That famous Arsenal back five

By which, of course I mean

  • Szczesny
  • Sagna Mertesacker Koscielny Gibbs
  • with the back up of Vermaelen, Monreal and Fabianski.

I obviously don’t know about you, but somehow the emergence of this back five who don’t let in many goals sneaked up on me.

Maybe I started to realise something was up when Koscielny made it into the World’s Top 100 players in the Guardian.  Not the Premier League’s 100 best, but the world’s.

And yes, I have been a Szczesny fan since from earlier times when there was a lot of criticism of his work, and the statements about him being too young.

But now we see that prior to this weekend Arsenal have the lowest goals scored against, and highest number of clean sheets in the league.

And now, from about 10 days ago when the press seemed still to be doubting the Per Mertesacker / Laurent Koscielny combination everyone is getting excited about the stats of those two.

The latest stat is that the win over Villa on Monday means they have completed 28 games resulting in 20 victories, eight draws, and 16 clean sheets.

Who said Wenger doesn’t care about the defence (by which I mean, it is interesting that it was Mr Wenger who bought both of them, not Steve Bould).  (Although I am sure the AAA will be taking the credit).

Add to this Thomas Vermaelen as backup and thoughts turn to Tony Adams, Steve Bould and Martin Keown.

The media has even identified the moment it all turned good – which I don’t recall happening with the Graham defence.  It was, apparently the March 2013 game at  Tottenham where we lost 2-1.  Now this was in the midst of a superb run but still Andre Villas-Boas couldn’t resist claiming that Arsenal were caught in a “negative spiral”.  but the answer was actually quite simple and easily remedied. The next day.

We are told by those in the know that Mr Wenger does often play films of incidents back to players.  Mertesacker said,  “Sometimes we didn’t choose the right direction and we just lacked a bit of defensive work as a unit. You have a different view on the pitch and you feel different. Sometimes you can’t believe what you did as a defensive unit. Everyone felt we needed to improve and speak.”

Defences which have two players at their heart who know everything that each other will do,  always have a great advantage.  Here BFG leads and Koscielnly does the wild stuff and has had four reds in his time with Arsenal.

Kos, who came to us in 2010 has developed beyond belief, and said in one interview “I always anticipate, I have to take risks because that’s the way I play. When I intercept the ball it’s a risk I took to get it. That’s what I do best but it can lead to mistakes too. When I’m on the pitch I need to go for it. I need to battle.

“Per is more assured, We are complementing each other. We have different qualities and when you add them together it makes a very good partnership. I cover him because he knows I have the pace. I know that everything that comes facing us is for him. He knows that I go for the interception, on crosses he goes for the marking because he knows that I am going to anticipate.”

So suddenly the talk is not of Arsenal not having played the top teams yet, and not even about falling apart in January.  It is about having a solid defence.

Of course it may all go if Sagna leaves the club – but that is the only bit liable to fall apart.  Elsewhere no one seems to mention that Wenger doesn’t coach the defence any more.

8 Replies to “That famous Arsenal back five”

  1. You are very much right….Koscielny pairing up with BFG is gradually shooting up to being d best CD in the world…pace and height are the two paramount attributes that a CD must possess,and as u can see, those chaps possess it

  2. ‘Elsewhere no one seems to mention that Wenger doesn’t coach the defence any more.’
    You are right, they don’t, but what they do is give the credit for our fantastic defensive ability to Steve Bould (You know the same Steve Bould who a year ago we were told Wenger didn’t allow to get involved in the coaching and had fallen out with big time). Heaven forbid that Wenger should be praised for anything!

  3. Mick, even if we won the league, it won’t be because of a good coach in A.Wenger,its going to be that Man City didn’t settle down well at the beginning of the season. Moaners will never cease.

  4. I was a fan of Sir Szcz… since he was out on loan. Read an article on him on WSJ (I think) and they were saying he is one for the future.

    Go Gunners & kick some Fulham butts!

  5. Another clean sheet, another sweet 3 points. 51 in total isn’t bad from 22 games. That’s 2.32 points per game.
    Good to be a Gooner!

  6. @soglorious, twas ever thus with Wenger’s titles; the media claim we only won the double in 1998 because Roy Keane was out for the season with a knee injury, the 2002 double was because Alex Ferguson decided to retire then change his mind, the 2004 title without defeat was because Rio Ferdinand was banned for failing a drugs test and Chelsea had a manager who didn’t pick a settled team! There are always excuses for Arsenal’s achievements…

  7. You can bet they will attribute this season; should Arsenal win the EPL; is due to the fact the other top teams are in transitions.

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