The finger was pointed at club captain Mikel Arteta yesterday after Arsenal missed out on the chance to return to the Premier League summit following their 2-1 defeat at West Bromwich Albion.
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The Spaniard endured a horrible cameo at The Hawthorns, conceding the free-kick from which James Morrison cancelled out Olivier Giroud’s opener, and then putting Albion’s winner into his own net.
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But former Gunners centre-back Martin Keown feels that Per Mertesacker should shoulder some of the blame for not being strong enough when defending the set piece from which the Baggies equalised.
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Keown, a tough-as-nails defender who won three titles and three FA Cups with the Londoners, certainly has a point. The 6ft 6in World Cup winner was far too easily pushed aside by West Brom’s Jonas Olsson.
Which begs the question: What is Mertesacker good for if he cannot win balls in the air and dominate his own box? His lack of pace and immobility has already exposed him as a liability to Arsenal.
Gabriel Paulista sat on the bench in the Midlands while Mertesacker partnered Laurent Koscielny. Is it time for the German veteran to step aside and the Brazilian to get a long run in the team?
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