Per Mertesacker says it will be a "big honour" to captain the team in Saturday's Premier League opener against Aston Villa.

With both Thomas Vermaelen and Mikel Arteta ruled out of the game, Arsene Wenger confirmed the German international will lead Arsenal.

Mertesacker insists the armband will not change his approach and is looking forward to skippering the team at Emirates Stadium.

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"It is very unusual that the captain and vice captain are out for the first game of the season but for me it is a big honour and a big surprise," he told Arsenal Player.

"I am not used to it but during pre-season I captained the team for a few games so it is nothing new. It is very special for me to be captain for the first Premier League game.

"My English is improving so I can contribute a bit more [in terms of being vocal at the back]! Communication is important and hopefully my contribution will increase further."

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