Laurent Koscielny says his solid defensive partnership with Per Mertesacker is a result of their “good relationship” on and off the pitch.

The duo have established themselves at the heart of Arsène Wenger’s defence over the past three seasons, helping Arsenal lift back-to-back FA Cups in 2014 and 2015.

However, Koscielny believes it is their friendship behind the scenes which has allowed the pair to forge such a formidable partnership.

He’s a simple man like me, he likes to live here and it’s important to have conversations with him over lunch or dinner

Laurent Koscielny

“We have a good relationship on the pitch and off it, too,” he told the Arsenal Weekly podcast. “He’s a nice man, a good friend, so when there is a good relationship off the pitch, it can help us on it.

“My wife and his wife are friends. We can all talk together and we have been to restaurants before. We have a good relationship together off the pitch. He’s a simple man like me, he likes to live here and it’s important to have conversations with him over lunch or dinner.

“We talk a lot and we’ve learnt a lot together over the last few years. I know his qualities and he knows mine, so I know what he can and can’t do on the pitch. That’s important for centre backs.

“We know it’s more about playing together than individually. Each player is very important at centre back and it’s very important that they communicate for their positioning on the pitch. We can definitely help each other improve.”

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Max Jones 2 Feb 2016