Arsenal captain Per Mertesacker recently admitted he has no idea if he’s fit enough to play the FA Cup final this weekend.
The German defender surprisingly got a chance to make a first appearance of the season on the final day against Everton after Laurent Koscielny was sent off and Gabriel Paulista withdrawn with a knee injury.
Mertesacker, 32, suffered a long-term knee injury himself and his only appearances for Arsenal had been for the reserve side. As a result, he’s short of match fitness and may struggle to match the intensity of a Chelsea side who recently won their second Premier League title in three seasons.
Another concern for the centre-back is his ability to adapt to Arsenal’s new formation – 3-4-3. Manager Arsene Wenger could yet decide to return to his favorite 4-2-3-1 formation for Saturday’s final.
Daily Mail reports on his recent interview where he was asked about his readiness. Mertesacker said:”I cannot tell you.
“I haven’t played this year. But I have done this for 15 years so I expect myself to be absolutely ready no matter what comes.
“That is my mindset, no matter what happens or what is facing me on Saturday, I am going to go for it. I owe this to this team and to this club.
“I want to make sure I will be ready and my mindset is ‘120 minutes plus penalties’.
“(It is) completely unexpected. I made the squad because of two injuries and then I came on (in Sunday’s 3-1 win against Everton) due to one red card and one injury.
“It was unexpected but you need to be ready at any time. It was good to get a run out and obviously make my first appearance of the season after a long, long injury. I was very grateful I got the opportunity.”
Considering that this could well be Arsene Wenger’s last game as the Arsenal manager, the club captain was also questioned about that possibility: “I have absolutely no idea. I cannot tell.
“First of all we are lucky to have him here. That was always my mindset when I came here. I was so happy to have him. He trusted me a lot.
“I can just tell you I’m looking forward for the future of this club because even if we struggle a bit, or play in the Europa League next year, it gives us a little bit of time and a breather to think about what has gone wrong last season and we do not deserve to be in the Champions League.
“Short-term, we are just thrilled to be in that final with our manager.”