BFG: I have lots to give in final season

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Next year Per Mertesacker will retire from football to take up a position as the new head of the Arsenal Academy.

It’s an exciting appointment, but before that there’s still one final season as a player, and the skipper is determined to show he can still make a telling contribution.

We saw evidence of that in May when an epic FA Cup final performance – his first start of the season – helped us defeat Chelsea 2-1 and lift the famous old trophy for the third time in four years.

And the 32 year old wants to pick up where he left off, giving the manager something to think about when it comes to selecting his team each week.

“I have lots to give,” he said. “Players embrace that. As long as I am there I want to play and contribute.

“Being able to train and make an impact makes me feel good. Being an option and pushing the other players is something I embrace because when you are injured you can do nothing, which was horrible for me.

“They manage me very well at the minute. I am not doing everything because nobody knows how my knee reacts at the moment. We are not overloading.

“I am fine – they manage me well – I am not doing every double session.”

And although last season ended with glory at Wembley, Mertesacker says what came before was not at all enjoyable.

“I want to make the most of it,” he continued. “Last season was not satisfying for me.

“The end was a fairytale but the way to that was very tough. I want to stay injury-free, be an option for the manager to get picked every weekend. That’s the target.

“To make it as enjoyable as I can.”

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14 Comments on "BFG: I have lots to give in final season"

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gooner1981

If we stick to a back 3, Per will be ideal, since his speed deficiencies will be compensated for, and his positioning and reading of the game will be a real asset.

Gunner4Life

And his height, excellent for dealing with the aerial threats.

Mein Bergkampf

I think Mert could have a big part to play if we retain our 343 shape. With pacey, aggressive CB’s either side of him, Per could use his positional expertise and experience to just quietly run the show. If only our club was full of players of Per’s mentality and class. Legend.

A different George

I think he will be in the rotation and, assuming he stays healthy, will play in some of our biggest games. Our best back three, I think, is Mustafi-BFG-Koscielny. I know people love Holding, and I hope he plays a lot this year and continues to improve–and if he does, he will be a regular centre-half for a decade.

PeteyB

If Nacho keeps doing what he’s been doing he may keep Mustafi out of the side. Kos, BFG and Nachoman might be my preferred 3 right now.

Daniel

I hope he gets to lift at least one more trophy in his time as a player, he along with Arteta really helped turn the club around after the lean years, and I’m glad we’ve managed to get one of them to stick around

Goonerarse

Couldn’t agree more, Mert, Artera and Santi were such amazing additions to the dressing room. It’s awful to contemplate a future without the little Spaniard 🙁

Ozil\'s left foot

Arteta might still come back. We can hope.

Alex

What a star. I hope he gets lots of playing time, I rate his quality hugely especially in a three which will cover his only shortcoming (pace) even more than his tactical awareness already does!

Paul

Get Alexis to stay (and preferably to sign), that’s a big gift you can give us.

santori

…but he lacks ‘pace’.:D

Positioning before pace anytime.

Ausdrexler

A genuine CLUBman.

afsdfsd

Playing Mert is kinda a dillema, we saw how easily fast attackers beat him with through balls or runs in Sydney. However, in tight position or one on ones, hes very reliable, especially aerial challenges and even his strength and balance are still present.

I\'m Professor Ignorance, on this subject
I\'m Professor Ignorance, on this subject

Even if he moved with a the speed of a slug, he seems to be the only guy other than Koscielny who can organize the back line. We saw how Kos going out led to near total collapse of the defense in “certain games”, but we also saw how his absence counted for little when Mertesacker was able to play.

When Mert is out there taking charge, his reading of the game and command of his teamates can largely mitigate their own flaws in decision making, and he can make use of them to mitigate his deficiency in speed. For me, if the team doesn’t have a leader on defense, it doesn’t matter if everybody out there is fast, as they just end up using it to “run araand a bit” more rapidly. I hope to see Mertesacker playing whenever Koscielny isn’t this season.

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