Arsène Wenger has hailed Per Mertesacker as a "fantastic leader" after his accomplished display at Fulham on Saturday.

The German defender skippered the side in the absence of Thomas Vermaelen and Mikel Arteta as Arsenal won 3-1 at Craven Cottage.

Wenger believes Mertesacker led by example and was pleased with the professional performance his team delivered.

"Per is a fantastic leader who always keeps the urgency of the team very high," the manager told Arsenal Player. "He's a good organiser. He's growing in stature and I think his individual performance as well was outstanding.

Per is a fantastic leader who always keeps the urgency of the team very high

Arsène Wenger

"I believe we had a convincing win because we had real good team play and we looked like a team who knows what they are doing. We were always in control, got [a 2-0 lead] at half-time and got a goal after that. The last 20 are always a bit difficult but we could have scored more."

Olivier Giroud continued his fine start to the season with an early strike at Fulham, while Lukas Podolski got his off and running with a brace.

"It was particularly important and you know that [Podolski] always has a goal in him," Wenger said. "In the first half he had another chance to score just before half time. I'm pleased for him because it was not easy to take.

"He didn't always start recently. It's more for the balance of the team than his individual performance so I'm happy he got two goals.

"Everywhere he has been, [Olivier's] second season has been a good one. In the first year, he always struggled a little bit to adapt. You've seen him since the start of the season, he scores in every game."

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 Nik Brumsack 26 Aug 2013