Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker had a somewhat frosty encounter with former Gunner Martin Keown in the aftermath of last weekend’s FA Cup final victory, reluctantly hugging him after having been heavily criticised by the ex-centre-back prior to Saturday’s clash at Wembley.

As reported in Metro, the Arsenal club captain snubbed Keown’s advanced initially and didn’t seem too pleased to be in his company in the tunnel. While politely taking in his praise, the former German international told Keown and his other critics: “Don’t write me off, man.”

In the build-up to the FA Cup final, Mertesacker was single out by a number of pundits as a potential weak link given he’d played just 37 minutes of first-team football this season. But he proved his worth with a standout performance at Wembley, hushing his critics in the best way possible by lifting the trophy with vice-captain Laurent Koscielny.

Many were even disappointed Mertesacker wasn’t given the man-of-the-match for his heroics on the day. After the game, the defender told reporters: “I expect myself to perform at that level every single week.

“I don’t know if I’m capable but I’ve done it for 15 years. The more people that write me off, the stronger I get. That’s my feeling.”

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