Arteta has discovered Arsenal’s dream partnership as stats prove winning formula

The thrashing of Slavia Prague in the second leg of Arsenal's Europa League quarter final second leg has given Mikel Arteta a glimpse of his dream centre-back partnership.

The Gunners have endured a disappointing season, with defensive errors a key reason why they are only clinging onto a place in the top-half of the Premier League.

Arteta has struggled to find a solid central defensive partnership, utilising Rob Holding, David Luiz, Gabriel and Pablo Mari in various combinations this campaign.

Holding and Gabriel is the pairing which has been used the most, with Arteta selecting that combination 13 times this term.

But it is a pairing which has had little success, with the Gunners winning only three games with Holding and Gabriel together at the back.

Thursday’s night hammering of Prague though should prompt Arteta to make a different pairing his first-choice.

Arteta selected Holding and Mari together for just the sixth time this season and with it brought a defensive performance not often seen under Arteta.

Goals from Nicolas Pepe and Bakary Saka, as well as a double from Alexandre Lacazette, handed the Gunners a 5-1 win on aggregate.

But it was at the back where Arsenal were most impressive, with Prague, who were unbeaten in their previous six home European fixtures, having no shots on target.

It was the latest imposing performance from the Holding-Mari combination, with the duo helping Arsenal to five wins in their six games together, a win percentage of 83 per cent.

When paired together, the duo have conceded just two goals, keeping four clean sheets in the process, which means they concede an average of just 0.3 goals a game.

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  • All of that makes Holding-Mari the best pairing by far statistically, with their win percentage nearly 30 per cent more than the next highest.

    After helping to keep another clean sheet last night, Gunners fans can expect the Holding-Mari partnership to feature heavily in the final months of the season.

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