When thinking about who have been the best players for Arsenal this season, there are quite a few candidates, but over the last two months there can be only one winner, Laurent Koscielny. The French international saved the Gunners at both ends again yesterday and without him we would not even have been in the position going in to the game. As the interviewer said after the game, his goal was worth around £30 million to the club.
Arsenal are on a fantastic run of results lately, with seven wins in a nine-game unbeaten run which has propelled them back into the Champions League places. The famous Arsenal legend Tony Adams believes that this has been helped by the fact that Wenger has finally decided to play with a settled defence in every game.
Adams said: “What they have done in recent weeks is become a lot tighter at the back, and people like Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny have certainly benefitted from playing together consistently.
“Ok, that has made it tough for Thomas Vermaelen, who has done so much for the club since he arrived.
Per Mertesacker was speaking this week about the Arsenal players needing a rest in order to gather themselves for the last 10 games in the Premier League. I don’t understand this. Is he tired? The way he strolls around the pitch he shouldn’t be, and modern footballers have all the advantages of sports science and nutrition and everything is designed for them to be as fit as possible.
The Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker has just played his first competitive game since injuring himself in February, and it ended in a 5-3 defeat for Germany at the hands of European minnows Switzerland, but the big centre-back thinks that the team will be back on Song by the time the tournament proper comes along.
“Yesterday was very disappointing for us but we’re looking forward to the tournament,” he told Sky Sports News.
“It’s in two weeks and we’ll be in good shape I think.”
Germany have been drawn into the “Group of Death” at Euro 2012 against Portugal, Denmark and the Netherlands, but Mertesacker is not unduly worried.
The Arsenal target Lukas Podolski has also confirmed Wenger’s statements that there has been no deal made between the Gunners and the German striker yet.
The German newspapers have been going crazy this week saying that Koln’s striker has already accepted a deal on personal terms with the Gunners, but according to both the striker and Wenger a deal is a long way from being struck.
“Contrary to the reports of the past few days, nothing has been decided yet,” Podolski told German Sky Sports.
“If there is something to report, I’ll let you know.”
The big German defender Per Mertesacker has sustained ligament damage and the most optimistic prognosis is that he will miss at least the next four weeks of Arsenal’s season.
Mertesacker has voiced his concerns that it may even be more serious as he Tweeted last night: “The foot is not good.
“I have to wait for the physical examination. Right now I’m living with uncertainty. Thanks for all your messages.
“Now off for scan. I fear the worst. Could miss the rest of the season.”
The new Arsenal centre-back Per Mertesacker is ready and willing to face Wolverhampton Wanderers this afternoon, but he admitted that it is weird for him to be playing over the festive period!
“This time of year is a strange situation for me! I spoke to some of my ex-Werder Bremen team-mates recently and they have two-and-a-half weeks off now,” Mertesacker said.
“But I’m very glad to be here over the Christmas period and New Year – you get used to the English ways and it’s a special thing about the football here.
Arsenal’s central defender Per Mertesacker was satisfied by the way the defence handled the job in the Aston Villa match saying that they did a great job to stop Villa’s dangerous chances, but should Villa have had so many dangerous occasions to score?
“We felt the pressure because of the bad game against Man City [on Sunday] but we have now won away from home again,” said Mertesacker.
“We were under pressure but we found a good solution with the first goal. We created some good chances but not as much as we thought at the beginning as Villa were always quick. Gabriel Agbonlahor was in some good situations [to score] but defensively we did a good job.
Arsenal’s manager Arsene Wenger was quoted in the club’s official magazine speaking about the many experienced players The Gunners now have and about the situation with the captains. Arsenal now prides itself with many experienced players who could easily handle the captaincy. Robin Van Persie has the honour right now as you all know, and Wenger announced that Vermaelen is the co-captain, but players like Szczesny, Mertesacker or Arteta could easily take on the challenge they will have a chance.
“Sometimes we are reproached for not having enough captains in our squad, now we have plenty,” Wenger told the Official Arsenal Magazine.