English Premiership

Arsenal hoping defence holds

2014-02-04 19:38
Per Mertesacker (AFP)

London - Arsenal have not lost an English Premiership match where Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny have completed the full 90 minutes for more than two years - a statistic the German defender struggles to comprehend.

A 2-1 reverse to Manchester City on Jan. 22, 2012 was the last time the league leaders lost with the pair at the back, a streak that now stands at 32 matches, including 23 wins.

Arsenal have conceded 21 goals in 24 league matches this season, second only to third-placed Chelsea, and they have let in one goal in their last 11 home games.

"It (the statistic) sounds not real for me," Mertesacker told the club's website.

"When I first heard it, it sounded very weird. It's a good statistic but we have to build on that.

"I think we have shown a lot of people who criticised us a lot over the last two-and-a-half years that we know each other much better now and that we complement each other well, so it looks like that's a good partnership."

Mertesacker and France international Koscielny have both come in for criticism during their time at the London club, but in tandem they have become one of the league's most reliable centre-back pairings.

Their form has meant club captain Thomas Vermaelen has struggled to force his way into the starting lineup.

Yet Mertesacker said rotation would be important with a tough run of fixtures approaching, including league matches against Liverpool, Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur, Chelsea, Manchester City and Everton in the next two months.

"But I wouldn't say that's only us or the two of us. I think when I speak about our centre backs I want to include always Thomas Vermaelen because he's our captain and he's always vital for everyone. He's aware of situations, he gives us a boost, he came back from a heavy injury.

"The boss will rotate in the next couple of months and it's really important that we are all in good fitness and all in a good shape so we can continue our good form and good partnerships with the three of us."

Goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny, who fought back from being dropped by manager Arsene Wenger last season to establish himself as the undisputed number one at the Emirates Stadium, said consistency of selection was key to their strong performances this season.

"We've been together for much longer and we understand each other's game now," the Poland international said.

"Over the last couple of seasons we had less luck with injuries - I never played with the same back four for more than two or three games (in a row).

"Now we play with the same back four, sometimes we rotate the fullbacks but in general we stay with the same defence."

NEXT ON SPORT24X

ASEC beat Chiefs 'B' team

2014-04-20 18:12

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
4 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Fixtures
21 April 2014
Manchester City v West Bromwich Albion, Etihad Stadium 21:00
26 April 2014
Southampton v Everton, St. Mary's Stadium 13:45
Stoke City v Tottenham Hotspur, Britannia Stadium 16:00
Fulham v Hull City, Craven Cottage 16:00
Swansea City v Aston Villa, Liberty Stadium 16:00
West Bromwich Albion v West Ham United, The Hawthorns 16:00
Manchester United v Norwich City, Old Trafford 18:30
27 April 2014
Sunderland v Cardiff City, Stadium of Light 13:00
Liverpool v Chelsea, Anfield 15:05
Crystal Palace v Manchester City, Selhurst Park 17:10
Logs
Team P W PTS
Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team
Vote

Which team do you think will win the English Premiership?

 
 
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...

Featured Blog

The stock of Bulls and Sharks 2014 Super Rugby jerseys are slowly becoming available after the festive season break, writes blogger Baylion.

Latest blogs
 

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Newsletters Sign up for the Morning Glory, Super 15 and Soccer newsletters

Blogs Yes your opinion counts. Get it out there

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

Mobile Sport24 on your mobile phone - WAP, alerts, downloads, services

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

iPhone Latest Sport24 news on your iPhone

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

TV schedule Plan your couch time with our searchable sport TV guide

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.