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End of Season Report Per Mertesacker (BFG)

May 19, 2012

Per Mertesacker in action

Name Per Mertesacker – AKA the BFG  Big ******* German, we’ve got a big ******* German……………

  • Born September 29, 1984 Hannover, Germany
  • Position Defender
  • Squad Number 4
  • Previous Club(s) Werder Bremen Hannover 96
  • Joined Arsenal August 31, 2011 (Panic Buy) Right!!!
  • BFG has played 79 games for Germany
  • BFG played 27 times for Arsenal this season

BFG joined the Arsenal from Werder Bremen right in the middle of Sky Sports News transfer deadline day hype up party… On joining Arsenal the BFG was given the number four shirt, once worn by a little Spanish magician and told orders vil be obeyed at all times. A 6ft 6in giant centre back with the turning circle of a Super Tanker, confirms the adage that white men can’t jump. With lots of experience at club and international level, BFG had eight seasons in the Bundesliga with Werder Bremen and Hannover 96. BFG played in the Semi-Finals of the 2006 and 2010 World Cups and to the Final of the 2008 European Championship.

Private life

Apparently The BFG has always been an Arsenal Fan as he and his two brothers would travel to  visit his aunt who lived in England. He and his brothers being obsessed with football (like me) made sure each time they came home they had  a Premier League team’s shirt. Mertesacker came back to  his home near Hanover with an Arsenal shirt and it is said he supported Arsenal ever since

His Girlfriend is Handballer Ulrike Stange. They had a young boy born  on 24 April 2011 weighing in at 4st 8lbs and 5.8″ tall.

In November 2006, Mertesacker created the “Per Mertesacker Foundation”. This foundation was created to support the widow of Robert Enke who committed suicide, and is targeted at those suffering from depression. Under this foundation Mertesacker created a football team called “Mertesacker & Friends” who each year play charity matches to help support the cause. The first charity match took place in June 2007 between “Mertesacker & Friends” and the “Pocher Comedian Allstars” in Rudolf Kalweit stadium, in Hanover. In 2008 and 2009 matches were played against a team called “Philipp Lahm & Friends”, a team created and chosen by Philipp Lahm. It’s always good to see footballers putting something back and not always in the news for the wrong reasons.

Arsenal

BFG made his league debut in a 1–0 home win for Arsenal against Swansea and made his Champions League debut away on home soil against Dortmund. The BFG started well and played in all games battling on through with various defensive partners as Arsenal’s injury problems mounted.

“I want to do a good job, especially in the defence,” he said. “That is my role. If the coach praises me then that is a great thing but I have to go on and keep on working.”

Per continued at heart of the Arsenal defence and developed his partnership with Laurent Koscielny and they helped Arsenal to wins against Sunderland, Stoke and Chelsea, he also played well as Arsenal kept a clean sheet in the away victory in Marseille in the Champions League. The BFG continued in the side only missing with illness the FA Cup v Dirty Leeds.

Having dispatched Leeds United and Aston Villa, Arsenal were drawn away to Sunderland in the FA Cup 5th round, where dirty tricks were learned from Milan and Sunderland produced a terrible pitch, an accident waiting to happen. The BFG suffered an ankle injury when a ball was played back to him by Songhino and as he turned he caught his feet in the grass and went down and Sunderland went on to score, though Arsenal won the game with late goals by Ramsey and the master himself TH12.  Prior to his injury, the BFG had played well in the draw at Bolton and the 7-1 victory over Blackburn.

 “Unfortunately he has had surgery and we have lost him for a while,” said Arsene Wenger. “How long I don’t know. He had reconstruction of his ligaments. So it will be long term.”

The BFG continued his recover from his ankle injury.

“I believe Per will be out for the rest of the season,” said Arsene Wenger. “There is not long to go so I don’t think he will be sharp enough to come back and play. He would need to train and get back to full fitness.”

Later Wenger would also comment

 “He is doing well. He is hopeful he will make the Euros and I hope he does. He is doing all his work here and the next two weeks will be vital for him. He has started ball work and he looks quite good.”

At 6 ft 6 in, The BFG is commanding in the air due to his size and good on the ground due to what I feel is his very good reading of the game and positional play and thus rarely gets booked. The BFG can use his towering strength to keep opponents off the ball and direct overhead air traffic at the same time. I am surprised that the BFG is not more of a threat from set pieces though. The BFG does not mess about with the ball and use it well with neat short passing for a big guy. The obvious advantage is to pair the BFG with a more mobile player in a pairing and either Tv5 or K6 fit the bill nicely.

Not the easiest of starts for the BFG then. Overall though he did well and hopefully next season he will be back fit and stronger to be part of a more solid Arsenal defence. It could be said that with the BFG in the side Arsenal looked more comfortable, than with the combo of TV5/K6. I feel apart from the injury picked up at Sunderland where Sunderland scored, BFG’s only other really poor contribution was Norwich’s first goal at Carrow Road.

Trivia

  • BFG is nicknamed ‘die Abwehrlatte’ by the German tabloids, which translates as ‘The Defense Pole’.
  • After Germany’s World Cup quarter-final penalty shoot-out win over Argentina in 2006, Mertesacker was attacked by Argentine substitute Leandro Cufre and suffered thigh and groin injuries. And you thought England were bad losers in shoot-outs!
  • He has come close to winning several top honours, only to miss out in the latter stages of tournaments. He has UEFA Cup and Euro 2008 runners-up medals and was in the Germany teams that came third in the 2005 Confederations Cup and the 2006 World Cup (loser).

The BFG’s website here

Marks out of 10 (6.5)

@harlowgooner

Next up Kieran Gibbs

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