4 Mar 2013

'Not good enough' - Lawro slates €9m star who almost joined LFC. Lucky escape...?

Liverpool legend Mark Lawrenson has laid into Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker, arguing that the €9m German international is the weakest link at the heart of the Gunners' defence.

Arsenal went down 2-1 to Spurs yesterday, and in his column for The Mirror today, Lawro - who has accused Arsene Wenger of 'bad management' in the past - claimed that Arsenal's defence looked like 'Division Two side on a bad day', and highlighted Mertesacker as the main culprit. He scathed:

"Per Mertesacker, for a player in his second season in England is just not good enough.

"He is so tall that if anybody plays the right pass to someone with speed then he’s marooned.

"Steve Bould has been brought in [to organise the defence] but there’s nothing he can do about the fact that Mertesacker is just not good enough".

Prior to joining Arsenal, Liverpool tried to sign Mertesacker, and according to reports at the time, Damien Comolli personally scouted the defender in action last month and advised the Anfield board to make signing him 'a priority'.

Well, considering the German's defensive issues - and Comolli's poor track record on transfers - it looks like Liverpool dodged a major bullet here (!)

Having said that, perhaps Lawro's criticism is a little harsh. Arsenal have the best defensive away record in the league, and overall, Mertesacker has helped the Gunners achieve the fifth best defensive record in the league. You don't do that if you're 'not good enough' as a defender, surely?

If Liverpool had actually signed Mertesacker, would he be a better option than Martin Skrtel?

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  1. Its not the personnel - its the lack of organisation

  2. On the issue at hand its clear that he is out of depth in the BPL. Watching him in germany with naldo they were a good partnership but always looked suspect when playing against quick teams (hense Bremen's inability to do well in european compeititions due to the much quicker pace).

    On a different topic, Reina has been getting a lot of stick this season due to his poor performances but I was suprised that he's only 3 clean sheets behind Joe Hart in the race for the Golden Glove award. If he does overtake the City number one and claim the award for a record fourth time do you think he's worth keeping? Personally, I'd say he'd reclaim my faith if he produces more performances like at the weekend

  3. For me, Vermaelen has been far worse this season. Mertesacker isn't helped by playing alongside Vermaelen and Sagna. Yep, the big German can get outmanouvered and outpaced a fair bit in this league but Vermaelen has been making all sorts of mistakes this season. Sagna sometimes plays like he is just there for a payday. He has been poor after his first season and this season he has been absolute rubbish. Mertesacker, the more newer boy, seems the easier target because of the stereotyping over his agility (some of it justified of course) and because Vermaelen & Sagna have had spells of good form at Arsenal (a long time ago) but for me, this season, Vermaelen and Sagna have been considerably worse than Mertesacker. Because of Santos (to be fair, he is rubbish) and Mertesacker being easy scapegoats as well as the general defensive set up of the team being in the spotlight, the media have glossed over Vermaelen and Sagna's failings. 

  4. I agree Mertasaker is not good enough he is very slow and easily turned. I think Liverpool should start moulding Kelly in to centre back hes quick strong good in the air he has every attribute the modern centre back needs,hes the ideal replacement for Carragher.

  5. Exactly what OriganalChan says. Mark L is wrong to lay the blame at Pers feet, even if they are a long way from his head.

  6. Lawro is not the smartest of pundits. He shoots his mouth too often in the wrong direction. 
    But he was a great Player in his time.

  7. Considering Arsenal play ping pong with the ball in mid field for 90 per cent of a game the back four only have to face a few attacks and the opponents missed dozens of chances which if they went in would'nt have the defensive record looking so clever!

  8. Our defence last season and this season has been poles apart, but the only personnel change that made the difference was Steve Clarke to WBA.

  9. By the age of 28, Per Mertesecker has already played 86 (Eighty Six) times for German National Team, in 8 years.  Mark Lawrenson played 39 times for mighty Ireland in 10 years time.

    Both of them played at same position.  Enough said.

  10. please do not try and compare the two one was world class the other plays for arsenal

  11. Yeah one was at the Heart of a European Cup winning and the other is still struggling to maintain a defence to finish in a Europa League spot.

  12. Arsenal have an overachieving defence considering the abject defensive play infront of them.  I personally think Mertersacker is the best defender in the league

  13. Exactly my thoughts, but I 'll add "among the very best" in your last line. 

    Germany has so much quality in their back line that, I am sure there must be some missing link in Arsenal back 5; otherwise this man is a top class CB.  Remember the WC match against Argentina, he was absolutely wonderful against that Arges forward line?

    He is just 28, still has 4/5 best years of his career coming.  I am sure he 'll come good & 'll end as an Arsenal great.   

  14. Oh yes......

    But then the other one also plays for Germany.

  15. Mark Lawrenson  and the term `world-class are further apart than Pers eyes and his toes.

  16. Per doesn `t need to `come good `. He`s already the best CB at our club. The defensive qualities of our team must be viewed as a whole.

    The left side of our defensive unit was to blame for both goals in the NLD, if the patterns are analised correctly.

    I believe the preasures of captaincy are lying heavily on the shoulders of TV and are effecting the consistaincy of his play.

    This season, apart from the first 1/2 dozen games, have been TV`s poorest since he joined us.

  17. Lawrenson also had the option of passing to a keeper that could pick up the ball if he was under pressure. 

    Basically he didn't even play the same game.