Stan Collymore on Arsenal’s defence and Per Mertesacker

Per Mertesacker

Former Liverpool striker Stan Collymore has his say on Arsenal’s defensive problems.

Stan Collymore has written in the Bleacher Report that Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger should try to make Per Mertesacker a leader in defence.

The Gunners are in great form at the moment and are on course for a top-four finish in the Premier League, but defensively they continue to struggle.

Arsenal conceded no fewer than three goals against AS Monaco in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie at the Emirates Stadium last month.

Then on Wednesday, the North London outfit shipped a late goal against Queens Park Rangers to make it tough for themselves in the final minutes of the Premier League clash at Loftus Road.

One of the Arsenal defenders to have faced criticism is Mertesacker, who is being seen by many as a liability.

The 2014 World Cup winner has not been at his best this season and has made mistakes throughout the campaign.

However, with the injury to Gabriel Paulista, the former Germany international centre-back is certain to feature for the Gunners in the coming matches.

Former Liverpool striker Collymore seems to rate Mertesacker as the best defender in the Arsenal team, but he believes that Wenger needs to give him more responsibility.

“If I was Arsene Wenger, I would put my arm around Mertesacker and say: ‘On the pitch, you have to organise and be the disciplinarian’, Collymore wrote in the Bleacher Report.

“The squad brought in Gabriel Paulista, but in all honesty, I don't trust Wenger's policy in buying defenders anyway. With his pedigree, Mertesacker is the best they have.”

Collymore’s comment about Mertesacker being the best defender in the Arsenal squad is very bold and debatable.

  Goals ConcededError Lead To GoalError Lead To ShotClean SheetAppearancesMins Played
Per Mertesacker 29 0 2 8 26 2,340
Kieran Gibbs 21 0 0 3 20 1,477
Calum Chambers 19 0 1 5 20 1,389
Nacho Monreal 17 0 0 6 20 1,591
Laurent Koscielny 15 0 1 7 18 1,519
Mathieu Debuchy 12 1 0 0 10 808
Héctor Bellerín 10 0 0 3 11 858
Gabriel Paulista 1 0 0 1 3 128

From the stats above, it is clear that Wenger relies on Mertesacker, who has made 29 Premier League appearances so far this season, although the likes of Laurent Koscielny and Mathieu Debuchy have struggled with injuries.

Perhaps the Frenchman is right in persevering with the German, who is one of the most experienced centre-backs in the Premier League.

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