Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker justifies his inclusion with impressive performance

Arsenal Stadium - Emirates

Arsenal defeated Liverpool 4-1 on Saturday and their German centre-back played his part.

When Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger opted to play Per Mertesacker ahead of fellow centre-back Gabriel Paulista for the match against Liverpool, there would have been a few raised eyebrows.

After all, the Brazilian is renowned for his pace and Liverpool’s Raheem Sterling has that in abundance.

But the German international did himself proud with a brilliant individual showing, and in the end it was him and Gabriel who completed the match at the heart of Arsenal’s defence, after the January signing replaced Laurent Koscielny shortly after half-time.

Mertesacker may not be the fastest but he has plenty of experience and that showed against Liverpool.

  Passing AccuracyOutfield BlocksTackles WonEffective ClearancesEffective Headed ClearancesDuels WonInterceptions WonMins Played
Per Mertesacker 94% 1 2 7 1 3 6 90

The Arsenal man had a passing accuracy of 94 per cent, while he won an impressive six interceptions, two tackles and three duels.

He also made eight effective clearances to help keep the visitors at bay and he formed a fine defensive wall, allowing Arsenal’s more creative players to do their business further up the field.

It worked brilliantly, and left some Arsenal fans wondering just where this season may lead…

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