Arsenal star feels squad is strong enough after defender joins Gunners

22:31 04 February 2015

Arsenal's Per Mertesacker applauds the home fans

Arsenal's Per Mertesacker applauds the home fans


Captain Per Mertesacker believes Arsenal now have strength in depth following the recent arrival of fellow defender Gabriel Paulista

The Gunners shelled out a fee in the region of £11m to sign the Brazilian centre-back, who was an unused substitute in their 5-0 hammering of Aston Villa, from Villareal.

And Mertesacker – who has played alongside three different central defensive partners this season – welcomed the increased competition for places, which has also been helped by the emergence of younger players such as Bellerin, Francis Coquelin and Chuba Akpom.

“We suffered a lot at times with injuries,” said the Arsenal defender. “We want a very deep squad, and we look much better now.

“We have that competition in our team and have an addition with a centre-back now, so I think we have a deep and good squad at the moment.

“He [Gabriel] is a talent and I think we will get him to the level he needs because he has that potential. From my point of view, it is very promising because we were short at the back, especially in the centre position.

“We had to change so many positions. It was needed to get everyone going and keep him on his natural position is very important.

“When you look at our bench [against Villa], everyone could have played. The talent, who were unlikely to play a part this season, have played an absolutely fantastic role and will get the experience now.

“That is really important, when there is an injury crisis, they can step up and can have a real impact. You could see that they are able to do that.”

Now Mertesacker is focused on maintaining Arsenal’s recent upturn in form by leading them to victory in Saturday’s north London derby at White Hart Lane.

Tottenham currently sit just two points behind their neighbours in sixth place and Mertesacker added: “We have a very important away game. We are very close to each other in the league.

“Last season we did quite well at White Hart Lane, so we will try to repeat that. Now they have a new manager, there has been change in the squad and it will be a good game.”


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Islington Gazette visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Islington Gazette staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Islington Gazette account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest Islington Sports News

Yesterday, 12:00

Islington BC’s Jerome Campbell is one fight away from a national title after his victory in the semi-finals of the England Boxing Development Championship.

Yesterday, 10:00

The newly-formed Camden & Islington Girls League kicked off on Friday as six teams got the competition up and running at Market Road.

Wed, 16:20

Highgate Harriers’ quartet of runners held off heavyweight opposition to clinch a surprise victory in the Southern Senior Relay Championships at Wormwood Scrubs.

Wed, 16:04

Paul Rattigan grabbed four goals as Boston Celtics racked up a 7-0 win against Boundary Estate in the Jack Morgan Cup.

Wed, 15:56

Middlesex’s title-winning squad gained the royal seal of approval when they were presented with the County Championship trophy at Buckingham Palace.

Wed, 07:01

A tale of two penalties decided the Islington Primary Schools’ Years 3-4 Boys’ Cup final as St Joan of Arc emerged victorious.

Mon, 13:01

Arsene Wenger turned 67 on Saturday, but his team failed to give him the birthday present he coveted most – three points against Middlesbrough.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Unbeaten Archway light-middleweight Tony Milch intends to demonstrate his championship credentials when he returns to the ring at York Hall next month.

Newsletter Sign Up

Most read sport


Show Job Lists


Cosmetics, toiletries, vitamins and more. Boots is the number one choice when it comes to purchasing daily essentials.

If you’re obsessed with Apple or just love a good gadget, this is a prize that will blow you away! An incredible £3,333 to spend on Apple goodies! How would you like to be the proud new owner of the Apple Watch?

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Islington Gazette
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now