Arsene Wenger says he has no plans to change the Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny double act at the heart of the Arsenal defence.
The Big German and his French team-mate have bonded superbly and been first choice central defensive partnership for the Gunners all season, meaning skipper Thomas Vermaelen has had to be content with a place on the subs’ bench.
And the Arsenal manager says he understands Vermaelen’s frustration at lack of first team opportunities and has praised the professionalism of the Belgian international.
Wenger takes his table-topping side to Crystal Palace in the Premier League tomorrow on the back of a 4-1 league triumph over Norwich, and a 2-1 home loss against Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League.
Next the Mertesacker-Koscielny pairing will be keen to keep out the lowly Eagles, who have just axed manager Ian Holloway.
And Wenger said of the pair: “They have done well, and there was no particular reason to change. Vermaelen’s time will come. In our job the most important thing is to be ready and he behaves like somebody who will be ready when needed.
“It is unfortunately part of our job that sometimes we frustrate people. Vermaelen’s rightly frustrated because he has the quality to play, because he behaves with a fantastic attitude and is a credit to our job.
“Not everybody behaves like him, it is absolutely fantastic. I can understand completely his frustration.”