Arsenal fans criticise Per Mertesacker's reasons for missing youth cup win vs Spurs

Mertesacker was nowhere to be seen at Boreham Wood

All of a sudden, Arsenal are threatening to plunge their fans into yet another winter of discontent after such a promising start under Unai Emery. 

The Gunners are now six points off the top four and sit level on points with Manchester United following the weekend's 1-0 defeat to West Ham. 

Not only have results on the pitch been relatively disappointing - they last won an away league game on November 25, at Bournemouth - there have been problems off it, too. 

Emery has admitted the club won't be making any permanent signings this month and any new arrivals will be coming in on loan. 

Amidst all that, head of recruitment Sven Mislintat is thought to be leaving, reportedly because he's unhappy at being overlooked for the technical director role. 

On a more positive note, Arsenal fans were at least given something to smile about on Thursday night as the under-18s beat Spurs in the FA Youth Cup. 

Tottenham twice led but the hosts came back to win it 5-2 in extra time over at Boreham Wood. 

The 'mini-derby' attracted a decent crowd but one man who was not there to see Arsenal progress was their academy boss Per Mertesacker. 

Mertesacker skipped the game 

The German was conspicuous by his absence until it emerged he was, in fact, at The 02 watching the NBA game between Washington Wizards and New York Knicks.

Several current Arsenal players were in attendance, including Hector Bellerin and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, but few would have expected to see Mertesacker when his side were involved in an important game. 

Many Arsenal fans felt it was rather a poor show from the former defender, even if it turns out there was a (sort of) reasonable explanation: 

According to the Mirror, the 34-year-old was working as a basketball pundit for DAZN, for whom he also covers the Champions League. 

Mertesacker is a keen NBA fan, following the Cleveland Cavaliers. 

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If he was working at the game and providing coverage, it's possible that he had little choice. 

Equally, he is contracted to coach Arsenal's youngsters and it does beg the question of how the club will have felt about his decision to skip their encounter with Spurs. 

How do you feel about Mertesacker missing the youth game? Have your say in the comments.

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