According to ESPN, Per Mertesacker has hailed his partnership with Laurent Koscielny, as the pair have now completed two years unbeaten at the back for Arsenal, who lead the Barclays Premier League by two points.
When Mertesacker was bought by the Gunners from Werder Bremen in the summer of 2011, many doubted the defender’s ability to cope with the pace and intensity of the Premier League, and felt his perceived lack of pace would prove to be a problem for the centre back. However, the 29-year old began with 21 league games in his first season and against all odds slowly but surely settled into the league.
Since the days of the partnership of Sol Campbell and Kolo Toure, Arsenal have struggled to find a consistent pair of central defenders who can keep a clean sheet on a regular basis. However, Koscielny has proved to be the ideal partner for Mertesacker, who feels the contrast in their skills allows them to complement each other so well. While the Frenchman is known for his tenacity and speed, the German is known for his superior ability to read the game and his aerial prowess. This partnership will be crucial in Arsenal’s hunt for the title this year, and if the duo perform as they have been over the season, they will continue to provide Arsenal with an excellent defensive foundation to rely on.