Tuesday, March 21, 2023

BFG: There’s ‘something missing’ from my game

Per Mertesacker says he is struggling to kick-start his season after the drama of winning the World Cup this summer.

Pleased that he’s managed to stay fit so far, despite a dearth of pre-season playing time, the 30-year-old said he’s fighting hard to stay motivated as he comes to terms with the achievements of the German national team.

Speaking to the Evening Standard after last night’s fortunate 2-1 victory over Anderlecht the Gunners vice-captain, who retired from international duty after his exploits in Brazil, gave a brutal assessment of his own form claiming something is ‘missing’.

“For me, it is difficult at the moment because that was really a long season last year and to come back from that World Cup and get the motivation back… I am nearly back but you can feel there is something missing.

“With those games, the belief and the mentality is there but the motivation will come back. We didn’t even have time to celebrate (the World Cup win) properly, that was the first thing. But you realise month after month what happened. Maybe in five or 10 years you can really realise what was going on there. We came back to Berlin, got on the stage, waved our hands, showed the World Cup and then everyone disappeared to their families to get some holidays, some rest, calm.

“That was really difficult, to get into a proper holiday. The restart is more in your head than anything else. That was really a problem. But I am happy not to have picked up an injury yet and I am confident that I have already been through the dangerous period. I am really happy that I am fit and ready for the proper fight during the winter period.

“It is harder mentally because I  started literally when the season started. I have never experienced that. It is at least two or three weeks before the season started, usually, but we had already won a cup, the Community Shield, and I wasn’t there at that time, I was still on holiday. That was something really strange for us to think about.”

Accepting that Arsenal’s erratic form has not been good enough this season, Mertesacker insisted that only harder work on the training ground can put things right.

“Everyone knows that it was a difficult start for us and our confidence is not that much how we wanted it. The character is good, the mentality is good but football-wise, we lack a few things. Our passing game is not as efficient as last year. We are not at our best. We have to admit that, be honest with ourselves and train harder.”

Per isn’t the first player to struggle for form and motivation off the back of a World Cup triumph. While we hoped winning the game’s top honour might see him return in high spirits it appears the ‘come down’ on a mental level is proving somewhat more difficult to overcome. As he says, at least he’s still fit…although the fact he sounds surprised is certainly a cause for concern given our lack of options should he pick up a knock.

Fingers crossed the BFG can recover from his funk to find the quality in his game that saw him earn plaudits last term.

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Ryan Whitehouse

We’re missing important players maybe?

Ryan Whitehouse

Monreal as your partner CB surely has to have some effect on his game.

Brad's Pitt

I actually quite like Monreal at CB .. even though last night wasn’t great. I think he was excellent vs Hull and look quite tight there too in preseason.

Overall shabbiness with regards to how the team controls the ball, defends and hustles opponents ultimately translates as crazy pressure on our defenders, so they’re being let down in that respect.

alexis' shorts

I think Monreal has done well, but it’s in those moments where the back gets exposed that he shows what you want from a fullback as opposed to a cb. Generally a fullback is going to cut down their man as soon as they can, but a cb has to make sure all play is in front of him so that the rest of the team can catch up to the defense in those situations. Per does that extremely well (and he has to considering his mobility), and Kos is good there too but is able to be tighter to… Read more »

alexis' shorts

don’t know why I said Burnley, meant Sunderland…


Well its not the ‘big’ clearly, or the ‘german’ – so by process of elimination, Per is missing the ‘fucking’.

Viagra up Herr Per


blogs made a statement on arseblog …..”There’s a fundamental problem with the set-up, it’s not getting the best out of anybody and until that changes the struggles will continue.” ….i think he should have substituted the word” that “with the words ” the manager “

diaby's ligaments

Pace maybe?


big fucking GOONER!! $$

Silent Stan's Content Mustache

I think BFG is often times exposed when Koscienly is not partnering up with him in the back. They seem to know each others weaknesses and good idea how to overcome them when both of them are on the pitch. When one of them is not there, those weaknesses get exposed big time.


