After his red card against Chelsea on Sunday, Per Mertesacker will miss this Saturday’s game against Burnley in the FA Cup.
The German has faced a lot of criticism for the challenge which saw him sent off, though it wasn’t entirely his fault (I analysed the situation here) as a number of players were culpable for the situation Per found himself in against Diego Costa.
Nonetheless, he made a silly challenge and was sent off in a game Arsenal went on to lose 1-0 and it was all very frustrating. However, Arsène Wenger was quick to defend his vice-captain on Friday morning.
“Ideally I don’t want anyone to make a mistake but that is part of defending and we were caught on the counter-attack and in a bad position,” said the boss.
“It is easy to look and explain on the screen during the game or after it, and anybody that understands football can explain that. But when you are down there on the pitch, if you are caught a fraction out of position it is impossible to correct. That is what happens and I have to accept and live with it.”
Mertesacker has been a stalwart at the back for Arsenal since signing in 2011, often rescuing the side. He provides a calming presence at the back and is surprisingly good on the ball, while his demeanour helps bring the best out of centre-half partner Laurent Koscielny.
An incredible reading of the game give Mertesacker a great feel for each match, and his intelligence keeps Arsenal in games time and time again.
“We forget the amount of times Mertesacker saves a goal from going in and that happens. The risk is part of the game and you have to feel comfortable with that. Mistakes are part of that competition but we learn from defeat.”