Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny talks up the Gunners great defence - 'it's a very good understanding we have' - Premier League - Football - The Independent

Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny talks up the Gunners great defence - 'it's a very good understanding we have'

Gunners boast the meanest defence in the Premier League this season

Despite their old reputation as being rather flaky fragile artists, the foundation of this Arsenal side, and of their three-front challenge this season, is the best defence in England.

Arsenal kept their 11th league clean sheet of the season on Sunday, with the 2-0 win over Crystal Palace which moved them back to the top of the Premier League. No-one has more than them – West Ham also have 11 – and it is the clear sign of a settled serious side.

Wojciech Szczesny, naturally, has been a huge part of that. Since Wenger dropped him nearly a year ago, he has been exceptional, cutting out the errors that had leaked into his game last season. The young goalkeeper is delighted with how few goals Arsenal are conceding.

“Our defensive record, especially at home has been fantastic,” Szczesny said on Sunday night. “We know if we keep clean sheets we have got every chance of winning the game so that’s been the case. I think it is 11 games at home we have kept 10 clean sheets. You can see it’s massive for us.”

This improvement has grown out of last season. Last March, Arsene Wenger realised that his best centre-back pairing was Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker, leaving captain Thomas Vermaelen on the bench. Those two have been exceptional this season, as individuals and as a pair. Mertesacker has started 32 of Arsenal’s 38 games this season, Koscielny 31.

“It is hard to tell, but we have been together for much longer,” Szczesny explained of their improved form. “We understand each other’s game now. We have had a more settled back four. Sometimes we rotate the full-backs, but in general we stay with the same defence. We understand each other’s games, we read the game of each other, it’s a very good understanding we have.”

Arsenal have started with Bacary Sagna and Nacho Monreal either side of Koscielny and Mertesacker in their last five league games, in which they have conceded just three goals. All season, they average 0.88 goals conceded per league game, their best record for six years.

“We realise if you want to win the championship then you have to be solid defensively and that is the most important thing,” said Szczesny. “We know that clean sheets gives you the best platform to go and win games. If we can keep a few more until the end of the season then we can get our rewards.”

Arsenal’s next test is at Liverpool on Saturday. Arsenal are the only team to stop a Liverpool team containing Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suarez from scoring in the league this season, beating them 2-0 in November, but Szczesny knows how difficult it will be.

“They have been fantastic, their goal-scoring record speaks for itself, they're great players. We managed to keep a clean sheet against them at home and we'll try to do exactly the same thing away from home and hope for a result.”

Arsenal will be able to call again on Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who scored twice against Palace on Sunday. “It is fantastic to see him back after a long-term injury,” Szczesny said. “He can go past players, he can score and if he keeps producing performances like this he will be very important for us.”

 

Suggested Topics
News
John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'That was the lowest I’d ever felt'
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
News
peopleThe report and photo dedicated to the actress’s decolletage has, unsurprisingly, provoked anger
Property
Home body: Badger stays safe indoors
property
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
The programme sees four specialists creating what they believe are three perfect couples, based on scientific matchmaking. The couples will not meet until they walk down the aisle together
tvUK wedding show jilted
Arts and Entertainment
US pop diva Jennifer Lopez sang “Happy Birthday” to Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, president of Turkmenistan
musicCorporate gigs become key source of musicians' income
Arts and Entertainment
You've been framed: Henri Matisse's colourful cut-outs at Tate Modern
artWhat makes a smash-hit art show
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
filmsDaniel Craig believed to be donning skis as 007 for first time
Sport
Mikel Arteta pictured during Borussia Dortmund vs Arsenal
champions league
Voices
Yes supporters gather outside the Usher Hall, which is hosting a Night for Scotland in Edinburgh
voicesBen Judah: Is there a third option for England and Scotland that keeps everyone happy?
Arts and Entertainment
Pulp-fiction lover: Jarvis Cocker
booksJarvis Cocker on Richard Brautigan
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke and Pharell Williams in the video of the song, which has been accused of justifying rape
music...and he had 'almost no part' in writing it
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week