Per Mertesacker ready to step in


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Arsenal club captain Per Mertesacker says he is confident he will be ready to step in and start Saturday’s FA Cup final against Chelsea.

The German has had his campaign continually disrupted due to a knee injury and only made his first appearance of the season off the bench in Sunday’s final day 3-1 win over Everton.

With Laurent Koscielny being sent off in that game, Gabriel Paulista limping off with an injury and Shkodran Mustafi struggling with illness, Mertesacker may well be included in Arsene Wenger’s starting line-up to face the Blues at Wembley.

Arsenal are the 4.50 outsiders to win in 90 minutes, with the draw 3.75 and Chelsea the 1.80 favourites.

A first start of the season would mark a real turnaround for Mertesacker and his experience at the heart of the Gunners‘ back three could prove crucial.

The 32-year-old has previously played in the finals of both the World Cup and the European Championships and is unlikely to be overawed by the occasion.

Despite his lack of games over the last 12 months, the 104-cap German international says he is prepared to start on Saturday if called upon.

“I haven’t played this year,” Mertesacker said. “But I have done this for 15 years so I expect myself to be absolutely ready no matter what comes.

“That is my mindset, no matter what happens or what is facing me on Saturday, I am going to go for it.

I owe this to this team and to this club. “I want to make sure I will be ready and my mindset is ‘120 minutes plus penalties’.”

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