Paul Mariner impressed with 'excellent' Paulista; but explains why Mertesacker should return

Per Mertesacker

Former Arsenal striker Paul Mariner was impressed with Gabriel Paulista's display against Everton.

Arsenal's fine Premier League form continued on Sunday with a much-needed 2-0 win over Everton at the Emirates Stadium - just days after their Champions League nightmare against Monaco.

Goals from Olivier Giroud and Tomas Rosicky helped the Gunners to a third successive league win and eighth win in the last ten games.

The game saw manager Arsene Wenger make a big decision in defence - dropping Per Mertesacker to the bench in favour of January signing Gabriel Paulista.

The former Villarreal man, 24, had made just two appearances before his start against Everton, but performed admirably alongside Laurent Koscielny in the Gunners backline.

Speaking to ESPN, former Arsenal striker Paul Mariner, who scored 17 goals in 70 goals for the Gunners in the 1980's, said that Paulista was 'excellent' against the Toffees on Sunday.

"He did very, very well," said Mariner. "He made two absolutely fantastic tackles; well-timed, critical challenges. For me, he had a fairly quiet game and I think for a central defender, that's exactly what you want - I thought Gabriel Paulista was excellent in the game."

After such an impressive display from the Brazilian, many are wondering whether Wenger will stick with Paulista over Mertesacker for the rest of the season - but Mariner doesn't see that happening.

"Will he be there for the rest of the season? I doubt it. Mertesacker, for me, when Koscielny was injured, was the rock, was the leader of that side - so I think the manager has a duty to bring him back in, and I think he will," he added.

Wenger has already wielded his axe on goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny this season, prefering to play David Ospina between the sticks, and could well do the same with Mertesacker after Paulista's display this weekend.

Register for ARSENAL team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch