Per Mertesacker has revealed how he and Rob Holding kept Diego Costa quiet in Saturday’s FA Cup final win over Chelsea.
The Germany international put in a superb display in only his first start of the season as the Gunners saw off the champions to lift the FA Cup for a record 13th time.
Although Costa did manage to get his name on the scoresheet, he was no match for the Arsenal defence and Mertesacker has explained the secret of their success.
“We went to work on Diego Costa,” he said via The Metro. “Rob was giving him a really hard time. I kept patting him on the back, being friendly, while Rob kept on talking to him. A good double act. It was very exciting to see how quickly things can turn.
“What was really important was that we kept on running with Costa, to make sure those long balls didn’t get to him.
“We were prepared for that. Especially when Fabregas came on, we were ready to run back to cut out those long balls over the top that he plays.
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“You have to say it couldn’t have gone much better for us. The team’s performance was incredible. I don’t know how many would have expected that.”
With Laurent Koscielny and Gabriel out there were fears for the Arsenal defence ahead of the game but Mertesacker put in a memorable display while Holding showed what a brilliant player he can become with a performance beyond his years.