Wenger and Keown on Mertesacker’s epic final performance

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Having not started a game all season, Per Mertesacker might have been forgiven for being a bit rusty in yesterday’s FA Cup final.

Except he wasn’t rusty at all. He was a well-oiled defensive machine. A long-legged titan at the back, holding Chelsea at bay with Holding and Monreal alongside him.

It was a brilliant performance from the club captain, and one which drew praise from his manager after the game.

“Per Mertesacker is, for me, a fantastic example for any young professional footballer,” said Arsene Wenger.

“What he did today is just a consequence of an unbelievable attitude, even though he was not selected until the Everton game.

“He played his first game and when he was not selected, he worked even harder. That’s why I would pay a special tribute to him tonight.”

There were also words of admiration from Martin Keown, a man who knows a thing or two about defending.

“This should be called The Mertesacker Final, because I can’t believe the performance he put in,” he said.

“The pressure he must have been under. He’s been out, he’s played one game this season and it’s the biggest game of the season. To perform as he did, the three seemed to suit him actually.

“We’ve not seen him in a three really because he’s been almost last in line. He was magnificent, as all the players were.”

Read today’s Arseblog: Arsenal 2-1 Chelsea: Record breaking Gunners end the season on a high

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47 Comments on "Wenger and Keown on Mertesacker’s epic final performance"

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Original Paul

Class is permanent.

Isaac Jah Seedee

Mertesacker shown supremacy in defend of Arsenal victory during the FA Cup Final.

Gargoyle

I hope it’s not his final performance for us.

SpeedyG

Pretty sure I heard him say see you next year in one of the postgame interviews yesterday!

Holyviper

He says in a tunnel cam that ‘you’ll see him next year’.

Le Jim

Would suggest building a statue, but there’s probably not enough bronze in the world to replicate our Big Fucking German!

Pooner

The Mertesacker Final!!

TweakinGooner

SIGN HIM UP!!!!

Benriz

Per is LANS!

Arsenal Lover

Big in size, big in stature.

Rogerbij

Legendary performance from Per. I won’t forget that one, he perfectly shut out Costa most of the game.

Absolut

He truly loves this club. Fantastic performance against the odds – but so did everyone!

Per

I hope somebody will do a “Mertesacker final” Youtube vidéo with all of Per’s awesome defensive work! What a man!

ngarambe

Mertesacker did well nobody could expected that

Wenger in, Wenger out, Wenger shake it all about
Wenger in, Wenger out, Wenger shake it all about

Per Mertesacker is an absolute hero. So happy for him and so proud that he lifted that cup for us, he really deserves it. I wish we had more like him, leadership, passion, calmness, speaks so well and seems like a top top bloke. Man I feel about 10ft tall today

BODMAS

He should stay, Wenger just need to sign another box to box midfielder and a good mobile striker. They Love Mertesacker here BREMEN. COYG

Gooooooooonnnnaaaaaaaaa
Gooooooooonnnnaaaaaaaaa

Per and Santi signed a contract extension earlier on in the season so they’ll both defiantly be here next season.

Ash

Right I just need to spill all my thoughts from yesterdays game somewhere and here seems good.

Per – what an absolutely amazing man he is. He is so eloquent considering English is not his first language. I dont know if you saw his interview post game when asked about Wenger’s record in the cup and just kept saying ‘Yeah not bad is it’. Brilliant. What a performance. I had hoped a back 3 would work for him because when he has struggled is when he has been isolated but he surpassed all my hopes and was an absolute rock at the back and had Costa in his back pocket, some measure of payback for him getting him sent off a couple of seasons ago.

Monreal – I think there were any number of contenders for man of the match yesterday and while there were probably more deserving players, I thought Monreal was outstanding. Watching him bomb forward down the left again and again was brilliant, I assumed Ox would be our main outlet there but Monreal was the real deal. Watching his dissapointment when they went ahead, and then the passion when Ospina made that outstanding save to keep it 2-1, that was one of my favourite moments of the day for sure.

