Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has praised his centre-backs Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker, saying he believes it is a blossoming partnership that will only get better.

The Gunners are on a hot streak of form recently and the last six times the two defenders have started together, the side have managed to keep four clean sheets with the latest coming at Craven Cottage when they beat Fulham 1-0.

The single goal that came at Fulham actually involved both centre-backs, with a Koscielny header across goal found Mertesacker, who then headed the ball home for what proved to be the winner.

Koscielny and Mertesacker's parternship has kept club captain Thomas Vermaelen out of the team since the Belgian was dropped for the Bayern Munich game, which the Gunners won 2-0.

Wenger has revealed he is delighted with his centre-backs and believes the partnership is blossoming, but he has also admitted it has been hard to leave out Vermaelen.

“They’ve done well, I must say,” he told the Arsenal website. “Vermaelen had a very good game against Norwich but we were on a run of good results and good stability and we don’t concede goals at the moment so that’s why I keep them [Mertesacker and Koscielny] together.

"It’s a very difficult decision. Thomas is one of the best defenders in England, like the two others. I told them at the start of the season we have three outstanding central defenders.

“It’s about game by game that I make a decision, and it is about partnerships as well.

“He [Vermaelen] has been a substitute for quite a few games and he still plays a big part in the game. Koscielny was a long, long time during the season in that position and that can change very quickly.”


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