Hit or Miss: Per Mertesacker

It may have taken until transfer deadline day, but the Gunners finally got their hands on a giant centre-back.

A German giant at that, one with a lot of international experience and a history in the Champions League.

Per Mertsacker was signed by Arsenal from Werder Bremen for a fee of around £8m and was the type of signing that the fans had been crying out for.

A lot of was expected of the 6 ft 7 new boy, who made his debut in the 1-0 win over Swansea City in September, helping the side to a clean sheet on the day.

The 27-year-old took full advantage of an injury to Thomas Vermaelen, and established himself as a starting centre-back alongside the in-form Laurent Koscielny.

He didn’t make the greatest start to his Arsenal career and quickly (no pun intended) became exposed for his unfamiliarity to English football, often being beaten for pace and seemingly unable to cope with the physical demands that the Premier League exacerbates.

You also have to bear in mind that it was the first time in a number of years that Mertesacker had played through a season without a winter break like he was accustomed to in the Bundesliga.

However, Mertesacker began to grow in confidence and form as he battled through to become one of the outstanding performers for Arsenal in December, as the club conceded just three goals in six games.

Sadly, the German’s luck was about to turn sour and during the Gunners Premier League victory at Sunderland in February, Mertesacker collapsed in a heap in the build-up to the hosts’ opener and was subsequently forced off.

The result of the fall was an injury that required Mertesacker to undergo ankle surgery which in turn ruled him out for the rest of the campaign.

The German didn’t stop his work there though, as his persuasion helped Germany teammate Lukas Podolski decided to choose the Emirates as his new home.

It will be interesting to see how Mertesacker gets on in his second year as a Gunner as he will have to battle with Vermaelen and Koscielny for a starting spot, but after a slow start, the German has a very decent first season as an Arsenal player.

Matt Cotton

@FindingCotton

3 Responses to Hit or Miss: Per Mertesacker

  1. Clauddd@live.co.uk July 18, 2012 at 11:13 am #

    Mertesacker has been very underated at arsenal, yes hes slow and was beaten in physical strength upon arrival, but his positioning and organisation in the back four has been exceptional. There was a massive difference in the layout of defence when he arrived and it played a massive part to our recovery. Next year he will toughen up and fight his battles a bit better. But we have a good option now for games where speed isnt neccessary.

  2. kimu200@yahoo.com July 18, 2012 at 11:16 am #

    HIT

  3. j.pollock@live.com.au July 21, 2012 at 3:40 am #

    10 points for trying but your articles blow got a long way to go if you want to make it as a journalist.

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