99% Pass Accuracy, 27 Clearances: How Mertesacker And Koscielny Inspired Arsenal’s 2-1 Win At Villa

Some say that attack is the form of defence, but if your backline is limp then you are always going to struggle in football. A club that can argue that the game should be founded on a solid defence is Arsenal, who sit top of the Premier League after 21 games.

The Gunners travelled north to Villa Park yesterday evening and a 2-1 victory allowed them to climb back to the top of the table. The midfield fluidity certainly helped, especially with a sterling Jack Wilshere performance, but the standout players were Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny.

Between them they carried out 29 clearances, 16 from Koscielny and 13 from Mertesacker, and won seven headers. The German centre-half was on hand to complete three tackles, with his French partner winning the only one he went in for, and between them they made four interceptions.

They were both on form in terms of their passing too – Mertesacker completed 100% of his 42 passes and Koscielny completed 39/40, giving them a combined total of 81 out of 82 (99%).

When on form there are few more pleasing partnerships in the Premier League, and I think Arsenal fans will agree with me on that.

Applause all round.