Former Arsenal defender Martin Keown believes Arsenal have solved the defensive issues that blighted the start of their season.
Arsenal endured their worst start to a Premier League campaign under boss Arsene Wenger before turning their fortunes around to stay in contention for a Champions League spot next year.
The Gunners defence in particular came under scrutiny following the 8-2 loss against Manchester United and their 4-3 defeat against lowly Blackburn, while Wenger’s defensive summer signings also came in for criticism.
However, Arsenal’s defensive strength has become a pillar of their recent improvement in form that saw them go eight league games unbeaten, with the side conceding just six goals at home thus far.
Keown claims the improvements shown by the likes of goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny and centre-back Per Mertesacker has helped plug the holes in Arsenal’s previously leaky back-line, moving them up to 5th in the league table.
“They have looked pretty solid, even with a big injury list, and Wojciech Szczesny, apart from one uncharacteristic mistake the other night, has been outstanding," the former Arsenal defender said.
“A year ago people were screaming at Arsene Wenger to go out and buy a world-class keeper, but Szczesny looks like he’s going to be the solution after all. The other demand was for a commanding centre-back, and Per Mertesacker has settled in well.”
Arsenal will look to keep their hopes of ending a six year trophy drought this season alive when they face Leeds in the third round of the F.A Cup on Monday night.
Mertesacker may have endured a shaky start to his career at the Emirates Stadium but has appeared much more solid in recent weeks, and now the German International says Arsenal will look to go far in the competition with the goal of ending their silverware drought.
"The FA Cup in Germany is very famous and it is very good to be part of it - it is a great feeling. Hopefully we will go through the next few rounds,” he commented.