That is twice in a matter of weeks that the Arsenal centre back Per Mertesacker has been found wanting when having to defend a ball into the Arsenal box. The German World Cup winner was ruthlessly exposed by the TV pundits on Sky Sports for ducking out of a ball from a corner that led to Stoke City’s third and decisive goal on the stroke of halftime at the Britannia stadium this month.
And our giant centre back seemed to be at it again this weekend and his failure to deal with a cross was even more costly this time as it allowed Martin Skrtel a free header to deny Arsenal a rare and valuable away win against a big Premier League rival. He looked like he was more concerned about getting clattered than defending the Arsenal goal.
Unsurprisingly there was not a lot of sympathy or support for the BFG among Arsenal fans on social media sites, as a Metro report shows. Some of the reactions were pretty extreme, such as wanting him docked a year’s wages or even jailed, but there is no getting around the fact that he failed us.
We don’t expect lightning pace from the big defender and some fans think he is not really good enough for a club as big as Arsenal, but we have previously been able to count on him in aerial situations at least. And he used to chip in with goals and assists from corners as well. He has been about as good in the air as Santi Cazorla this season, so what has happened to him?
And is it time for Wenger to look for two centre backs in the January window instead of just one?