Arsene Wenger believes Per Mertesacker is “on the way up” after a difficult start to the season.
The German defender has played in every Premier League and Champions League match since August 23 after returning from winning the World Cup in the summer.
Mertesacker has played alongside four different centre-back partners this season and the boss feels his vice-captain will soon return to his very his best form.
“I believe he’s on the way up,” Wenger said. “He had a difficult start to the season but he’s been much sharper [lately].
“Many people had a go at him for the corner [at Liverpool] but I looked at it and he had no chance to get that ball in the zone where he was.
“It’s not easy for him. When Koscielny comes back and with Debuchy being back, we will be more stable. Even in midfield we need to get our players back and to defend better.
“We had no stability at the back and when you look at the number of players who played centre back this season, it’s not easy.”
Wenger says Mathieu Debuchy’s experience led to his decision to deploy the Frenchman at centre half against Newcastle United and Liverpool recently.
“I put Debuchy in first of all because he is good in the air,” he said. “At Stoke, we suffered in the air.
“He is a defender of experience and the experience sometimes just in one movement can make a difference. And the defensive responsibility is a bit less on the flank.”
Copyright 2023 The Arsenal Football Club Limited. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source.