Per Mertesacker is hopeful for a very successful end to his professional career, before he becomes academy manager at the end of the season.

The German international told Sport1 ahead of Arsenal’s first Europa League game that he hopes the Gunners will be in the final at the end of the year. But that’s not all he wants

“The season finale will be the Europa League final on Wednesday, the FA Cup final on Saturday, and the final day of the Premier League one week later. That would be a nice week to complete the career,” he said.

Arsenal’s club captain clearly isn’t lacking ambition for his final season, it seems. He may be set for his first start since his injury in the Community Shield on Thursday too.

Laurent Koscielny is suspended after his straight red card against Bayern Munich last season and the BFG is the obvious choice to step into the team as the centre-back with the most experience, in my opinion.

I feel a good start in the Europa League will mean the Gunners can relax for the rest of the group stage and rest players for league games when necessary, where as a poor start will leave the team stressing over early elimination.

It’s nice to hear that at least someone in the Arsenal squad has some belief in the team, but being in the Europa League final, FA Cup final and the Premier League title race to the death will be difficult for me.

Arsenal may use the Europa League to rest a number of first-team players which could be to their detriment. And with the Gunners finishing fifth in the league last season, fighting for top spot this time round may be difficult. After this season, Mertesacker will become Arsenal’s head of academy.