Rob Holding – What a first season of Premier League football this man has had. I am sure there are many (myself included) who will say he should have played more than he has but honestly, he has got to be happy with the amount of game time he has had coming into a team as big as Arsenal. Now he has gone from occasional starts to one of our best defenders. I am interested to see if he would get a start if everyone was fit, for my money I think Wenger is going to continue to be cautious with him because we have all seen what happens when young players get over hyped, especially English ones. Lets see how he copes when he gets his first call up to the England squad and everyone loses their shit over him. Still, what a season and to come away doing a lap with FA Cup in hand, and not to have been a bit part player at all in winning it, it is just brilliant for him to have that experience so early in his career.

Xhaka – There were always going to be Kante/Xhaka comparisons in this game, certainly were a lot in the build up, but while the media is happy to paint him as a huge waist of money compared to Kante (ignoring they are totally different players, and that Pogba cost 3 times as much as him…) i think the majority of Arsenal fans would agree he has struggled at times but slowly but surely has turned into an outstanding player. Probably it would be fairer to compare him to Matic, and frankly he played him off the park. Lets hope his second season brings even more of the good bits.

Ozil and Sanchez – just stay guys because go anywhere else and you wont be worshiped like you are here. You can do something special here next season with this team.

Ramsey – What a goal, and what a player in these big games. A frustrating figure at times but an incredible one to watch too. As the team have improved, he has improved too and I hope he can start next season where he left off and stay fit.

Wenger – So quick to criticise when it all goes wrong, you have to say it all went right yesterday and he deserves big credit. I wonder if the board have been delaying his signing a new contract because the more it goes on the more it sounds like he wanted to sign ages ago and they have put it off and he is blaming them for it all. I am sure he will stay, for better or worse. I just hope everyone, players, fans and board alike gets behind him next season and doesnt ham string us with pressure.

Well done all, what a day!

Chris Siple

Good comments, Ash. It only makes sense that when the team has a lot of good center backs, find a way to put more of them out there. Per could have a year or two added to his top-flight career as the middle of a back three. Ox’s performance as a wingback is a revelation as well. I think he’s starting to relish the defensive part of the job.

I totally agree about Monreal. He’s been a consistently excellent performer his whole time here. And Ramsey has such an incredible engine that he makes himself valuable even when he isn’t making the right decisions. Xhaka is finding his place on the team, and boy is it great to have a guy who can find a teammate 60 yards away in stride, and put some fear into opposing attacking mids.

Everyone was fantastic, no weak links. Sure, it would have been more relaxing had our finishing been better (Ozil and Bellerin could have had two goals each, and Ramsey should probably have had one too), but this was hugely satisfying. Truth to tell, I was hoping for a win but not expecting it. This was the sort of team performance, full of commitment and focus, that we really needed to see more of.

As much as I love le Professeur, I believe he should tell the board on Tuesday that he’s seeking a new challenge. (A special commission to clean up FIFA? I dream.) The club needs a new perspective. We could probably name a few guys who need to move on, and some others (Lucas Perez?) who need to be given more of a chance. Our needs will be clearer after the stars decide whether they’re staying (I’m guessing Alexis leaves but Ozil stays). We should have a new manager soon so we can get to work on that.

Indian Gooner

Captain. Legend.
I must admit that I was extremely worried after I realised that BFG was our only left option for the defense. But boy.. did he prove me wrong in style! Sometimes you can’t help but feel happy that you were proven wrong.
I love this club. Long may be happiness continue and last. COYG.

Sandy

Would have been the perfect performance, if he could only have managed to kick Costa in the face. Twice. 🙂

Alex

A pity to quote a former Arsenal player who spends his days spitting on the club that gave him all…

eternalflamini

Utter rubbish. He criticises but always speaks respectfully of the manager and players.

Alan Pardew\'s Peaches and Pear Emporium
Alan Pardew\'s Peaches and Pear Emporium

What an weird comment. If there is one thing you can’t question about Keown, it’s his love of the club. I’ve never heard or read Martin ‘spitting on the club’, more like offer constructive criticism and how he wants to club to perform (like any fucking fan does on an almost daily basis).

