Matthew Etherington brands Arsenal's Per Mertesacker a liability, fans agree

Per Mertesacker

Arsenal’s Per Mertesacker struggled during his side’s win over Watford.

Former West Ham United player Matthew Etherington has said that he is puzzled by Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger’s decision to select Per Mertesacker, branding the German defender a liability on Twitter.

The 2014 World Cup winner has always attracted plenty of doubters, with his lack of pace fairly obvious and his apparent frailty when it comes to aerial battles despite having a clear size advantage.

Against Watford, Wenger selected his number one centre-back pairing of Laurent Koscielny and Mertesacker, and the duo helped the Gunners to a comfortable 3-0 victory. Or so it appears.

In reality, the visitors were under the cosh a little bit during the opening period and Mertesacker in particular was looking very uneasy, often relying on Koscielny to bail him out.

Writing on Twitter during the encounter, Etherington picked up on the 6ft 6inch defender’s struggles and questioned why Arsenal boss Wenger persists on playing him.

 

  Def Duels WonDef Duels LostAerial Duels WonAerial Duels LostFoulsMins Played
Per Mertesacker 4 4 2 3 2 90

As per the table provided by Opta Stats, the former West Ham man may have a point as Mertesacker certainly didn’t represent the dominant centre-back he has previously been shown to be.

The former Werder Bremen centre-back struggled to get to grips with Watford’s Troy Deeney and came out second best in aerial battles with the striker, despite his clear height advantage.

Fortunately for the defender, his fellow teammates were up to the job and made some critical challenges when it looked for all the world that the Hornets would break the deadlock.

Taking to Twitter after the game, a number of Arsenal supporters were in agreement with Etherington and implored Mertesacker to show a little more consistency as he looked a very different player to the one who featured against Manchester United two weeks ago.

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