Sitting two points above Manchester City and Chelsea, Arsenal currently lead the race for the Premier League and have only their clinical defence to thank for it. Though the Gunners have managed to consistently find the back of the net this season, it is their unassailable defence that has made all the difference.

Arsenalai??i??s Per Mertesackerai??i??s pairing with Laurent Koscielny has blossomed into one of Englandai??i??s best partnerships. The last time Arsenal lost a game with these two Centre-backs in command was in January 2012 against Manchester United. Having played 24 games, Arsenal have conceded only 21 goals this season, boasting of the second best defence in the league

Speaking with Arsenal Player, Mertesacker admitted that his statistics with Koscielny is one that is not easily believable. ai???”It sounds not real for me. When I first heard it, it sounded very weird.ai???

However the German defender, who spoke to The Hard Tackle earlier, is not one to rest on his laurels and quickly went to add that their defensive partnership is one that must be built upon. Ai??ai???It’s a good statistic but we have to build on that.ai???

Koscielny's partnership with Mertesacker has been crucial for Arsenal's success

Koscielny’s partnership with Mertesacker has been crucial for Arsenal’s success

Talking about his partnership with Koscielny, Mertesacker believes that the two defenders are very different in nature and hence are able to complement each other on the pitch. While Mertesacker is giant that stands tall in the defence, his lack of mobility is made up by Koscielnyai??i??s fast approach to the game.

“In this case I would say we have different qualities. One is more mobile, one has more height. It fits absolutely well together because these days the centre backs are not just tall and just have to deal with long balls.ai???

“I’ve played with many good centre backs with different qualities. But Laurent, he’s one of the quickest players I’ve ever played with, one of the most mobile players, and he anticipates a lot of balls well so he has real strengths to be a good partner.”

Arsenalai??i??s defence had always plagued manager Arsene Wenger with the team conceding 49 goals in 38 league matches during the 2011-2012 season. A leaky defence has since then been transformed into a well-oiled unit, proving to be Arsenalai??i??s backbone in their current campaign.

Mertesacker has played an important role in this transition. He has been a crucial presence for Arsenal this season, figuring in 22 of its 24 league matches. Koscielny too has cemented his position in the starting eleven, having missed only 3 games due to injuries and suspensions. The duo have managed to maintain an impeccable home record, having conceded just one goal in their last eleven fixtures. Their blooming partnership has relegated club captain Thomas Vermaelen to the bench, who has made it to the starting eleven on only 3 occasions. But Mertesacker is quick to point out that Vermaelenai??i??s contribution to the defence cannot be overlooked.

“I wouldn’t say that it’s only us or the two of us. I think when I speak about our centre-backs I want to include Thomas because he’s our captain and he’s always vital for everyone.”

With the season entering its business end, Arsenal will be banking on their defence to maintain their impressive record in their bid to win the League. With Champions League starting late this month, the German defender knows that Wenger will be counting on all his resources to keep their campaign alive.

“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.”

It now remains to be seen how the club from London fares in the upcoming fixtures with just a couple of months to go for the season to end. But what can be ascertained for sure is that Mertesackerai??i??s partnership with Koscielny is one to stay.

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