Mate Kiddleton

That sounds more like Paul Merson than Martin Keown

Oscandwarf

What a lot of bollocks.

Alexisshorts

BFG What a legend!

AusGunner

Keown hints at it but I reckon Mertesacker’s performance yesterday will enter club folklore

KanoGooner

One more year for Per!

Anthony

He’s only 32, 4 more years!

Super Ally

I’ve always loved the BFG, but after that game he’s unquestionably an Arsenal legend. What a performance.

Fuhgedaboudit l

OMG! BFG!

The Ghost of Peter Storey
The Ghost of Peter Storey

BFG is clearly loved and respected in the dressing room; he is also very tactically astute and reads the game well. Let’s fast-track him on the coaching staff – a future Gunners manager.

Stewart Robson\'s therapist
Stewart Robson\'s therapist

Is a back three of Koscielny and Holding either side of the BFG a possible base for next season?

Arsepedant

We have Koscielny, Mustafi, Gabriel, Holding, and Mertesacker as fulltime CBs with Monreal able to slot in as well, and any three of them would be a superb backline.

Arsepedant

Oh, and Chambers can slot in as well. We are well stocked on defense for years to come.

dennis

I loved his interview after the game. What an attitude. And what an accent. Brilliant

Matt Scarbro

What a performance, his height and defensive experience was invaluable, Monreal was exceptional too. As good as Holding was I think a Koz,Mert,Monreal trio could be excellent, Holding to come in when needed, nice not to have to overplay him as a young guy.

Gunner4life

Not all heroes wear capes

shokim

Per should be given a one year extension on his contract. His excellent leadership qualities are important to the team.

Berlingoon

Both, him and Cazorla, had a one year option in their contracts which have been activated a while ago. Both will be there next season. But based on yesterday’s performance I wouldn’t have a problem if he signs a 3 year extension. He can’t loose speed so I think he can play until he’s 35 at least.

OxdaFox

Wenger extended his contract smack in the middle of his rehab from injury. Class is permanent fits them both and it seems that we may have another Arsenal player who has found they fit quite well in a position not normally played in. PS…Coq might also find some time as a wing back, I think he is better than given credit for being in many ways.

Drew

What a model professional Per is. Always derided when he arrived and people (Pundits) were always quick to jump on the “he’s too slow” bandwagon. When you have the ability to read the game and time interceptions and tackles like that and you have fast players around you you can thrive. Thrive he did. You don’t earn that many caps for Germany and not know how to defend. Also every time he speaks he is the epitome of class and respect. Gunners legend!

Drew

The amount of times he went full Gandalf was beautiful!

Original Paul

Cometh the day cometh the man. Did you know, we’ve got a Big Fucking German in our ranks? 🙂

santori

I for one am not surprised.

Did not buy into this whole ‘crisis’ mongering by the media before the match with regards our defense.

We carried 5 Cback options this season.

Unlike some, I have always said that pace was an overblown issue by many who do not understand the merits of experience and positioning in the game which bring efficiency.

This went for both Per and Giroud, two players often and simplistically criticise for lack of pace.

The tackles Metersecker made were worthy of the praise often lauded upon Koscielny.

The run Giroud made on the wing to put in a fabulous cross for Ramsey to finish had both the required timing to beat his markers and efficiency of passing.

Per has been one of our most underrated assets.

Wenger brought him in to shore up a team reeling from key departures every season ans lacking in experience. Along with Arteta, he stabilised the ship as Wenger rebuilt post RVP.

If he steps down this summer, it is a fitting end to one of our best players.

Oly

Not rocket science, even Wenger should have realised that signing 3 CB who are barely 6 foot will not be helpful, height DOES help at set pieces. BFG and Giroud are the only tall players in our team, we need at least 2 more tall players.
Of the invincibles only Cole/Lauren/Ljumberg/Wiltord/Reyes were regulars short of 6 foot. Even Palour/Pirez/Edu/Aliadiere etc were 6 footers!

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