What happened to BFG and is his Arsenal career over?

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?

Tags Mertesacker Wenger


  1. manorhouse says:

    Without a healthy core of center backs Mert was set up for mediocrity before the season started. He’s the Ramsey of a few years ago: asked to play every match even when off form. He’s had to play alongside a revolving door of makeshift defenses. No Consistency & no rest. Could use a strong DM in front as well.

    1. Goonerforever says:

      1.Fatigue– He is a World Cup winner, there will be a feeling that there is nothing more to win.
      2.Age — he is ageing rapidly and is trying not to get injured, which will probably end his career.
      we could see he is trying to move out of the way of a shot instead of being a brave CB and blocking it.
      3.Kos- the absence of his long term partner who used to cover his a** is affecting him.

    2. Champagne Charlie says:

      Ok there’s that theory…

      Or there’s the realisation he’s nothing more than a good defender, which makes you one of two things.
      1) backup for your national team
      2) backup for a top European team

      He’s not elite, and it’s Wenger’s fault for relying on him as if he were. Without Kos, who I rate as the best CB in the league, hiding his deficiencies; he simply folds. He’s not quick, not strong or dominant, and he relies on his smarts alone….name another top CB in world football that does that.

      Perfect backup option. But an example of everything wrong with this current Arsenal setup as a starter and vice-captain.

    3. ArnSam says:

      mertsucker just as flamini aren’t good at all but just shine in the shadow of others…i.e Fabregas and the duo is praised yet it’s one player doing the attacking and defending, even during the most recent game it was Carzola still defending. For mert it’s koscielny

  2. SUNNY13 says:

    He seems to do do better when Kochilemy is around him. Not having Kosch is putting to much pressure into BFG which he is not able to handle and doing costly mistakes. I also agree that any top class defeneder’s own performance must not depend on the availability of another partner.
    But this is actually true for our BFG. After all he is not Terry or Kompany.

    I just couldn’t understand sending Cambell in when we just need to hang on for few minutes.
    Giroud was needed as he is always good in defending set pieces.

    We need heavy investment in defense.
    At least one DM in Jan like Morgan Schliderine to save this season and solid defenders in the summer

  3. yinkanatty says:

    Wenger is smart. He makes fans starve for food only to give them bread and water in the end. Some Arsenal fans are so fickle and dumb we’ve already lost the premiership before the season start and fans are already happy to accept 4th without evening challenging properly for the title. It just shows how low we have come as a club when fans were celebrating our win against Newcastle at home like we won the champions league. A lot of Arsenal fans are forgetting we’re now 15 points behind Chelsea, we should never be in this position at this stage of the season. It just pains me how great this club is falling, I remember a time when Arsenal fans had ambition and when challenging for the League was a normal order

  4. cheeterspotter says:

    I will always support the Arsenal but have to say we will never win the league again while Wenger and this profit motivated board are in charge.A club our size should be winning leagues on a regular basis.1 cup is a poor return for the last 10+years.I’m afraid we will all have to wait and see out Wengers contract before we get a change of manager.
    what happens if the board are just as frugal then,I dread to think of the consequences.
    Still,Merry Xmas and a happy New Year u gooners.

  5. Gunner_Bolivia says:

    I will probably get a lot of down votes for this but I have to say, I think Mert is a very classy defender. Yes he is ridiculously slow and sometimes a bit weak but he is never given the credit he deserves. On a good day when the midfielders are finding the passing lanes and making options for him, Mert comes out playing very well and is usually very composed. Also, with his terrible pace, when the DM does not get caught too far up the field, it limits the space for attackers to run straight into the middle. This allows Per to stand his ground and avoid any foot races which he will always lose.

    It might be because I am biased and have always liked him but I just think he has not had the proper rest over the past year which is having a heavy toll on him. Idk, I mean there is a reason why he had been such a consistent German starter over the past decade.

    However, I do think his clock is ticking and it is definitely time to bring in a new, mobile and strong CB to replace him.

