Former winger Matthew Etherington has labelled Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker a liability on Twitter following his dismissal during his side’s 1-0 defeat to Chelsea at the weekend.
The German World Cup winner has long been susceptible against pace and sharp movement and that was no different on Sunday as he was totally caught out by Chelsea’s Diego Costa.
A fabulous through ball released the striker and without hesitation Mertesacker lunged in knowing he was the last man and prompted an obvious foul and ensuing red card.
The incident happened after just 19 minutes, leaving Arsenal with a mountain to climb in a fixture which has so often been among their most difficult of the Premier League calendar.
Writing on Twitter minutes after the incident, Etherington felt the need to add his two pennies worth:
Said it for a while now, Mertesacker is a liability, especially in the bigger games. Gets exposed time and time again. #ARSCHE— Matthew Etherington (@mattyethers) enero 24, 2016
The decision to lunge in on Costa was not only costly, but it showed a lack of forward-thinking from Mertesacker as surely it would have been wiser to allow the striker to run through on goal.
While there are plenty of ifs and buts, the former Atletico Madrid striker would have still had to beat Petr Cech one v one and in the event of a goal a 1-0 deficit after 20 minutes is hardly irredeemable.
What made matters worse for the hosts is Costa managed to fire the West Londoners ahead shortly after, latching on to a superb cross to beat Cech from close range.
Arsenal tried hard to get back into it, yet playing 70 minutes a man down and without striker Olivier Giroud – he made way for Gabriel Paulista – was always going to be tough and they simply ran out of steam.