herald

Saturday 18 August 2018

Koscielny: Better defence a team effort

Laurent Koscielny believes Arsenal's improvement at the back has been a team effort.

The Gunners kept their second clean sheet in three games in Wednesday's 1-0 Premier League win at Everton and have let in only four goals in their last five matches in all competitions, all of which have been victories.

After the battling win at Goodison Park, Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger hailed his players' defensive resilience, which has been aided by having a consistent back four in recent weeks of Bacary Sagna, Kieran Gibbs, Thomas Vermaelen and French centre-half Koscielny.

The 26-year-old echoed his manager's sentiments about the display against the Toffees, although he also stressed that it has been the whole side that has contributed to breaking down attacks -- just like when they launch them.

"It's not just the four defenders, it's all the team," Koscielny said. "Robin (van Persie) made a lot of effort to help us, so it's all the team who defend and attack, and (against Everton) we did the job very well.

"We need to carry that into the next game against Aston Villa at home (tomorrow)."

Arsenal dug in for the three points against Everton after Vermaelen headed in Van Persie's corner in the eighth minute.

The win saw them move up to third in the table, leapfrogging north London rivals Tottenham.

Not long ago, Spurs appeared dead-set to secure third place at least, while the Gunners, lagging behind the top four, looked outside bets for a Champions League berth.

However, the form of both sides has changed of late, with Tottenham failing to win any of their last four league games and Arsenal claiming six top-flight victories in a row.

Wenger's men now seem well on course for the Champions League -- they are six points clear of fifth-placed Chelsea -- and have momentum in the race for third, which seals automatic qualification for the group stage.

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