Wenger gives backing to duo

Arsene Wenger has praised Per Mertesacker for performing well despite not being the most elegant player in the Arsenal squad, while he has backed Olivier Giroud to build on an impressive first season at the club.

Last Updated: 20/04/13 at 11:42 Post Comment

Per Mertesacker: Praised by Arsene Wenger for performances this season

Per Mertesacker: Praised by Arsene Wenger for performances this season

Both players have faced criticism this term but Wenger has been satisfied with the contribution they have made to help the Gunners in their bid for a top-four finish.

He admits Mertesacker may not be as stylish as fellow defenders Thomas Vermaelen and Laurent Koscielny, but says he is an important player.

Wenger explained: "He combines well with both Vermaelen and Koscielny. They are good partnerships. He is a bit more 'positional play'.

"I have three good centre-backs. I can't be wrong when I make a decision, because all three deserve to play.

"Maybe he is less elegant and the visual impression is less pleasing, but he is efficient and intelligent."

Giroud squandered a couple of good chances in a midweek goalless draw with Everton and has struggled to win over the doubters in his first season in the Premier League after arriving from Montpellier, but Wenger feels he deserves more credit and has the ability to improve next term.

The Arsenal manager said: "He gave a lot until now and for his first season he is doing extremely well because he has a fantastic attitude, a positive mind.

"He gives us another dimension with the physical challenges in the air. He has scored 17 goals in all competitions, 11 in the league - for a first season that is quite good.

"He has good physical potential, Olivier. He wants to play every single game, he has a good basic stamina and he can absorb the games.

"He can absorb the body-to-body contact, because he's a strong guy. I think you will see more from him next season, and there's a lot more to come from him."

Wenger added: "He is very extrovert and has a positive nature. He wants to do well - he is desperate to do well - and is not the one who hides after.

"He stands up for what he has done and I feel he deals quite well with that."

Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

W

hen players in their 30s leave Real Madrid, it's usually to Bolton Wanderers. I miss those days.

sailingmagpie
Top Ten CL Players Whetting Our Appetite

W

ow Pete, you would make an excellent stalker!

fouloleron
Taking A Close Look At Mario...

T

his specializing in mediocrity will only stop when Wenger and his entire back room staff are cleared out. Dortmund are everything Arsenal should be; in fact they're everything Arsenal thought they were, until they met this supreme doppelg nger.

dr soccer
The Bitter Taste Of Arsenal Déjà Vu

Footer 365

Europa League: Everton boss Roberto Martinez embracing European challenge

Roberto Martinez believes that Everton need to be playing in Europe in order to fulfil the squad’s potential.

The Morning View: Mark Warburton and Alan McInally predict problems for Greg Dyke's foreign player reform

Greg Dyke will face many problems reducing non-EU imports - according to Mark Warburton and Sky Sports' Alan McInally

Transfer news: Pep Guardiola says Manchester United couldn't afford his stars

Pep Guardiola says Manchester United 'don't have enough money' to tempt top talent away from Bayern Munich.

Mail Box

I've Given It Some Thought: He's Got To Go

There is some more considered reaction to Arsenal and Liverpool's results, plus a big get well soon message for Jonas Gutierrez. And an apology to Merse...

B**locks To That, I'm Going To Sit In The Shed

Arsenal supporters given their understandable reaction to the debacle in Dortmund, whilst Liverpool fans weren't too impressed either. Still, at least they won...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property