Arsenal’s impressive form and the success of their attacking players, notably talisman Alexis Sanchez in the centre forward position, were the main talking points from their 3-0 win over Chelsea on Saturday.
What will possibly have pleased manager Arsene Wenger most though, was that he might just have the beginnings of a solid back four on his hands.
— Zesty Arsenal News (@zesty_arsenal) September 16, 2016
The long-serving coach hailed his side’s display after the win and will doubtless be delighted with the clean sheet.
Ever since the shambolic opening day defeat to Liverpool, the Gunners rearguard has been steadily improving and key to the progress is the central partnership of Laurent Koscielny and Shkodran Mustafi.
The Frenchman has long been the most reliable centre-half for Wenger’s side but with injuries persisting in the squad, it has been difficult to find a consistent pairing capable of providing a sturdy foundation for the team.
The late summer arrival of Mustafi from Valencia however has sparked a change and the pair were impressive against perpetual Arsenal torturer Diego Costa on Saturday.
Their blossoming partnership, while great news for fans at the Emirates Stadium, might be a little concerning for club captain Per Mertesacker.
The towering German defender is currently out with a knee injury and must be thinking that if his countryman and Koscielny continue their current form, his route back into the side might not be straightforward.
— JökAFC (@JokmanAFC) September 26, 2016
The former Werder Bremen man joined Arsenal in 2011 and has added a World Cup winners medal to his trophy cabinet during his spell in North London, but with Gabriel Paulista also in contention for a place in the side, along with some of Wenger’s younger prospects, his place looks under threat.
It is still early days for the Koscielny-Mustafi axis of power but at 31, Mertesacker will likely not wait long before considering his options should he spend the majority of the campaign on the bench upon his return to fitness.
With the veteran out of contract at the end of the season, an exit from the Emirates Stadium next summer seems likely.