Friday, 5 October 2012

Oh, I do love a nice big Per

Last season Per Mertesacker was widely criticised due to his lack of pace and his perceived inability to adapt to the Premier League.

I always thought the BFG was underrated. After one particular slating on Match of the Day, I remember saying to a colleague at work at the time, 'it's hard to see what he does for the team but look at the amount of goals Arsenal concede when he's playing and then at how many they concede when he isn't.'

A lot of the comments seemed to me to stem from xenophobia in the British press and on TV, where his every mistake was highlighted and criticised in detail. without taking account of the fact that he had not played many matches and needed to adapt. Meanwhile all the good stuff that he did (such as those great interceptions he does so often or the way he seems to organise and bring a calmness to the defence) were overlooked or denigrated.

This negativity was passed on to the fans, many of whom for some reason seem to believe the twaddle that the so called expert analysts spout on the BBC, Sky and in the press.

This season everything has changed. He has missed two matches and the defence has looked decidedly less confident in his absence. Many fans are beginning to see what he brings to the team and most will be disappointed if he is not restored to the team this week at West Ham after being left out if favour of previous fans favourite Koscielny at Chelsea.

So here's to a great big Per.

Picture courtesy Ronnie Macdonald.

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