  6. jaweant says:

    Lets be real. Who has played well this season consistently besides Alexis. Per hasn’t been great. Our problems aren’t that Per is missing headers it’s usually when we’re chasing games. When we have Welbeck in deep space, Cambell who doesn’t know what to do, no form, giving up cheap corners to a team with ten men in the last few minutes. What the f@ck was wenger thinking with those subs. It’s hard to watch us play so poor, but I don’t know that BFG is solely to blame. Wouldn’t mind trying out a Hayden Koscielny , Bellerin, Gibbs line though

    1. Hafiz Rahman says:

      we have no quality players on the bench…..

      we are already short on CBs

      Kos and BFG career over…

      we need to sign 4 CBs now!!!

  7. yinkanatty says:

    Mertesacker is the only defender I’ve come across in my life that’s 6’6 but when he jumps he’s 6’2. People don’t seem to realise that even Monreal and Debuchy are better CBs than this statue.

    Off topic we have Welbeck the striker that never score and some Arsenal fans still think he’s a good but because he works hard no he’s a flipping striker his main objective is to score goals, Giroud without having half the pace Welbeck has will always be a better striker than Welbeck and the sad thing about buying Welbeck is that I don’t see another striker coming in until Wenger leaves. Look outside England they’re better strikers than Welbeck like Pablo Dybala, Jackson Martinez, Bacca these are strikers that know their main objectives is to scores goals not work hard. This is another transfer blunder by Wenger 16m down the drain playing Welbeck on the wing makes no sense to me because we already have Sanchez, Walcott, Chamberlain, Podolski, Gnarby, J.Campbell we have enough wingers we should have bought a proper striker but hey i guess Wenger knows best

    1. Gunner Mac says:

      I reckon strikers need to be judged after 12 months because many of the greats started slowly and he’s still only 24. Henry failed to score in his first 8 games for Arsenal. He does have one more goal than the records show because the one against Newcastle should have stood and that was a tidy finish.

  8. GOONSTER says:

    Mertesacker lost all his confidence and drive after being dropped in the World Cup.. I think that really hurt him and he has not been the same player ever since..

    You can tell by the way he looks so uninterested, got that I can’t be bothered attitude and body language..

    So I think him being dropped at the World Cup is the reason he has lost his motivation now..

    1. yinkanatty says:

      @GOONSTER I have to apologize to you because i remember you saying we should bring Fabregas back at all costs and i was one of the fans against him coming back because of Ramsey and Ozil but jheeez this has to be one of Wengers biggest transfer blunders

      1. Gunner Mac says:

        Ramsey and Ozil have missed most of this season or at least been below full fitness when they have played. Couldn’t have predicted that happening. Ramsey will obviously get back to his best if he gets a run of games and I am keeping faith with Ozil.

        1. almostawinner says:

          sorry, u dont turn down a fabregas. i will never forgive wenger for that.

    2. proffetic says:

      Yes, but why was he dropped. Because clearly his poor play was sabotaging the German World Cup chances. I go a stage further because I believe that he was advised that he wasn’t going to be picked again for the National team. Hence his apparently surprising decision to retire from international football. Why do fans keep suggesting that we use stronger more mobile players to cover his weaknesses. What does he bring to the table for them. He is 6’6″ but can’t jump, he is more interested in getting out of the way.But this is nothing new, it’s not a sudden lapse.If so many fans can see this, why not our Manager?

  9. kelisjech says:

    You mean like mert the slug? Just get rid of him already

  10. Gunner Mac says:

    I’ll put forward the case for his defense just because someone has to. He needs a reliable covering defender beside him and two hard working central midfielders in front of him because he doesn’t have the pace to play the high line. This season the injuries hitting the squad have taken away Koscielny, Ramsey and Arteta for long periods which is why he has been so exposed and why his confidence is low. Against Liverpool he had more to do than in most Arsenal matches and he was left exposed on many occasions but again that is in large part due to the injuries to Ramsey, Arteta, Wilshere and Diaby.

  11. Invincibles49 says:

    The moment when you realize we will have to wait at least till 2017 to win the PL. Its sickening.

