Rio Ferdinand believes Arsenal finally have a solid defence with Shkodran Mustafi and Laurent Koscielny
Manchester United legend, Rio Ferdinand, believes Arsenal finally have the kind of defence that made them so famous in the early Arsene Wenger years. The Englishman praised Arsenal's new signing Shkodran Mustafi in his Evening Standard column as the one who's turned things around for the North London club.
Arsenal have been unbeaten since their opening day defeat to Liverpool and have since conceded only ten goals in their next nine games keeping clean sheets against the likes of Chelsea whilst also proving to be similarly stubborn in the UEFA Champions League and cup competitions.
And Ferdinand points out just why Arsenal are a force to be reckoned with this season. “This is the best back four I have seen at Arsenal for many a year. They are settled and look confident,” he said.
“Laurent Koscielny has been one of the most consistent defenders for the last few seasons and has found a great partner in summer signing Shkodran Mustafi.
“Wenger spent a reported £35million on Mustafi from Valencia in August and he’s looked a great acquisition so far.
“It felt like there were a few times over the years that Wenger had an opportunity to buy a top centre-half, but for one reason or another didn’t do so. Instead, he’s bought young players like Calum Chambers, who hasn’t really cut it at the club.”
But Ferdinand is also impressed with the way Arsenal’s full-backs are performing while singling out praise for young Spanish right-back, Hector Bellerin.
“But their improvement at the back this season is not just about Koscielny and Mustafi. I like the full-backs they have too.
“Hector Bellerin is probably the best right-back in the Premier League right now. He is supremely quick, not shy in getting forward, but likes to defend as well.
“Nacho Monreal has turned into a consistent left-back. There are no frills about him, but he is comfortable on the ball in possession and a good defender too,” he added.
And while Arsenal have looked solid at the back, a lot of the praise also has to fall on their goalkeeper, Petr Cech, who, since signing from Chelsea last season, has been a mainstay in their squad guiding the defenders and organising their defensive plays excellently. Ferdinand agrees.
“I think keeper Petr Cech has also helped settle things down. His influence on the back four shouldn’t be underestimated.”
Arsenal were famous for fielding one of the best defensive sides in the Premier League when Arsene Wenger arrived at the club. Their success across two decades was based on a solid foundation of strong physical one-on-one defenders who also had pace.
With Laurent Koscielny and Shkodran Mustafi, Arsenal finally look like they have a side capable of restoring the golden days.
“Arsenal’s success in the early years of Wenger’s reign was built on a solid back four and if they can get that right again now, they will have a good chance of winning silverware,” Ferdinand concluded.
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