Per Mertesacker has sent a warning to Manchester United ahead of their visit to Arsenal on Saturday, noting that Aaron Ramsey’s superb form in midfield could tip the balance in his side’s favour.
Jose Mourinho’s men travel to the Emirates knowing that defeat would likely see them fall 11 points behind Manchester City ahead of their meeting next weekend.
Ramsey, who netted the winner against Man United at the Emirates back in 2011, has enjoyed a promising 2017/18 campaign so far, netting three goals and claiming five assists.
And Mertesacker, speaking ahead of the game, noted that Ramsey’s presence in midfield will cause United plenty of problems.
“Aaron Ramsey made two of our goals against Huddersfield,” he said.
“He’s fully fit and he makes a huge physical contribution to our play, which everyone knows he’s capable of. When Aaron’s fit, he’s magnificent. He’s been efficient lately and is really coming back to his best.
“Aaron’s contributions in the final third were impressive but in the final half hour, I thought that was replicated by the whole team.
“That’s what we’re capable of, and that’s what we want to see more of. We know that we can improve but we’re taking lessons from every single game, both offensively and defensively.
“At the moment we look desperate to keep a clean sheet in every game, and that’s what you want to see.”
Arsenal fans like to moan about any player they can, but Ramsey has always been one who has evinced more clamour than most, purely because of recurrent gap between what he produces on the pitch and what supporters know he can offer on his day.
But Mertesacker is right. Ramsey is playing extremely well, benefitting in recent times from Mesut Ozil’s mesmerising presence especially. Control, awareness, weight of pass, vision: it all seems to come naturally, fluidly almost.
But he is also a player whose head can drop, especially when Wenger’s men meet adversity, and United supporters will look to Ander Herrera to bully him out of the game whilst Paul Pogba shows Mertesacker what a genuinely brilliant midfielder can do.