Savage: Arsenal dropping 'extremely poor' Mertesacker was the right decision

Per Mertesacker

Arsenal dropped Per Mertesacker to the bench against Everton.

Arsenal handed a first league start to Gabriel Paulista against Everton, leaving out Per Mertesacker.

The German was one of several players to disappoint in the midweek Champions League loss to Monaco, while Paulista has been waiting for his chance in the Premier League ever since.

Pundit Robbie Savage believes the change made by manager Arsene Wenger was a positive one.

He told BBC Match of the Day 2: "I thought leaving Mertesacker out was the right thing to do. He was extremely poor in midweek and the new guy came in and done well."

"I don't think Mertesacker would've made those two challenges Gabriel did. He wouldn't have had the legs to get there."

Paulista looked composed in helping Arsenal keep a clean sheet, settling into the game after an early nervous moment. The Brazilian was one of the best players in the Arsenal team, and looked to be communicating well with goalkeeper David Ospina.

Mertesacker looked particularly out of sorts in the week, with his lack of pace exposed on the counter attack by Monaco along with a poor positional sense.

Paulista coming in is not the beginning of the end for the German, but it is a message to him that he needs to improve and his place should not be taken for granted.

Arsene Wenger has shown before he is not afraid to make big decisions at this stage of the season, like dropping Thomas Vermaelen in previous seasons, and so Mertesacker has to show he has learned his lessons, as really Paulista did nothing which suggested he deserves to be dropped himself.

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