One of Arsenal’s key players in the defence, Per Mertesacker is likely going to miss next Sunday’s top of the table clash with Chelsea, according to the Daily Telegraph.
The former German international who quit the international stage after winning the World Cup with his country in 2014, sustained an injury during Arsenal’s FA Cup semi final match against Reading FC last Saturday at Wembley. He was subsequently pulled out by the boss and replaced by Gabriel Paulista who signed for the Gunners last January.
Mertesacker, who has played in most of Arsenal’s league matches this season, may not recover in time before Sunday’s crunchy tie with table-topping Chelsea who are on the verge of securing the league title in the next couple of weeks.
Arsene Wenger is likely to call on his January signing, Gabriel Paulista to take the place of the Arsenal vice captain in next Sunday’s match, which could further cement the Gunners’ chances of securing the second spot and by extension a Champions’ League place for next season.
The big German popularly called BFG by most Arsenal fans came under heavy criticism midway into the current season for his inability to help Arsenal defend a 1-goal lead against Liverpool. He was also heavily criticized by Pundits for the role he played during Arsenal’s second match against FC Monaco where he was caught napping a couple of times. With Per Mertesacker set to miss out, this can only be an advantage for Chelsea since Paulista who is likely to replace him is new to the club and is yet to form an understanding with his co-defenders.
Though, the Blues are set to be without Diego Costa and Didier Drogba due to injuries, the defence still has a lot of work to do considering the constant threat posed by a player like Hazard, who was recently nominated into the EPL team of the year. The defence may have their hands full with Hazard’s current form; hopefully Paulista should be able to handle things in the absence of the German.
Mertesacker has played a very big role in an Arsenal team that has considered just nine goals in 13 games this year, and is easily one the club’s most dependable players alongside Alexis Sanchez and Santi Cazorla.
Per Squawka.com, the 30-year old has won 71% of aerial duels this season, and would be missed by the team especially when it comes to those dangerous high balls and corners.