Solving Arsenal’s Defence Dilemma for Arsene Wenger

Arsenal could have the best set of centre-backs in the league, at the moment; the likes of Mertesacker don’t seem to be playing as badly as people might have expected, despite his lack of pace, his experience makes him a great addition to the squad.

Koscielny is the main man at Arsenal and Gabriel is someone who is still getting to grips with the league and with Diego Costa. While Arsene Wenger continues to not sign a defender, a world-class one, we determine which two players from the three should be the centre-back pairing for the Gunners.

mertesacker koscielny
Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny

We would compare the three using stats from and look at the games from the Premier League only.

Koscielny is a surety but who should pair him

Even without resorting to stats, Koscielny should be the player who is a surety in the Arsenal defence. The Frenchman has the best passing accuracy amongst the trio with a 91% completion rate, Gabriel comes in second with 90% while Per is just behind with 89%.

In terms of winning tackles, the German is leaps and bounds ahead of the rest with an average of 1.75 tackles won per game, Paulista comes second with 1.60 and Koscielny comes last with just 0.83 tackles won per game, clearly shows that Koscielny is not the ball winner but needs to play alongside one.

Gabriel Paulista
Gabriel Paulista

Surprisingly it is Mertesacker again who is the best defender in terms of winning aerial duels with an average of 87.5% of duels won, Koscielny comes second with 69.23% while Gabriel comes home last with just 57.14% of aerial duels won.

It’s not all bad for the French defender; Koscielny is the best when it comes to intercepting the ball. He averages 4 interceptions per game, Per averages just 2.25 interceptions per game in the Premier League while Gabriel is just a shade behind with 2.20.

Blocking is also Koscielny’s forte with 1.17 blocks per game for Arsenal while Per manages only 0.25 blocks per game and Gabriel again is the worst of the lot with just 0.20 blocks per game.

Laurent Koscielny
Laurent Koscielny

Per is the best of the lot when it comes to clearing the ball away from danger, the German averages 7.75 clearances per game, while Koscielny averages 5.67 clearances per game and Gabriel again comes in last with 5.60 clearances per game.

What is clear is that Koscielny needs to play alongside someone and while many would expect the younger Gabriel to take up the mantle, the player who would be a better partner for Kos would be Per.

Written by Saiyed Adeem Karim

Ditching a corporate job to follow a dream isn’t easy, but when football comes calling, who can say no? Been following the beautiful game since 1998. FIFA addict, F1 fanatic.
Follow me @bonbonkayzee

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