Is this Arsenal’s best pairing since the invincibles?

Arsenal fans may not want to go over the top in showing their delight to have finally got one over Chelsea last weekend, but it’s difficult not to think about several key areas that really came to light during the match.

There were several talking points that were addressed as soon as the final whistle went, including Arsenal’s new profound striking option in Alexis Sanchez, Theo Walcott’s determination, as well as the continuation of Xhaka’s fantastic performances. Another area that raised plenty of eyebrows was Arsenal’s new and improved defence, which has made great strides towards being solid since the Gunners’ most recent addition.

When Arsenal signed Shkodran Mustafi from Valencia for around £35 million, we knew the club were getting a World Cup winner and a top class centre back, but I don’t think anyone expected the German international to settle in alongside first choice Laurent Koscielny quite so quickly. In fact their new partnership was one of the most impressive factors in our match against Chelsea, as they showed their capabilities of dealing with one of the most bullish strikers a defence will come up against, in the form of Diego Costa.

Mustafi and Koscielny read the game fantastically both as a pairing and as individuals, dominating the physicality test against Costa and beating the opposition both in the air and on the ground. The pair’s interceptions and tackles were precisely timed, whilst they also kept the pace well against their opposers.

Many have given their opinions on Arsenal’s new formidable pairing, one of which is former player and current pundit Jamie Redknapp. Redknapp said: “Arsenal’s centre backs have been too easily bullied in recent years by Didier Drogba and Diego Costa. On Saturday afternoon, Shkodran Mustafi wasn’t having any of it.He showed so much quality alongside Laurent Koscielny and for the first time in a long time it looks like Arsenal have found a great centre-back partnership.The pair are both quick and good in the air. They are strong in both boxes and will threaten from set pieces, too.”

Redknapp sums it up well and makes some key points that I think we can all recognise. Their duo performance reminded me of a former Arsenal defence that was confident and not afraid to stick a leg in to challenge and to have a bit of ruff and tumble, but that they also aware of their limits and not to get them into vulnerable situations. It reminded me a lot of the stronger and more confident defence we used to see during Wenger’s earlier years and the invincible era. In some of the more recent years we’ve been left vulnerable in defence because of a few stop gap defenders attempting to pair up with Koscielny, instead of getting a player who can match his abilities.

I think Arsenal have now found the perfect partner for Koscielny and they look to set up a formidable back line for the course of the season. Is this defence looking as strong as that of the invincible era?



  1. Incarnate says:

    Kostafi reminds me of Scott and Stonebridge from “Strikeback”

  2. Dennis says:

    Yes, finally! I told you guys alexis up front is the solution for 2 years now? go check. Alexis will only get better mark my words, i can see him transforming into 2 or 3 goals a game player. I’m still sad about being coq being out for 2 week or whatever because he was absolutely on fire, speed, tenacity and interceptions. Xhaka is a fanstaic player but his lateral movement is not as quick as Coq but he makes up for it by being a goal threat if given any space/40 yard passes.

  3. SUNNY13 says:

    Basically so far Mustafi looks a good deal, he cost only few million more than Luiz, so its a good business. More he plays with koschielmy more better, next few games are importnat, we need to win all 4 PL games before hosting the the spurs and away to united,
    This six games can win us the league

  4. ram says:

    Definitely yeah.. When you are splashing 35 m, especially on a defender, you must be pretty sure he is a top player.. And that’s what we are seeing.. The bloke had spent time in England, Italy and Spain before, so he very well knows how to deal with many of the quality strikers..
    It is not only Kostafi that excites me, in Per and Gabriel we hv another experienced pairing.. Also with Holding, Chambers and Bielik coming thru the ranks I am sure we wudnt have to worry a bit abt our CBs for the next decade and a half..

  5. butters says:

    1. Koscielny & Mertesacker (2014-2016)
    2. Koscielny & Mustafi (2016- so far)
    3. Vermaelen & Mertesacker (2012/13)
    4. Toure & Gallas (2006-2010)

    Can’t really judge Mustafi after a few games.

  6. Big G says:

    its still early to judge Mustafi \ Kos pairing at the back but going on what i saw Vs Chelsea they look awesome together and individually. Can they be better than our invincibles pairing? I think they already are, you just have to think Pascal Cygan who never looked very composed when on the ball. I would also suggest as a partnership thay could be as good as Adams \ Keown\ Bould, now they were defenders.

  7. NY_Gunner says:

    Only time will tell. Batshuayi caught them both too high up. And his pace exposed their lack of. Had Conte played 4-4-2 with both Batshuayi and Costa rollin in tandem, then it would have been a real test.
    Let’s see how well they function against 2 strikers comin at them, plus pacey wide men. Then we can call it.

    1. jeff says:

      True, but they are definetly both pacey defenders. There can always be a striker that is quicker than a defender.

      1. NY_Gunner says:

        Understood. What I meant was, I’d like to see how they handle multiple pacy threats…

  8. Wilshegz says:

    so far they have proven to be the best combo we’ve had since Campbell-Toure of the invincibles and hopefully it ll get better.

  9. supertuur says:

    Yes it is good partnership, love the fact we have decent backup options too in BFG, Holding and Gabriel. Lets hope Chambers gets more playing time at Boro and he could be the replacement for BFG at the end of the season. Bielik also pushing to be included.

    Finally no lack of defensive options.

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