Football

Arsenal legend reveals secret behind defensive improvements

Koscielny & Mertesacker have become Arsenal's first-choice centre-backs (©GettyImages)
Koscielny & Mertesacker have become Arsenal's first-choice centre-backs (©GettyImages).

Arsenal legend Tony Adams believes a sense of familiarity between centre-back duo Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker is the main reason behind them improving together as a partnership.

The former Gunners captain was as solid as defenders come back in his playing days, and he built a formidable partnership with the likes of Steve Bould and Martin Keown during Arsenal's glory days under George Graham and, of course, Arsene Wenger.

Adams, who is still a massive fan of the club, has recently launched an attack on his former employers, labelling their trophy chances as miles off and also admitting that their appointment of new chairman Sir Chips Keswick was a mistake.

However, the former defender still keeps close tabs on the Gunners, and he looked on as the season came to an end and he was impressed with the partnership that blossomed between Koscielny and Mertesacker as the two defenders kept club captain Thomas Vermaelen out of the starting 11 for the final 10 games of the season.

In those 10 games, Arsenal won eight of them and drew the other two whilst only conceding four goals.

Not only that, Mertesacker and Koscielny both weighed in with a goal apiece against Fulham and Newcastle United.

Speaking during a charity event, Adams revealed that familiarity is the reason behind their partnership blossoming.

"It's the only position where you need familiarity," said Adams, speaking at the World Refugee Day charity match. "You need to play with your mate on a regular basis to gain confidence and I think that really worked for Arsenal defensively. [Arsène Wenger] left that alone and they gained confidence. It's the fact that they play regularly with each other that they've learnt [about] each other's game.

"I used to play with Steve Bould. We used to play zonal defence. Steve was a zonal defender and he knew how that system worked. Playing with Martin Keown was different. He was a man-to-man marker and when I used to play with Martin, I used to play differently alongside him.

"To keep changing that scenario is very difficult. If I was playing with Bouldy one week and then Martin the next, it would have been very difficult for me to go from one to the other.

"I think that's what really helped Koscielny and Mertesacker - that they got to know each other's game. For me, Mertesacker is a zonal defender and Koscielny is a man-to-man marker. They got to know each other's game because they played with each other week in, week out."

 

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Topics:
Per Mertesacker
Tony Adams
Football
Laurent Koscielny
Arsenal

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