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Szczesny: Solid defence key

Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny believes the side's defensive versatility has helped them maintain the meanest backline in the Premier League.

Poland international Szczesny has kept 14 clean sheets for the Gunners this season but has been screened by a variety of different players due to injuries and suspensions.

Apart from their 6-3 defeat at Manchester City in December, Arsenal have given little away this season and have conceded just one goal in five matches since that drubbing.

Szczesny prefers to play as part of a settled backline but feels changes in personnel have not impaired their title challenge.

"I prefer to play behind the same back four because we have got a very good understanding, but you have to give credit to the players that have come in," he said.

"When everyone does as well as they have been doing recently, it really doesn't matter.

"Thomas Vermaelen has done really well when he has been in the team as have the others, like Nacho Monreal and Carl Jenkinson.

"As long as the players coming in are in good shape and bring in the same principles into the game, it doesn't make much difference. Hopefully they can maintain that form."

Szczesny admits they have had to work at their defensive game in recent seasons but feels the improvements have paid dividends.

"We have always wanted to improve because over the last few years we haven't been the strongest in the league defensively," he added.

"Last season we improved a lot, but I think now we are showing much more consistency in our defending.

"There is still room for improvement, but I have to credit the defenders and the shape of the whole team."

Watch Arsenal face Aston Villa on Monday Night Football. Coverage starts at 7pm on Sky Sports 1 HD.