Garth Crooks impressed with Per Mertesacker’s display for Arsenal v Manchester City in Premier League

Per Mertesacker’s performance for Arsenal against Manchester City in the Premier League on Sunday impressed former Tottenham Hotspur star Garth Crooks.

Former Tottenham Hotspur forward Garth Crooks has been singing the praises of Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker on BBC Sport.

Ex-Germany international centre-back Mertesacker was a towering figure at the heart of the Gunners’ defence against Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday.

The 30-year-old led Arsenal from the back and was an influential figure in the North London outfit’s 2-0 victory in the Premier League.

Crooks included the 2014 World Cup winner in his Team of the Week for BBC Sport and wrote: “It is no secret that I have an enormous regard for this player.

"He hasn't had the best season so far, but he was back to his composed best against Manchester City. It was always going to take a special defensive display by the Gunners to get a victory at the Etihad, but that's what Arsenal produced and their skipper was a rock.”

Mertesacker was indeed superb against defending Premier League champions City, completing 83% of his passes, attempting one take-on, winning 100% of the tackles and 50% of the aerial duels, and making two interceptions and five clearances.

Earlier this month Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny’s father, Maciej Szczesny, criticised Mertesacker in an interview with Polish newspaper Przeglad Sportowy, claiming that the former Werder Bremen star “showed the agility of a rhinoceros” against Southampton.

On Sunday, Mertesacker was certainly more agile and marshalled the defence well, but despite his performance, the jury is still out.

The German is not one of the best central defenders in the world - he never was - and his performances have not been up to the standards since the start of the season.

One great game does not mean that Mertesacker is back to his best, but the former Hannover star is certainly showing signs that he can step up when needed to.

The Arsenal fans will now hope that Mertesacker can build on his performance against City and maintains consistency for the rest of the season.

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