Sunday, June 16, 2024

BFG: Two years to build Koscielny partnership

Per Mertesacker says his burgeoning defensive partnership with Laurent Koscielny has been two years in the making and is the result of a great deal of hard work on the training ground.

Up until last weekend’s massacre at Anfield the defensive duo had gone 32 games unbeaten when playing alongside each other for a full 90 minutes. While that record has bitten the dust, it’s widely accepted that the Gunners defence has vastly improved this season with 11 clean sheets in 13 home games across all competitions evidence of increased solidity.

Speaking to Sport magazine’s @sarahsportmag about the graft he and Koscielny have put in, the 29-year-old noted:

“We complement each other very well. We are different types [of defender], which makes it much harder for the opponent. One is maybe more aerial and the other is more mobile, so we have different qualities that work well together. But the main part really is to cover each other and to understand each other’s game.

“We really worked on that – we had to work on that because it wasn’t well from the start. But now we are working well together and know each other much better. It took two years to achieve that, though, and to feel that we are ready to compete for more than just fourth place.”

Eager not to make the same mistakes that pockmarked the first 20 minutes of the 5-1 defeat last Saturday, the German made clear that Arsenal know what they have to keep out Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge when Brendan Rodgers’ side visit the Emirates in the FA Cup on Sunday.

“Last weekend was a poor game from the whole team, but we have to stand together in this defeat. We kept them quiet at the Emirates earlier this season, when we won 2-0, but we know they will have chances – they are good enough to create them and they have played really well together  this year.

“It’s not up to two players or two centre backs to keep them quiet – it is more up to the whole team not to allow them too many passes, or too many clear passes around them. If there are free balls out from the midfield or from their back four, it’s much harder for us to defend against them.

“If it’s tight and they can’t play free balls, it’s much easier for us to defend – no matter who is playing up front.”

In a wide ranging interview, Mertesacker also revealed that as a teenager he didn’t think he had the talent to make it as a professional and as a consquence he deliberately sought to broaden his horizons outside of football.

“I had problems with my knees when I grew too quickly. I suffered for more than a year, so I was sidelined a lot when I was 15 or 16. It was a really good experience though – it meant that I took football more as a hobby and tried to achieve something at school. It kept me ‘normal’ to be around normal people, because football nowadays is sometimes unreal.

“When you look at the academy here [at Arsenal], they care mostly about football, and just a little bit about school. Sometimes as a teenager, you need to see different things. When I review it now, it was good for me not to just be focused on football  and look around and see other things.

“When I was 18 or 19, that’s when I started to take it more seriously. And I think it paid off, because when it was up to me to prove I was good enough at 18-years-old, I could cope with situations like this – with the media and pressure situations. Sometimes injuries and not being talented helps you a lot to not be in the focus – but still to get your chance.”

It’s fair to say he took it. At just 22-years-old he was playing on home turf in the World Cup semi-final against Italy. Not bad for someone who questioned whether he could cut it…


If you’re in London you can pick up a free copy of Sport magazine at most underground stations. It’s well worth a read.

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Love our BFG. Whoever dislikes the guy as a person or player needs to get themselves checked out.


Agreed 100%

Bould's Eyeliner

Just let the Big Fucking Tax Collector audit you, you’ll still like him and fork over everything you got.


Mertscielny bromance continues! Hope they didn’t forget to get each other valentines day presents.. That would be awkward with Merts being in the habbit of debt collecting and all..


Oh Koscielny has deep enough pockets to get him something good


We have the squad to win . Wenger has to be efficient in choosing the playing xi .he has to rotate players who are not performing as he did last year against bayern munich.

RJ Gooner

Love the picture on the front cover, trying to look mean and failing miserably.

COYG at the weekend time for revenge!!

Santi Claws

I bet that would look mean if it was in front of you in real life..!

Robbie Rotten

“trying to look mean and failing miserably” Well he scares me (prrrp!)

Dr Baptiste

*insert amusing comment and that John Terry is a cunt*


Mertercielcy will much meaner if they have Flamini and another ‘bouncer’ in front of them.


I still think verminator is a better player


the unbeaten streak is alive if you extend it to games where Mertcielny has played together with Gibbs!

(I know it’s lame but I like streaks)


The back five of Szcz , Bac, Mert, Kos, Gibbs for 90 minutes? What is the win/draw/loss ratio there?

Bobby the beast

Szcz Bacary Mert Koscienly and Gibbs(or Monreal) are still unbeaten in 90mins in the premier league. Monreal was subbed remember.

Frankie Soi



dear brother of Hagrid

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