who he was used to, for several months. Also, recently he had been partnered with Monreal instead of Chambers. Bellerin should have played RB and Chambers should have played CB with Mertsacker

    1. Both Merte and Chambers are naturally RCB. Merte is actually not so comfortable when playing LCB (while Chambers playing RCB) in Everton away game.
      Sometimes we just need to trust our manager decision a bit more, he should have seen them playing during training. To be fair for Merte-Monreal pair, they are getting more and more solid the more games they play together. Not good enough for Arsenal FC though. A new naturally LCB is needed

  2. To be fair aside from Sanchez
    everyoneat Arsenal has been
    roundly even squarely criticised.
    Gibbs Monreal + Koz have been
    in and out with injury. Debuchy is out
    Chambers has played both RB and CB.
    Arteta and Flamni are in and out
    Ramsey and Wilshere are in and out.
    Szcz has struggled. Koz makes a huge difference
    to the whole defence not just Mertz.

  3. It is not by luck that Mert and Kos are one of the best CB pair in the league.
    The problem is none of them are well around, complete defender (only a very few in the world are). They just complement each other really well
    Mert is extremely good at reading the game, positioning and is a towering presence in the box, I lost count of how many ariel clearance he made during the West Brom game. He has big weakness in pace and easy to get turn over, if he committed to a tackle and miss, he wont be able to recover. Kos on the other hand, has a very good pace, really quick reaction, strong tackler as well. His weakness is also well documented, he lack height and strength, without Mert next to him, we are very weak in defending set pieces and long ball.
    Together they are formidable, separate them and our defend is not as good.

    Another important fact is Mert is only good at RCB while Kos is a good LCB. That’s the reason Wenger rather use Monreal in the center at LCB rather than pairing Merte and Chamber who are both naturally RCB. We also miss out the good Belgian defender who joined Southampton as he is another RCB – RB defender where we already well covered. The rumour linking us with Tyson Mings who is the best LB – LCB in the Championship actually make sense (he is English as well) – hope we got him, can easily turn out to be another Chambers type purchase

  4. Nothing can justify the liability that Mertesacker is. I have nothing against him as a person, but when it comes to football, speed is a necessity which he lacks. Last season, half the goals we conceded against Chelsea, Liverpool and City were because he could not track back quick enough and got beaten quite easily in one on ones. You would think well at least the guy is tall enough to win air balls? But that is not the case and we rarely see him winning aerial duels. As a CB, this is also a necessity, someone who can bully in the box and tower over their defenders like we have seen players like Kompany, Cahill, Terry etc do time and again. I would sell him, and buy Matt Hummels and Van Djyk. Hummels is quicker and much better in the air than Mertesacker, our defense would almost be flawless.

    1. @Big Gun
      Exactly. Per is good at reading the play coming at him and in the box(most times) But he gets caught much too often ball watching. Kos had no other option but to play Saido on side because he saw Per ball watchin and missing Berahino sneaking past him.
      I like Per, but think he is the weak link in or defense, with or without Kos. Nachos problem while playing CB was he had to try and play Kos’s role and cover for Per which he just was not adept at doing.
      My biggest peeve with Per is, dude gotta learn to play the whistle and stop raising his hand thinking that stops play…

    2. Big gun the illuminated,I wish others would open their eyes like you did,convert to the truth and stop just for the sake of it to defend the undefendable.Keep on bro.

    3. I disagree with most you say, as a critic I suggested you do some research.

      What I’m most disappointed about is his 2 defensive error this season in comparison to only 3 in the whole of last years campaign.

      Premiership vs champions league
      Defensive duels won; 63% Vs 74%
      (Kompany 41% vs 68%)
      Headers won ;73% vs 80%
      (Kompany 56% vs 67%)
      Chance of fouls committed;30%Vs 0%
      (Kompany 81% vs 100%)

      1. What a relief to know that Mertesacker is better than Kompany But then we all knew that didn’t we. Where did you get those stats from? Have you actually watched this man play? He has survived only because he has a great player along side him. Giroud and Wellbeck make more defensive headers than he does. Basically he is a sitting duck with virtually zero mobility. How can he or Wenger justify him holding a place in a team which should at least be challenging for trophies? How can you watch and not see the obvious!

  5. On a side note, Balotelli in trouble again! Was right about him….trouble maker, lazy on the pitch, poor end product, really glad we did not sign ‘the wanna be gangster’

  6. Arsenal football club consists of a board of directors. Comprised of very intelligent shrewd business men. They are the ones responsible for developing a sustainable model. However a sustainable model cannot be used to measure success in football. Success in football is not measured by the money in the bank but by the trophies in the cabinet. If we ask the question who is more successful between Man utd Chelsea Liverpool and Arsenal? We would measure success on how many times they won all competitions. If a manager is not ambitious enough and focused on winning and be the best, we will not be successful in terms of football. This is the managers job. Not getting the team in to a financially stable position. There are people appointed for that.

    1. I will have no problems with readers using selective stats to push their arguments. However, if one decides to write an opinion piece for readers he/she must use all available facts not selective facts. Per has played about 10 pl games this season yet you only give us stats in the swansea game. In any case in that game it was chambers who was awful all game and the aecond goal was his fault.

      Defending is a team game and we saw in the BVB game that if the whole team defend as a unit there will be a solid defensice performance all round. Offensive players must learn to commit little fouls onxe they lose the ball to stop the opposition from counter attacks. If Alexis had fouled fellaini after losing the ball the counter attack that resulted in the goal would have been prevented. Re analyze all our games this season with that mindaet you will notice half of goals conceded would not have been conceded.

  7. I totally agree with u; watch chelsea u will notice that Oscar plays as though he has been instructed to commit those little fouls up d pitch to break counter attacks and opposition momentum. Cazorla failed to foul Hazard in the build up to chelsea 1st goal when we played them; if u watch closely, particularly in our last two games, u will notice Cazorla making those kind of fouls like he has been talked to about it. Fellow gunners watch games closely to notice little details and form your own opinions not relying on d media.

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