William Gallas was a very capable successor, but the players around him have always lacked the quality needed to take the Gunner’s to the level needed to win tournaments.
It is a problem that Thomas Vermaelen has inherited. Since his arrival in 2009, the Belgian centre-back has established himself as one of the best players in Arsene Wenger’s squad. His absence last season due to injury however, highlighted the club’s over reliance on having one solid centre-back.
Per Mertesacker seems to be an ideal defence partner for Vermaelen. Unlike his new Belgian team mate, the German likes to sit back and play a very rigid role in the centre of defence. He is a tough, hard hitting, no nonsense centre-back. The very player Arsenal fans have been craving for several seasons.
Unfortunately, with Vermaelen out injured Mertesacker will be making his debut against Swansea as the leader of Arsenal’s defence.
It is a tough ask to expect a Premier League debutant to lead the defence, especially if you have just arrived at the club and still learning the first names of your fellow teammates.
This slideshow will assess several factors to determine how well equipped Per Mertesacker is to manage the Arsenal defence, void of the support Thomas Vermaelen could provide him.