Arsenal defender Pablo Mari has been singled out for criticism by pundit Rio Ferdinand after his poor performance against Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku at the weekend.
The Belgium international, who made his second debut for Chelsea after returning to the club from Inter Milan this summer, was on fire at the Emirates Stadium, scoring the opening goal and causing Arsenal problems all afternoon.
Ferdinand feels that Mari was particularly poor in the way he defended against Lukaku, slamming the Spaniard’s display as embarrassing, and questioning if someone inside the club could’ve done more to give him some important pre-match advice on how to deal with the Blues forward.
“He (Lukaku) bullies people, he was like a sixth former playing against first years, that’s what he made the Arsenal centre-backs look like, they didn’t know how to deal with him,” Ferdinand told Vibe with Five.
“Mari was an embarrassment, he didn’t know what to do.
“The way they defended against him… where’s Per Mertesacker or someone like that who’s in the building? Please tell them what to do.
“Before the game starts you tell them, ‘do not get into a physical battle with him, sometimes let him have a touch of the ball then you hit him, if you let him grip you he’s going to roll you and control the whole situation’.
“He could’ve scored three or four goals if the ball had bounced right.”
Mari initially looked quite promising when he joined Arsenal, though it’s fair to say that their recent signings suggest he’s unlikely to remain first choice for much longer.
The Gunners brought in Gabriel Magalhaes last summer and Ben White this term, with those two surely set to be Mikel Arteta’s first-choice partnership when they’re both available again.