Per Mertesacker has revealed that he motivated the first-team players during their poor run of form from late January to March.

The club captain, 32, had been sidelined with a lengthy knee injury sustained in July 2016 and only recovered at the end of January 2017.

Keen to build his fitness whilst working alongside his fellow team-mates during a testing few months for Arsenal, the experienced Germany international would’ve been understandably unhappy with a role watching on from the substitutes’ bench, but was eager to support the team as often as he could.

When I came back in the new year, you want to give everything you can and try to support the team as much as you can,” Mertesacker stated.

Trying to lift them no matter what happens. We went through difficult periods throughout the season but everyone is eager now.

Mertesacker’s substitute appearance against Everton was his 150th for the club and with a five-match unbeaten run, they face Premier League champions Chelsea in this weekend’s FA Cup Final at Wembley.

Laurent Koscielny (suspension) and Gabriel (knee ligaments) are both sidelined, whilst Shkodran Mustafi is a doubt and has yet to begin full training once more after suffering a concussion during the 2-0 win over Sunderland.

Per could make his first appearance in the competition this term and will be hoping that his prior preparation proves dividends if given an opportunity to start by Arsene Wenger as part of the defensive trio.