Carragher: Arsenal's centre-backs need to be better in big games

Miyaichi Wilshere Koscielny Monreal And Ramsey

The former Liverpool defender believes Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny must improve against top sides.

Jamie Carragher believes Arsenal's centre-back partnership must fare better in 'big games' ahead of the new Premier League season.

Mertesacker and Koscielny kept 16 clean sheets for the Gunners but were also involved in heavy defeats against Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool.

And it is in those fixtures against the top sides that Carragher has challenged Arsenal's defensive duo to raise their game.

While Arsenal did indeed keep a huge number of clean sheets in the league last season, Opta stats show that the side conceded a lot more goals than their close rivals, especially when Mertesacker was on-field.

  TeamPosClean SheetGoals ConcededAppsMins
Gary Cahill Chelsea DF 16 19 30 2,623
Branislav Ivanovic Chelsea DF 16 27 36 3,180
Laurent Koscielny Arsenal DF 16 25 32 2,741
Per Mertesacker Arsenal DF 16 39 35 3,150
John Terry Chelsea DF 16 25 34 3,060
Seamus Coleman Everton DF 15 34 36 3,229

Suggestions have been made, however, that any defensive struggles for Arsene Wenger's side also stem from a lack of defensive midfielders as opposed to faults within their back four.

Carragher has heeded this counterargument, though, suggesting the Gunners do need to sign another holding midfielder this summer.

The north London side have, at different times, been linked with the likes of Sami Khedira and Lars Bender, although Arsene Wenger has recently distanced himself from moves for either player.

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