Continuing our mini-series analysing Arsenal's top three players of the season, our statistician reflects on runner-up Per Mertesacker's 2013/14 campaign.

Per Mertesacker played more games than any other Arsenal player this season, and became the first defender to appear at least 50 times in a campaign since Kolo Toure in 2003/04.

The Germany centre back played 52 times in all competitions - missing just four matches - and spent 4,725 minutes on the pitch (92 per cent of Arsenal's season). His record for those games was W35 D8 L9, for a win rate of 67.3 per cent.

A lynchpin of the side, Mertesacker was the only ever-present during the Champions League campaign, and one of only two players to appear in every round of the FA Cup (he came on at half-time in the third-round win over Tottenham).

During his third season at Arsenal, he also captained the side 16 times, winning 13 (81 per cent) of those games.

Infographic: Per Mertesacker
Infographic: Per Mertesacker

Mertesacker contributed three goals throughout the season - all headers, as were his three goals last term. The most important goal was certainly the equaliser against Wigan Athletic in the FA Cup semi-final. He nodded in from close range with just nine minutes remaining at Wembley, taking the game to extra-time and keeping the cup dream alive.

Mertesacker added a headed assist in the win over Coventry and was fouled to win the penalty that Olivier Giroud scored against Southampton in November.

Per Mertesacker's season, game by game

Comp Date Opponents F/A Result Venue Goals Assists Mins
PL 7/8/13 Aston Villa 1-3 L H 0 0 90
CL 21/8/13 Fenerbache 3-0 W A 0 0 90
PL 24/8/13 Fulham 3-1 W A 0 0 90
CL 27/8/13 Fenerbache 2-0 W H 0 0 90
PL 1/9/13 Tottenham 1-0 W H 0 0 90
CL 18/9/13 Marseille 2-1 W A 0 0 90
PL 22/9/13 Stoke 3-1 W H 1 0 90
LC 25/9/13 West Brom 1-1 W* A 0 0 120
PL 28/9/13 Swansea 2-1 W A 0 0 90
CL 1/10/13 Napoli 2-0 W H 0 0 90
PL 6/10/13 West Brom 1-1 D A 0 0 90
PL 19/10/13 Norwich 4-1 W H 0 0 90
CL 22/10/13 B. Dortmund 1-2 L H 0 0 90
PL 26/10/13 C. Palace 2-0 W A 0 0 90
PL 2/11/13 Liverpool 2-0 W H 0 0 90
CL 6/11/13 B. Dortmund 1-0 W A 0 0 90
PL 23/11/13 Southampton 2-0 W H 0 0 90
CL 26/11/13 Marseille 2-0 W H 0 0 90
PL 30/11/13 Cardiff City 3-0 W A 0 0 90
PL 4/12/13 Hull City 2-0 W H 0 0 90
PL 8/12/13 Everton 1-1 D H 0 0 90
CL 11/12/13 Napoli  0-2 L A 0 0 90
PL 14/12/13 Man City 3-6 L A 1 0 90
PL 23/12/13 Chelsea 0-0 D H 0 0 90
PL 26/12/13 West Ham 3-1 W A 0 0 90
PL 29/12/13 Newcastle 1-0 W A 0 0 90
PL 1/1/14 Cardiff City 2-0 W H 0 0 90
FAC 4/1/14 Tottenham 2-0 W H 0 0 45
PL 13/1/14 Aston Villa 2-1 W A 0 0 90
PL 18/1/14 Fulham 2-0 W H 0 0 90
FAC 24/1/14 Coventry City 4-0 W H 0 1 90
PL 28/1/14 Southampton 2-2 D A 0 0 90
PL 2/2/14 C. Palace 2-0 W H 0 0 90
PL 8/2/14 Liverpool 1-5 L A 0 0 90
PL 12/2/14 Man United 0-0 D H 0 0 90
FAC 8/2/14 Liverpool 2-1 W H 0 0 90
CL 12/2/14 B. Munich 0-2 L H 0 0 90
PL 16/2/14 Sunderland 4-1 W H 0 0 90
PL 19/2/14 Stoke City 0-1 L A 0 0 90
FAC 8/3/14 Everton 4-1 W H 0 0 90
CL 11/3/14 B. Munich 1-1 D A 0 0 90
PL 16/3/14 Tottenham 1-0 W A 0 0 90
PL 22/3/14 Chelsea 0-6 L A 0 0 90
PL 25/3/14 Swansea 2-2 D H 0 0 90
PL 29/3/14 Man City 1-1 D H 0 0 90
PL 6/4/14 Everton 0-3 L A 0 0 90
FAC 12/4/14 Wigan 1-1 W* N 1 0 120
PL 15/4/14 West Ham 3-1 W H 0 0 90
PL 20/4/14 Hull City 3-0 W A 0 0 90
PL 28/4/14 Newcastle 3-0 W H 0 0 90
PL 4/5/14 West Brom 1-0 W H 0 0 90
FAC 17/5/14 Hull City 3-2 W N 0 0 120

* Won on penalties

Including the second half of last season, Mertesacker has played in 72 (92.3 per cent) of Arsenal's last 78 games in all competitions.

He brought up his 100th overall career appearance for the club in January - when he skippered the side to a 2-1 win at Villa Park.

The 29-year-old is now 10 away from a century of Premier League games, and has six goals in all for the Club, including two against Tottenham.

Infographic: Per Mertesacker
Infographic: Per Mertesacker

Looking through the Opta stats for Arsenal's Premier League season, it's not surprising to see Mertesacker lead the way for clearances (247) and headed clearances (170). But his reliable passing stats are also valuable in helping Arsenal retain the ball when under pressure, as well as launching attacks from deep.

Only Mikel Arteta and Santi Cazorla completed more passes for Arsenal than the giant German, and only Laurent Koscielny had a higher success rate.

Mertesacker's disciplinary record was also excellent. He conceded just 12 fouls all season in the Premier League, which equates to one every 262 minutes.

Per Mertesacker stats 2013/14

  Apps Goals Assists
League 35 2 -
FA Cup 5+1 1 1
Europe  10 - -
League Cup 1 - -
Total 51+1 3 1



Per Mertesacker Arsenal career stats

  Apps Goals Assists
League 89+1 5 -
FA Cup 9+1 1 1
Europe 21 - -
League Cup 2 - -
Total 121+2 6 1

All stats correct as at June 3, 2014. With thanks to Opta

Copyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 3 Jun 2014