Mikel Arteta says he was impressed by Pablo Mari’s Premier League debut as the Spaniard collected a second clean sheet in quick succession to help Arsenal beat West Ham 1-0 at the Emirates.
The Spanish centre-back delivered a composed performance on Monday when we beat Portsmouth 2-0 in the FA Cup and was trusted with repeating the feat against the Hammers.
After a nervy start, he settled down nicely alongside David Luiz and was a noticeably vocal presence around his teammates.
Speaking to Arsenal.com, he said: “I think he was very good and in the first half he took a few moments to sort out what he needed to do.
“He’s brave, he’s willing, he’s impressive without the ball and he has a presence.
“He is very vocal around his team even if he’s only been two days here, but he has that ability and that character. I’m really pleased with him.”
Asked in his post-game press conference whether two clean sheets in a row means he’ll have to pick Pablo for Wednesday’s trip to Manchester City, Arteta joked:
“Good point, I have to take your advice there! If it is as simple as that, hopefully we do it again at Manchester City and see if we get a clean sheet!
“He is doing well, he’s adapted really well – it is not an easy league and a central defender, in my opinion, to play in the Premier League is one of the toughest positions to play for any foreign player.
“But he is very willing, he is learning and he has a good experience and understanding with his team-mates.”
According to the StatsZone app, Mari completed 70/82 passes (85%), made 9 ball recoveries, 8/8 clearances, 5/5 headed clearances and won 3/5 aerial duels. Not too shabby.