Date: 25th May 2017 at 9:15am
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Per Mertesacker is poised to make his first Arsenal start of the season in the biggest game of them all, the FA Cup final.

Having come off the bench for his first involvement of the 2016-17, replacing Gabriel when he was stretched off at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday, Mertesacker is set to follow up his 150th appearance for Arsenal against Everton with a place in Arsene Wenger’s starting XI against Chelsea on Saturday.

Gabriel will be out for six to eight weeks, Laurent Koscielny is suspended and former German international teammate Shkodran Mustafi is doubtful, which has opened the door to Mertesacker, who has revealed his frustration at being limited to a watching brief this season.

Mertesacker told the Official Website: ‘I was out for half a year and not available so it was difficult at times. When I came back new year and started to train with the team, obviously, you want to give absolutely everything on the training pitch and try to support the team as much as you can.’

He said everyone, including himself of course, is willing to give ‘absolutely everything’ as Arsenal aim to salvage something from a disappointing campaign.

He said: ‘I wasn`t happy about the role, just being sidelined, but just keeping up with the boys, trying to lift them no matter what happens. We went through difficult periods throughout the season but this is really clutch now for us and I think everyone now is eager to play the last game and give absolutely everything for this club.’

The defender will obviously be lacking match fitness and sharpness but Mertesacker, 32, has plenty of experience to call upon and insists he’ll be ready if needed and has a mindset of going all the way, should extra time and even penalties be required on Saturday.

Mertesacker added: ‘I haven`t [really] played this year 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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