Mikel Arteta says Pablo Mari has earned the right to play in the centre of his Arsenal defence.
The Spaniard has helped the Gunners keep two clean sheets in their last two matches, having returned to the starting line-up at Sheffield United last weekend.
He partnered Rob Holding at centre-back at Bramall Lane as Arsenal won 3-0 against the Premier League’s bottom side, before the duo kept their places against Slavia Prague in midweek.
And Arteta has said that after the 4-0 win against the Czech side in midweek, he sees no reason to change things in defence.
Indeed, Mari and Holding are likely to continue at centre-back again against Fulham today, with Calum Chambers and Granit Xhaka playing at right-back and left-back respectively in the last two games.
“Pablo [Mari] had a difficult adaptation at the club, because he has been injured a lot,” Arteta said as he assessed the defender’s season, in which he has played just 12 times.
“When he has not been injured you cannot find a better character to have around the place, when he plays and when he doesn’t play.
“His biggest attribute is leadership, how he communicates with the backline and he has the quality to make the people around him better.
“We got a clean sheet against Sheffield United and that’s why I played him again and we have got another clean sheet, so he has earned the right to play.”