Mertesacker: More than just goals to 'clever' Benteke

Mertesacker Podolski Giroud

The Gunners centre-back has been discussing the threat the Aston Villa striker poses.

Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker feels 'clever' Aston Villa forward Christian Benteke will make life 'difficult' for the north London side on Saturday afternoon - and not just with his goals, according to the Daily Mail.

Benteke was the most in-form striker in the Premier League before the conclusion of the league campaign this weekend gone.

But Arsenal's Mertesacker has commented on the Belgian's ability to pick out the right passes in 'dangerous situations.'

The German feels the Gunners will benefit from their 'mental strength' against Aston Villa, however.

Mertesacker said of Benteke: "In dangerous situations, he often gives good, clever balls to his team-mates, especially in the semi-final. It’s difficult for us, we know how difficult it is to compete at Wembley. It’s different from being away or at home. You can’t compare that.

"We have a certain mental strength in this competition to come back. We’ve been successful there."

 Premier League Final-Third PassesChances CreatedAssistsAppearancesMinutes Played
Fabian Delph 427 36 3 28 2,434
Tom Cleverley 317 26 0 31 2,520
Christian Benteke 250 33 2 29 2,380
Ashley Westwood 240 35 1 27 2,152
Alan Hutton 207 23 0 30 2,417
Leandro Bacuna 115 17 5 19 981

As Opta stats show, Mertesacker has a point - Benteke isn't just about his goals.

In terms of final-third passes, only Fabian Delph and Tom Cleverley have completed more for Aston Villa in the Premier League this season, while only Delph and Ashley Westwood have created more chances.

Benteke's assist tally of two, meanwhile, may be low but is still only beaten by Delph and Leandro Bacuna.

Add - as pointed out by his Arsenal rival - the Belgian's contributions for Aston Villa in the FA Cup so far this season and you do indeed have a 'clever' forward on your hands. But will the 24-year-old produce at Wembley this weekend?

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