Poll: Pick your Arsenal centre-back pairing

We move onto the defence for our next poll subject, as we start to build the rest of our team, as chosen by our readers.

I don’t think there is any element of doubt over our best full-back options, so we will not waste anybody’s time with a Hector Bellerin or Mathieu Debuchy debate, nor a Monreal/Gibbs debate.

So we bring the question of who should be fielded between the two Spanish full-backs, and we should have five options to choose from for the second half of the season at least.

Per Mertesacker is our club captain this year, but has been ruled out with injury, and is not expected to feature until 2017. He is a proven leader, hence being given the armband, and could be crucial in your selection.

Gabriel Paulista is also currently out injured, but should be due to return soon, but where he slots into Arsene Wenger’s first-team plans now with the likes of Holding and Mustafi vying for places we do not know.

Laurent Koscielny will be a shock if he does not receive the most votes from this, especially with his performances this season having earned him the Arsenal Vitality Player of the Month award for August. The French defender has been our stand-in captain since returning to action following an extended break after the Euros, and he has been on fire this year.

Rob Holding has filled in well this year, despite only arriving as an inexperienced 20 year-old this summer, and has impressed in his outings so far. He was a close second to Kosc in the voting for August Player of the Month, but has seemingly lost his first-team role to the newly arrived German.

Mustafi arrived from Valencia this summer to become Arsenal’s most expensive defender, and is yet to taste defence with us. I’ve heard some criticisms of his performance against Paris Saint-Germain, but I refuse to be too detrimental on him just yet.

Who do you rate as our best defensive pairing at present?

Select your favoured two centre-backs

  • Laurent Koscielny (49%, 581 Votes)
  • Shkodran Mustafi (33%, 389 Votes)
  • Rob Holding (11%, 133 Votes)
  • Gabriel Paulista (3%, 39 Votes)
  • Per Mertesacker (3%, 35 Votes)

Total Voters: 596

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Tags Arsenal defender Mustafi


  1. Incarnate says:

    Naturally, Mustafi and Koscielny would be first choice but I’d pick Holding and Kosc for mine, we cant have two defenders charging into tackles when we have the option of pairing a calm reader of the game with a more aggresive partner.

    1. josh37 says:

      Depends on the style of football we want to play and the opposition we may face.
      I’d still wager we’re going to look to play a possession game against 90% of the PL teams. Having two pro-active, sweeping CB’s may prove very effective against the teams who will sit deep and look to exploit the counter.
      This being said Mustafi’s blushes were minimized due to an incredibly Cavani-ish performance from Cavani…

  2. mohawk says:

    We have yet to see which is the besting PAIRING. And with Holding and Mustafi as new Gunners we don’t really know which pair will mesh.

    Individually, Kos and Mustafi are likely the best. But remember when Mert and Kos were paired even though Verm was very good individually. Kos and Mert just worked well together.

    It may indeed turn out that Kos and Holding work the best together just for an example.

    To start out, however, Wenger must start his best defenders (Kos and Mustafi) and then adjust from there as needed.

  3. The fact that our best defender is not at 100% proves that there’s a good amount of trolls among us, hence toxic atmosphere that prevail most of the times..
    The most shocking thing for me though, are the numbers which I think is very for such a popular site or atleast I thought so.. was expecting to see atleast a couple thousand even if voters turnouts was

    1. josh37 says:

      It always calms down after transfer period is over. We don’t have a game for a few days so naturally the site traffic would increase a lot more closer and right after the game.
      You really think fans rating players differently to the majority is toxic??
      I think the incessant degrading and belittling which ever Arsenal player is deemed out of form or not good enough promotes far more toxicity personally… Cough* Ramsey… Cough

      1. Break-on-through says:

        I prefer when it’s like this to be honest. On match day, esp after a match there is too much traffic. You have too many to read and they go in one ear and straight out the other. I prefer when it’s like this, you can think about what they’re saying, and if you reply you know they’ll likely see it and then delve further.

  4. mohawk says:

    In other news: “Deplorables in Football”

    1. Mourinho Whining is Predictable: Claims his side deserved a better result after losing to Feyenoord. He always whines about “deserving” to win when he loses.

    Somebody should finally explain to Joozhey how football works. You win by scoring more – not by passing “better” or having the most interesting tactics or having the nicest boots. (Alex Ferguson is the exception to the rule of course).

    2. Conte and Costa: Conte claims he won’t try to change Costa’s “style.” Translation: Costa will continue to be a chaotic nuisance on the pitch – he will continue to provoke opponents and cause trouble whenever he can. Oh, and also, the diving will continue unabated. Happy Birthday.

    3. Barton: Joey Barton banned from his own (Rangers) training grounds for an “incident.” Who could have predicted such a thing. He is always such a fair and pleasant man.

    Mourinho, Costa and Barton all exist to bring others down and make the world a worse place. They should all be designated as poison to football and the league and thus permanently banned.

    1. Krish says:

      include simeone to it 😉

  5. butters says:

    I think some fans forgets how crucial Mertesacker is to our defence. Per is German international, world cup winner and still is an Arsenal player for a good reason. He is playing in a high defensive line team but still manage to be rarely caught off guard considering his super lack of pace and acceleration. At the moment, he is still our most experienced defender. If it was a big match, I still have doubts with Mustafi or Gabriel for the moment!

    1. mohawk says:

      Nice to see some fans still remember the importance of Mert. When he paired with Kos Arsenal were always near the top in defense.

      But realistically his reign at Arsenal is winding down. He has to come back from a long layoff at an advanced age and will now be in competition with several younger talented CBs. We will just need to wait and find out what Wenger plans to do with him.

      1. proffetic says:

        Disagree. Kos made Mertesacker look better than he is. I hope the wobbly german will not appear again and thus extend our best players’ career. I cannot believe that some fans are still holding a candle for this guy. Reality is that fans in Germany hounded him out from Werder Bremen. Ever wondered why he wasn’t snapped up by another German club or why since he has never been on anyone else’s wish list. Still to be sure he won’t leave until his contract expires.

  6. Dennis says:

    Mark my words; Holding will turn out to be a super star!! This kid is the real deal and i would rather “GAMBLE” with him than play the shorter, less speedy, less intelligent mustafi. I don’t care how much we’ve paid for him, get him to play in cup games.

    1. Break-on-through says:

      You don’t need to beat one of them up in order to praise another. Less intelligent, you can say the same for Koscielny, the top comment alluded to them being like for like players, aggressive ball hunters, while Rob is more in the mould of Mert. I think they just need to work out a set of rules, whichever is closest to danger should attack if necessary, while the other scans for second or third ball danger whilst positioned in good area.

    2. mohawk says:

      I also have a very solid feeling about Holding.

  7. Break-on-through says:

    I’m not sure what I’d do if I was the manager. The money we paid for Mustafi, and we don’t want to ruin his confidence so early. Right now though I would say that Holding and Koscielny have looked our tidiest double act, even better than Cazorla Xhaka Coquelin partnerships.

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