Per Mertesacker cannot wait for Arsenal’s match with Manchester United on Wednesday night as games between the sides are “always special”.

The Germany international missed November’s meeting with David Moyes’ side through illness, and could only watch as the Gunners slipped to a narrow defeat.

But the 29-year-old is fit for this game and looks forward to taking part in a fixture of which he has fond memories.

“I always supported Arsenal [when I was growing up] and my brother Man United, because 10 or 15 years ago they were always the rivals for first place,” Mertesacker told the official matchday programme.

Matchday Programme

Read more from Per in the Man Utd programme

“Is my brother still a Man United fan? I think he stopped after I went to Arsenal! Maybe in his memories he knows he once supported Man United because he’s got a shirt from that era. But it’s a special game in my memory and it’s still the same now.

“You see these pictures [of previous games against United] at the training ground every day! So you realise and you know how important that was and still is.

“United have a strong squad and when everyone’s fit it’s a really good team. I will never write them off. It’s always a special game between Arsenal and Man United.”

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 12 Feb 2014