Per Mertesacker says Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s season starts now after his two-goal salvo helped the Gunners overcome a stubborn Crystal Palace.
Making his first Premier League start since the first day of the season, the England midfielder cut an impressive figure in the centre of the park easing the burden on a squad without Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere and Mathieu Flamini.
Speaking after the game to Arsenal Player, Mertesacker predicted his young teammate will have a big say in the rest of the season.
“[He made a] great impact. I think his season really starts now and as you can see he was the right addition tonight [against Palace].
“We really appreciate that he’s back and he’ll come soon to full fitness. He’ll play a good part in our season. He deserved to be Man of the Match tonight as he scored crucial goals.”
Manager Arsene Wenger was similarly ebullient when quizzed on the 20-year-old’s match-winning contribution.
“Look, I always believed that he could play wide and central,” he told his post-match press conference. “I said that many times that his future will be central.
“He has proven me right today, by scoring the goals but also by the quality of his performance. It took him a while to get back.
“He was injured against Aston Villa on that famous day and it took him a while to get back. Overall I’m pleased that he’s now back to full fitness. You could see that he had some cramps in the end, that he is still a bit short.”
Seems a tad strange that the boss should link cramps with a lack of height. He’s not even the shortest in the squad.