Former Arsenal centre-back Martin Keown praises Per Mertesacker & Wojciech Szczesny & applauds Arsene Wenger's improvements in defence

Ex-defender made over 300 appearances for the Gunners and praises the club's resolve of late after a shaky start the season, adding that attack is now the priority
Former Arsenal player Martin Keown believes Arsene Wenger has now dealt with the club’s problems in defence.

The centre-back made over 300 appearances for the club, winning three Premier League titles and three FA Cups under the French manager, in addition to the Uefa Cup Winners' Cup in 1994.

The Gunners’ last match finished in disappointment as Fulham seized victory with two late goals to overturn Laurent Koscielny’s opening goal, however, the club's form towards the end of 2011 was a substantial improvement from the start of the season when they were routinely shipping goals and losing games.

The team re-grouped and have now risen to fifth place, a point behind Chelsea, and have qualified from the Champions League group stages.

“I know they were caught by a pair of late sucker punches at Fulham, but I am less concerned by Arsenal’s defence now,” Keown told The Mirror.

“They have looked pretty solid, even with a big injury list, and Wojciech Szczesny, apart from one uncharacteristic mistake the other night, has been outstanding.

“A year ago people were screaming at Arsene Wenger to go out and buy a world-class keeper, but Szczesny looks like he’s going to be the solution after all. The other demand was for a commanding centre-back, and Per Mertesacker has settled in well.”

It has in fact been at full-back that the Gunners have looked short this season, as left-backs Kieran Gibbs and Andre Santos, along with right-backs Bacary Sagna and Carl Jenkinson, have all been out through injury. The club have recently deployed of a back four consisting entirely of centre-backs.

Turning to the Gunners’ attack, Keown added: “Bringing Thierry [Henry] back, even on a short-term basis, is a gamble but it’s a real treat for the fans and he has obviously looked sharp in training so he deserves that opportunity.

“[Robin] van Persie is a magnificent striker, but he can’t win football matches on his own every week.”

The Dutch international has scored almost half of his side’s goals in the Premier League with 17 out of the Gunners’ 36.

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