True, but he weren’t all that good this season with Kos as his partner either. I agree with his analysis, something is missing… that little bit of extra that enabled him to dominate seems to have gone away. Sure, he’s always going to have his weaknesses, but we haven’t really seen a lot of his strengths either this season.. regardless of who’s he’s been partnering up with.

I’m really happy that he’s identified that issue as well though, speaks of maturity and bodes well for the rest of the season.


I would have to say that Its more of Koscielny being slower than he is because of the tendinitis mate. The BFG’s biggest weakness is obviously his lack of pace. Kos always covered for that, as well as attacked forwards when they dropped deep to receive the ball because he has the pace to recover in case he doesn’t win it. I can understand someone like Aubameyang beating a fully-fit Kos by 2 yards over a 30 yard sprint, but he did that over 10-15 yards(hit the crossbar thankfully). However, I cant really see Diego Costa beating a fully-fit Kos… Read more »


Honest assessment from the BFG. Kos is slightly off too. Let’s get our other centre backs a run in the team so that…..


How often do you see someone admitting he was not ok the last games ?
Actually never. It takes balls to do that in this strange period for Arsenal, so hats off. Big respect for the guy.

Arsene's handkerchief

Gotta love the honesty from Per, such a brilliant professional, easily one of my favourite players ever to wear the shirt. I’m sure he will shake off the cobwebs and regain the form he had last season.


Agreed. He’s been culpable for several allowed goals recently. Hope these words translate to training and game time improvement.

fresh prince

Is it pace?

alexis' shorts

Uh, did you read the article?
And saying Per is no good because he is slow is like saying Santi is no good cuz he is short.
But they’d make a great pair at a circus with Santi walking through Per’s legs. That should
be a strategy during free kicks. Whoever’s marking Santi won’t be able to get through!


I think BFG is right in stating harder work on the training ground is necessary. It seems every time Arsenal.com posts pictures of practices, everyones just laughing, joking and having a good time. Shouldn’t they be working their asses off trying to better their match fitness, improve their game readiness, work on their bloody corners?


This isn’t just Arsenal though, any time you see pictures coming from a teams training sessions they’re always all smiles. It’s definitely possible to have a laugh and work hard & I don’t doubt for one minute that’s what is happening. I think it’s like Per said, our passing game has been off and when your entire gameplan is passed on possession and passing it’s going to lead to bad performances as we have seen. Although we have drew way too many games in the league so far they could quite easily have been losses, hopefully as players come back… Read more »


Trouble is there are no real hard men in that team to train with. So inevitably they come up against tough physical opponents in the premier league and find it difficult to deal with.

a gunner

How much did BFG and Poldi play a part in the World Cup Winning Team – to be considered Hangovers?

Merlin's Panini

BFG played quite a lot actually. He started every game in the World Cup until the semifinal where he came on for the second half, and the final where he played the last few minutes.
Poldi, on the other hand, was much more peripheral. I don’t think it’s a hangover with him, more the case the boss doesn’t fancy him so much these days. He’s all end product but not a lot else.


Something missing from his game. What is missing is a proper Center back for him to partner up with. Hard to be on top of your game when you have to pick up the slack from both your partner and sometimes Even right back aswell.


That was really difficult, to get into a proper holiday. The restart is more in your head than anything else. That was really a problem”
And here i thought footballers life was simple and thorough. Salute

Mark Hughes



Just do your job Per, please. That includes not being beaten to headers by shorter guys!

Policeman's Bangers 'N' Mash

What is missing is a world-class Flamini replacement to protect our defence and allow our superabundance of swarming volcanic-toed midfield midgets to Krakatoa the cunting opposition goal.


Maybe its the Gothlay Demons

Bouldy's Tupee

He’s missing Vermaelen on the bench. Vermaelen was keeping Per on his toes to play top form. Another reason why to buy another defender and keep that competition going.

Man Manny

Two things are missing:
1. The striving to impress your national team manager is missing.
2. Your real partner is missing; ie Koscielny.

Hoosier Gunner

Could be a third thing too. The only real competition, if both Per and Kos are fit, is provided by a 19 year old Chambers and an uncomfortable makeshift in Monreal. Lack of competition to keep up his mental levels could also be affecting him.. More reasons for Wenger to invest in a CB in Jan.


