Can Arsenal’s Current Squad Rival Thierry Henry’s Invincible-Era Arsenal?

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Centre Back: Kolo Toure and Sol Campbell vs Per Mertesacker and Laurent Kocielny

Centre backs should have a partnership that binds the center of defense together. Both of these duos did that.

Let’s look first at our current duo. Many may remember not so long ago that Per Mertesacker and Laurent Kocielny had a streak that extended over two years. It was a remarkable streak. When playing a full 90 minutes together, Arsenal were unbeaten – for two years!

That’s so insane that even Mertesacker had trouble believing it: “It [the statistic] sounds not real to me. When I first heard it, it sounded very weird. It’s a good statistic but we have to build on that,” he said (per

The duo works together perfectly. While Kocielny is a proactive defender, using aggression and foresight to pick out passes and challenge higher up the pitch, Mertesacker sits back and mops up whatever gets through his partner. It’s quite the pair, one that has been the best centre back pairing in he Premier League since it’s inception.

But Sol Campbell and Kolo Toure were special too. Of the four being considered, Campbell is the best. He had pace for a big center back and his physicality out-shined Mertesacker’s too, despite being four inches shorter.

Kolo Toure is probably the least of the four defenders, but don’t take that as meaning he was bad. He just never had a sure spot in the Arsenal starting XI. When he finally did, Campbell was gone and he was paired with Senderos, which was another formidable pairing.

All in all though, I believe that the partnership of Mertesacker and Kocielny was and still is one of the best the Premier League has seen in recent memory. It’s been growing stronger since it started in 2011 and there’s no end for it in sight, nor should there be.

Obviously the two are getting older, but as is, they are still anchoring the Arsenal defense very capably.