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Wenger Comments on Koscielny Return
Thursday, March 10
Mertesacker Key During Koscielny Absence
Despite Per Mertesacker's ample experience, some Gunners fans may worry about how the back four will cope without Koscielny. The former Lorient ace has been the closest thing Arsenal have had to a talisman in defence for years.
His anticipation and sure tackling have often bailed the Gunners out of tight spots this season.
Without Koscielny, Arsenal will need Brazilian Gabriel Paulista to accelerate his adaptation to England's top flight. The South American centre-back struggled mightily during the Gunners' recent 3-2 league defeat to Manchester United.
Wenger cited a struggle to master the English language as a reason for Gabriel's sketchy form, according to Metro's Max Miller.
With Gabriel struggling and only Calum Chambers as an obvious reserve, Wenger will need to lean on Mertesacker more than he might like. Yet that needn't be such a problem.
The German is often chided for his lack of pace, but Mertesacker is a steady head who reads the game expertly and knows how to organise the defence.
But even if Mertesacker proves his doubters wrong, Arsenal will still hope Koscielny's problem is only a temporary one.