Arsenal find themselves at the summit of the Barclays Premier League table, as they enter the month of February which many pundits and expert analysts have earmarked as the period where the Gunners' title charge will fade away.
The fixture list, has the North London team facing Liverpool, Manchester United, Liverpool again and European champions Bayern Munich all in the matter of eleven days. Eleven days in which Arsene Wenger will be hoping for his team to banish any doubt of their title credentials.
Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny. A year ago, the giant German centre back was criticised as a Wenger 'flop' who lacked the pace and intensity for the Premier League, whereas Koscielny has never really been allowed to forget his part in the Carling Cup final defeat to Birmingham City.
Fast forward 10 months, and the two have developed into arguably the best centre back partnership in the Premier League having not lost a match in the last 31 occasions they have completed the full 90 minutes.
One of the main reason behind the pairs success is that in essence, they are two completely different types of players.
What Mertesacker lacks in pace and agility he compensates with fantastic positional awareness and the wonderful ability to read the game. Of course, with Koscielny not being one of the tallest centre backs, the Germans height, all 6"6 of him, brings much needed height to the Gunners backline.
Koscielny makes up for his lack of height with a fantastic ability to leap into the air making him almost as effective as his German counterpart in the air. At ease with the ball at his feet, the French international is undoubtedly one of the best in the world at making early interceptions to break up opposition attacks and launching Arsenals counter attacks.
The £10million signing from Lorient is also blessed with abundant pace allowing him to cover when the ball is played in behind Mertesacker, a tactic often used to no avail by opposing teams this season.
The partnership between the two has been aided by the continuity in the Gunners backline this season, something which hadn't happened for a few seasons due to numerous injuries. The two have developed a fantastic understanding both on and off the pitch meaning that Arsenal have not lost a Premier League game that the two have completed since January 22, 2012.
The record will be put to the test in the upcoming month, with the Gunners facing world class players including the likes of Luis Suarez, Robin van Persie and Franck Ribery. Mertesacker however is confident of extending their run, saying on Arsenals official website, "It's a good statistic but we have to build on that."
If Mertesacker and Koscielny can end the month of February still unbeaten, 2014 may be the season the Premier League title returns to North London.
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