Per Mertesacker shows his importance to Arsenal with solid performance against Chelsea

Taking a closer look at the Arsenal centre-back's performance against Chelsea on Sunday.

Prior to Arsenal’s Premier League clash with Chelsea there were fears the Gunners’ centre-back Per Mertesacker would not be fit for the hosts, having picked up an ankle injury last weekend.

However, the German international was in the starting line-up and he put in a solid performance to suggest he and Laurent Koscielny remain the first-choice defensive pairing despite the January signing of Gabriel Paulista.

Mertesacker was making his 42nd Arsenal appearance this season and he helped to ensure Chelsea’s forwards were kept at bay, even if the visitors seemed more intent on keeping a clean-sheet than scoring themselves in the second half.

  Passing AccuracyTackles WonEffective ClearancesEffective Headed ClearancesDuels WonAerials WonInterceptions WonMins Played
Per Mertesacker 92% 1 5 3 6 5 2 90

The Arsenal captain’s passing accuracy of 92 per cent was excellent and showed the composure the Gunners were always going to need against Jose Mourinho’s side.

Mertesacker also made eight effective clearances to keep Chelsea at bay, while he won six duels and five aerial battles.

Chelsea managed just three shots on target in the 90 minutes, in part due to Mertesacker's presence and contribution. And having recovered from the injury that threatened to rule him out, it is clear the big German remains integral to what manager Arsene Wenger is trying to do.

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