Per Mertesacker hardly had the ideal preparation for the FA Cup final.
The Arsenal defender was starting a match for the first time in 392 days, was unsure he would be able to last 90 minutes, had never played as part of a back three, and was lining up in a new-look and makeshift defense against one of the most potent attacks in English soccer.
Mertesacker didn’t let any of that show.
With the captain’s armband strapped around his left bicep, the lanky former Germany international bestrode the Wembley Stadium turf in the 2-1 win over Chelsea on Saturday, showing all the authority of a 104-cap veteran.
Intercepting passes nonchalantly.
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