Some say it is the sign of champions - to win ugly, to hold out for a victory that seems terrifyingly close to becoming a draw or a defeat. And that was exactly what Arsenal did against Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday, scoring a sublime early goal courtesy of Tomas Rosicky and then defending for their lives in the second period.
The two Arsenal players repelled everything Spurs threw at them. And it is telling that while the hosts had 17 shots (10 more than the visitors) only two were on target.
The Gunners' defensive duo have been impressing for much of the season, but against Spurs they upped their game. After all, they knew how important the win was, not just for bragging rights, but to capitalise on Chelsea's slip-up 24 hours earlier. And that is exactly what they did.
Koscielny and Mertesacker made 35 effective clearances between them. They also made 26 effective headed clearances, while winning a combined total of 17 duels, 10 aeriel duels and two interceptions.
|Player||Effective Clearance||Effective Head Clearance||Duel Won||Aerial Won||Interception Won||Mins|
In short they were outstanding, and after the match we took to Twitter to see what the fans made of their performances.
It was no surprise that what we found was a truckload of praise, and you can read a selection of them below:
The derby is all about getting the win. That's all the matters. Koscielny was brilliant but for me, Mertesacker was motm. Superb defending.— DC (@DeanLDN22) March 16, 2014
Koscielny and Mertesacker were absolutely immense today. Again.— Highbury Harold (@BlackScarfAFC) March 16, 2014
Hard to describe how bad that performance was all round but defensively it was phenomenal. Koscielny and Mertesacker just huge.— Culann Davies (@CulannDavies) March 16, 2014
I often sit and wonder where we would be with out Koscielny and Mertesacker— MaxwellAFC (@GoonerMaxwell) March 16, 2014
I felt once again. Mertesacker and Koscielny were immense at the back today. Pity we couldn't play our football but sometimes we win ugly.— Jodene Mckop (@Jo_01GK) March 16, 2014
Mertesacker and Koscielny once again proved why they're the best CB pairing in the league. Absolutely imperious and carried us second half— Gooniverse (@Gooniverse) March 16, 2014