Per Mertesacker
Mertesacker has been in contact with Podolski. REUTERS

Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker will prove his critics wrong once he has got to grips with the quick and overtly physical nature of the Premier League, according to Sky Sports pundit Ray Wilkins.

Arsenal signed the towering centre-half from Werder Bremen on the final day of the transfer window in August, but despite having played 79 times for Germany, Mertesacker has belied his obvious international pedigree by making a series of uncharacteristic mistakes for the Gunners.

Although Wilkins concedes the experienced defender has had his "problems" during his fledgling Arsenal career to date, the former Chelsea coach suggests Mertesacker is too experienced not to make the adaption from the Bundesliga.

The Arsenal defender was at fault for Norwich City's opener at Carrow Road on Saturday, yet Wilkins indicates the pace and permissive referring of English football takes some getting used to and claims Mertesacker should fare better against Borussia Dortmund in Wednesday night's Champions League tie at the Emirates.

"In defence of that defence they have had a pretty tough time with injury." Wilkins told in reference to Arsenal's defensive issues this season.

"They have lost Bacary Sagna, who has been one of the Premier League's most consistent right-backs over the years and his replacement Carl Jenkinson. Throw in Keiran Gibbs and their main man at the back, Thomas Vermaelen, then maybe it's no surprise that Arsenal have struggled at times.

"Having Vermaelen back is a massive boost for them, now all they need is Per Mertesacker to get to grips with our game. It is just a question of getting used to the pace of the Premier League and being constantly put under pressure by attackers.

"I think that goal at Norwich on Saturday summed his problems up in a nutshell. I am sure he will come good and realise that sometimes it is just a question of putting your boot through the ball!

"Mertesacker might well appreciate coming up against Dortmund, simply because he will be more used to their style.

"Robert Lewandowski, their Polish striker, might have got eight goals in 13 Bundesliga games, but I am pretty sure he will not work as tirelessly as Steve Morison and Grant Holt did on Saturday."

In the aftermath of Arsenal's 2-1 Premier League win against Norwich at the weekend, Arsene Wenger echoed Wilkins' sentiments and defended Mertesacker in light of the player's latest error of judgement.

"[Mertesacker] had not completely recovered [from the internationals]," Wenger told the club's official website.

"It is a different game in England, a very demanding game for the defender.

"In every second of the game you are really tested with full commitment, and it takes some time to adapt We have seen that with [Laurent] Koscielny, who played at right-back and was exceptional.

"Last year he would not have delivered this kind of performance because you learn that from fighting in every game. That is why it is so difficult to buy defenders from abroad."