Laurent Koscielny must start every Arsenal game now until the end of the season

Arsene Wenger needs to fix Arsenal's defence, and that means picking his best defender.

Arsene Wenger was almost a deflated man when he was talking about his side's defensive problems yesterday, but he needs to start asking himself questions about how to fix it.

Key to those discussions should be coach Steve Bould, a man credited three games into the season after a trio of clean sheets, a transformation which appears simply to have been a false-dawn.

But so much of the problems appear to be down to selection. Arsenal have three centre-backs who can lay claim to being first team regulars, vying for two positions.

Per Mertesacker, Thomas Vermaelen and Laurent Koscielny have been competing all season, but so often the Frenchman has been the one to lose out.

Mertesacker and Vermaelen were exposed twice by Tottenham to devastating effect at White Hart Lane, unable to learn from their initial breach to prevent the second.

In Vermaelen's case it is certainly not the first time his defending has been lacklustre this season. His biggest mistake of the season was gifting a chance to former striker Robin van Persie to score against the Gunners, but he has been regularly lacking the spark which saw him hailed among the Premier League's best.

Arsene Wenger's decision to hand him the captaincy is proving a cross for the manager to bear, but he needs to toughen up and drop his captain when the situation requires it, rather than making him a permanent fixture in the first team no matter what.

Per Mertesacker has at times been excellent this season, although on occasion his lack of pace is exposed, he tends to play better with Laurent Koscielny alongside him.

The same can also be said of Vermaelen, which is why Wenger needs to make Koscielny a first choice starter and let the other two battle it out for the remaining.

Koscielny is an intelligent reader of the game and is tenacious in the tackle. The Vermaelen-Mertesacker pairing let Arsenal down against Spurs just as they contributed to the shambles at home to Liverpool in late January when the Gunners were lucky to escape with a 2-2 draw.

It's time for Wenger to change it up, and that means giving his backing to Koscielny and giving him a run in the side between now and the end of the season. It might just lead to an improvement.

Do you agree? Should Koscielny become an automatic pick?

image: © Ronnie Macdonald

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