Arsenal’s Per Mertesacker has come out paying tribute to his defensive partner Laurent Koscielny as the Gunners fought back from a goal down to salvage a deserved draw away from home. The French international equalized eight minutes from time to snatch a point for the North London club and Mertesacker was full of praise for his French team-mate who was making his first league start of the season.
The German defender told Sky Sports, ‘We had to be strong today, it was a very difficult match for us. We have a great squad this year and a lot of great centre-backs at the moment. Thomas is at home a little bit ill and Laurent came in and did fantastically. It was a solution.’
‘We are a strong squad and we have to stick together. We did well today and we have to keep on going.’
Wenger was also quick to echo the praise for Koscielny. ‘I’m not worried about Koscielny – he is top class. We have three top-class central defenders. We were in danger a few times on the counter-attack but overall we were solid.’
The Frenchman remained positive about the result but hinted that Arsenal could’ve done better and probably should’ve taken all three points from the match.
‘We are a bit frustrated because we feel we had the chances early on and late in the game. But you can see that we are a team and we are a strong team. Manchester City score a lot from set pieces and they did it again today.’
‘It’s down to consistency and what happened today should strengthen our belief,’ he added. ‘But we are not the perfect team yet and there is still room for improvement. I believe we have a chance.’
While the match ended in a draw, Wenger now has the headache of choosing two central defenders from a possible three to start each game-a problem many managers would relish. While Koscielny scored the goal to bring Arsenal on level terms, Mertesacker played to a man of the match performance. With Vermaelen suffering a illness, one expects that once he recovers, he’ll be the only Arsenal player whose position is certain this season, or is it?