Arsenal star’s performance labelled an “embarrassment” by Rio Ferdinand

Rio Ferdinand has branded the performance of Pablo Mari against Romelu Lukaku an “embarrassment.”

Mari is one of Mikel Arteta’s most trusted players and the Spaniard has been decent with the ball at his feet.

His ball-playing ability is one reason why Mikel Arteta signed him and keeps using him.

He has managed to keep his place in the team so far but has struggled in the games against Brentford and Chelsea.

Against the Blues, they tasked him with playing against Romelu Lukaku and he came out second best against the big Belgian.

Lukaku scored Chelsea’s opener and was a handful to Mari for much of the game, with the Arsenal man losing the physical battle to him in the game as well.

Former Manchester United defender, Ferdinand criticised Arsenal for their defending in the match, but singled out Mari for his poor performance against the former Inter Milan and Manchester United striker.

‘He [Lukaku] bullies people, he was like a sixth former playing against first years,’ Ferdinand said on his FIVE Youtube channel.

 ‘That’s what he made the Arsenal centre-backs look like, they didn’t know how to deal with him.

‘[Pablo] Mari was an embarrassment, he didn’t know what to do.’

Tags Pablo Mari Rio Ferdinand


  1. Mari and White were seemingly brought in for their ball-playing abilities, at the cost of solid defending.

    Out of all the CB’s we have, how many are known for their sheer defensive ability?

    Even including our FB’s, no one in the back line seems to be a proper defender. Our FB’s are expected to attack and cross from the wings first, defend second it seems.

    Explains why we often have 11 men behind the ball. Just frustrating that we’ll over £100 million spent on CB’s and FB’s and not a top defender among the lot.

      1. Regardless that day passed, he is a manu fanboy first last and always, never a good thing to say about the Gunners, whether deserved or undeserved, why give him a voice?

  2. There was no doubt whatsoever that Mari was outclassed, outfought and outmanouverd by Lukaka during the chelsea game.
    What is more worrying is the fact that Lukaka was seen as a PL failure before chelsea resigned him.

    With MA, for reasons we don’t know, not trusting Saliba, that left us with Holding and Gabriel.

    As can now be seen, with Gabriel and White not available, we most definitely needed another CB and signed a proven PL player.

    If we are realistic, then White, Gabriel, Holding are the only CB’s we can call on to fill those two positions – which makes the Saliba decision even more puzzling.

    Holding, by the way, was not intimidated or bullied by Lukaka and was the one defender (along with Leno) who could hold their heads up high.

    1. its all about MA’s own ego…

      causing us to make a rushed and controversial decision to let Ozil, Saliba, Guendouzi leave early

    2. Dead right Ken.The decision to loan out Sali ba could well rebound on A rteta and cost him his job. Against Man City I would play Chambers and Holding at CB with White being unavailable.

  3. All this makes Artetas decision to let go of Saliba very puzzling. This is what happens when a managers ego and attitude gets in the way of club progress. How can we expect success? Saliba was one proper defender, yet he was not even given a chance by Arteta, banished before he could even try to play for the Arsenal first team in the PL. I agree we have only 3 proper defenders, by definition of a proper defender, not ball playing defenders and crossing fullbacks, , Gabriel, White and Holding and considering Whites performance against newly promoted Brenford, one does not fill with optimism. This is not negativity or pessimism but hard realistic facts hitting Arsenal fans due to the inept handling of the situation by Arteta, lets see what the season has in store for us. Had it not been for Holdings defending and Lennos heroics, the defeat to Chelsea would have been by a bigger margin.

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