No one was surprised to see that Arsene Wenger chose to drop (or rest) the Arsenal vice-captain for the Premier League home clash with Everton on Sunday, after the World Cup winning defender was the worst of a bad bunch against Monaco in the Champions League.
It was not Mertesacker’s first mistake either, as he has been coming more and more under fire from fans and pundits as the season has drawn on. It did not even start too well for him, as our BFG seemed to be, understandably, suffering from a World Cup hangover.
The question now, however, is whether the giant defender has been replaced in the Gunners team permanently and his boss expressed both sides of the equation in his press conference today, ahead of the QPR game tomorrow. As reported by the Daily Mail, Wenger was full of praise for Per and the way he has handled the situation, insisting that the centre back is a real team player and not the sort to throw his toys out of the pram after losing his starting place.
The boss said, “Like everybody, we are all here to serve the club and raise above our own interest. He has played many games, has a fantastic mentality, he has great mental stature, absolutely remarkable, and his contribution to the team has been excellent up to now.
“I cannot tell you (if he will play at QPR), I have not decided yet. Honestly.”
I can understand why Wenger says that but I think he already intends to play Gabriel, the defensive cover the Gunners were desperate for earlier in the season. And it seems to me that the manager thinks he may have a new choice pairing at the back.
He went on, “We bought him to play regularly and of course, that is the target for him. His English is not perfect yet. Yes, he understands more than he talks.
“He has shown that he is a defender who is committed, focused and can integrate well in our defensive style. Overall his first game was a very positive one.”
It sounds to me that our BFG is now in a similar position to Szczesny; waiting for an injury or a bad game to give him another chance. But at least he has the right frame of mind to deal with it and that could be a huge bonus to Arsenal if we do need him and why I think Wenger will NOT want to let him leave in the summer. What do you think?