Arsène Wenger has stressed Per Mertesacker’s importance to the Arsenal team.

The World Cup winner misjudged a tackle in the 1-0 defeat to Chelsea, and was sent off for a professional foul on Diego Costa.

Wenger admits it was a turning point in the game, but says such errors are part and parcel of football.

“Ideally I don’t want anyone to make a mistake but that is part of defending and we were caught on the counter-attack and in a bad position,” the manager said.

“It is easy to look and explain on the screen during the game or after it, and anybody that understands football can explain that. But when you are down there on the pitch, if you are caught a fraction out of position it is impossible to correct. That is what happens and I have to accept and live with it.

“We forget the amount of times Mertesacker saves a goal from going in and that happens. The risk is part of the game and you have to feel comfortable with that. Mistakes are part of that competition but we learn from defeat.

“We have learned from the performance on the day and we had great spirit, a great team attitude and a response but we came out of a game which we have not played. We were down to 10 men and 1-0 down so it was very difficult.”

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Rob Kelly 29 Jan 2016