  12. ned says:

    Mertersacker is a good squad player cos of his age and experience…
    Technically we cant blame mertesacker, wenger should hav signed a really good CB and mertesacker would havv been an excellent bench player,
    Secondly when you zonal mark then you cant blame no one for a Goal because you dont have a player you were man Marking, i dont know why wenger is so rigid and not open to ideas and change, wenger is the one makking our players look stupid and lose confidence, per now is the scape goat, chambers was poor cos of sterlin and markovic when debuchy wit his pace and power would have done a better job
    Chamberlaiin was not fit but was askd to play and so on…this little things make footballers lose confidence i know cos i once played maself

  13. Pierce says:

    It’s simple, he is pure garbage at this point. He’s slow like a turtle and scared like a little girl on the pitch. I’d start Sanchez’s grandma over Mertesacker any day.

  14. Cutietobby says:

    I don’t see reasons Y we have to put the blame on Mertesacker, the whole squad fumbled(Everybody)even Sanchez……. To me, Mertesacker is a player with a lot experience in our squad… The dnt really blame him much coz he plays every game week in,week out.. For a player of his age playing that much without having an injury,Credits 2 him.. Take a look at the other defenders,they’re all injury prone. Per has played with abt 5-6 different partners this season.. He’s jst getting tired coz of fatigue, when everyone gets injured, he won’t. He just needs a player lik Wanyama or Morgan 2 cover the back four and flush out injury-prone players that keep costing us when we depend on them
    #Merry Xmas Gunners

  15. rlowgunner says:

    I agree with most that bfg is at hes best with kos and without him bfg is the weekest link in our defence. We need 3 more players minimum in jan transfer window to cope with qty of games and injurys 2 cb 1 dm atleast or 1 cb 2 dm.

    Ot: anyone else see our little spaniard and the chilian argue about something in the liverpool game? I hope our team spirit isnt being hurt from the new arrivals… maybe some arent getting on too well?

    Hope this isnt the case.

    Bring on qpr lets go for a win.

    Unbeaten in 7.


  16. samuel@justarsenal.com says:

    Bob, you have rightly observed. Mertesacker is no longer a top CB he used to be. Knowing what was at stake and haven had the fore knowledge of the heading prowess of Skrtle and seeing him approaching Arsenal box to attack the corner-kick, one would have expected BFG to be fully ready for any eventuality of heading by Skrtle or any Red. But instead he ducked Skrtle’s body. What has his ducking told us? I think he didn’t want to be clattered as you have observed. And this was not the first time he has ducked of be gotten infront by an attacker to score. Mert’ defending is declining and the boss has not try to use other alternatives like Chambers/Ajayi at CB pending when Koscielny will recover to pair with Chambers or Ajayi. Is Hayden a CB or a LB? The continuation of playing Mert’ in top Arsenal fixtures may continue to cause the Gunners to be dropping some points,

  17. Wilshegz says:

    Per looks lost whenever Koscielny is not around.. Let’s just play DebuchyMonreal in CB at least till Koscielny returns to make Per back to himself.

  18. eloaking says:

    Per would be better suited at playing women football. Did anybody notice how chelsea defenders blocked whatever shot came their way with all they got last night? Now that is doing what you have to do to get what you want.

  19. BFG is the consequence of the problem but not the cause of it; Truth to be told and I don’t condone his lack of performance, the man has not missed an ARSENAL game for years, WHY because he can’t, we have no SUBS to back him up and rest him when circumstances permit.
    Under WENGER’S watch there is no Player management, Le Prof philosophy is to play the same team again and again, not rotating players, not bringing SUBS on a timely manner, not developing Players (SUBS) giving them game time (not the last 90 seconds) to effectively SUB the first team when needed;
    the result INJURIES…….RAMSEY, OZIL, and hope not but SANCHEZ but he is in the red zone.
    BFG is not a young man, he needs a BACK UP but a real CB not experiments (Chambers) I am sure BFG has a few good games still left as long as he is managed properly.

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