Off topic here.

Blogs, if you’re reading this, what is that bar in new york you always mention when you speak of going out there? Seem to remember it’s in the east village but can’t remember anything else about it.

Going there next week so want to visit this place and watch the Burnley game.


Blind Pig or O’Hanlon’s on E14th – Check in with Arsenal NYC for more info if you need it https://www.facebook.com/ArsenalNYC


Cheers mush!



Haven’t heard that for years……oh the memories ( engages thousand yard stare)


He’s missing his brother from another mother in defense – Koscielny, aka ‘Le Boss’, aka ‘Le mini Prof’, aka ‘Lolo’, aka ‘RVP in my pocket’.


Haha points for originality on the ‘Mini Prof’ sir, but Kos hardly looks like a Prof now does he. More like a weed-smoking bassist on a scandinavian metal band.


What am i eligible to buy with these points? a new DM perhaps? or am i pushing it? you know what, i’ll settle for a CB in January, after all i’m a realistic man. waiting for my order…


We need better CB than Per tbh. Someone younger with pace so we can comfortably play with a high line.


Let’s face it — he’s third or fourth choice on the german team now. Might be why he “retired.”

Az Ahmed

He didnt figuratively retire. He actually retired

Lee Dixon

Bacary Sagna is what is missing. When you lose the fullback on your side of the pitch that you have built an understanding with for years, it will take it’s toll.


True. Bacary was immense, but Debuchy was a very good replacement and his injury is a big blow. Bottom line is we are short of a back up bona fide CB. True, Chambers can play there but isn’t he our second choice right back? We all knew this before transfer deadline. We knew Kos had achilles problems, so it was baffling that nothing was done to rectify it.


Yeah and his proven pedigree of the game especially during his time at Arsenal has surely made him a go to resource on all matters football. I admire the fan in him but he can take his dench attitude elsewhere. Oh right he did, to some Russian club I’ve never heard of. I’m pissed and frustrated too but especially as a public figure its just too easy to kick the team (his fellow squad mates I must add) when they’re down and when you are in the comforts of…Russia. Ha. Its not like ever let his teammates down in a… Read more »


Something missing eh? That will be the ability to run and jump then.


Anyone else notice ‘I haven’t picked up an injury…yet’?


Another thing I don’t understand, why not try out the younger centrebacks? Instead of playing makeshift Nacho. This puzzles me really…I thought Wenger was all for trying out youth especially in the past when he refuses to sign any players in needed positions…Wenger is just confused right now…

alexis' shorts

I agree with your first statement as well as part of what Vonnie said below. I’d really push for a try for Hayden or Ajayi. Ajayi is older but Hayden seems more mobile and better on the ball which is good foil for Per’s pace. Plus for what Vonnie said, props to the boss for making the change for Campbell and Ox so quickly yesterday and doing the same against Hull. Even if they didn’t directly cause the goals, the extra effort they put in helped. Better that than putting them on with only 5 minutes. Only Poldi can come… Read more »


Wenger has double standards with youth. If it’s youth he’s spent money on they’re old enough and good enough, but if it’s youth from the Academy he doesn’t seem to be interested. Chambers is considered old enough and good enough but Bellerin who is a better right back doesn’t get games. It’s another facet of Wengers favouritism, half the team are never dropped even when they play really badly and others don’t get a chance however hard they try. Wilshire and Ramsey are Wenger favourites and he’ll do anything to get them both playing, which is costing us points and… Read more »


The BFG has to play with Monreal or Chambers in CB, Bellerin or Chambers in RB. You bet something is missing. That something is actually two things called Koscielny and Debuchy.


I think Mertesacker (or someone else) also make a comment about Santi and Alexis both playing as inverted wingers, so they both drift into the middle and clog up the centre. So Arsenal tries too hard to go through the middle rather than from the wings. That’s why Barca usually played alexis on the right, rather than the left, to stop him drifting in and taking up Messi’s space. One solution is to play Alexis as the No 10 (right behind Welbeck) and tell him he can go wherever the hell he likes across the pitch. Bellerin and Gibbs are… Read more »


“come down” naughty

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