Monday, March 24, 2014
Mertesacker: time to prove we’re strong enough

Mertesacker: time to prove we’re strong enough

Defeat against Napoli last night has swung the pendulum of opinion in terms of Arsenal, with people now question the team’s ability to go to Man City and get something from the game on Saturday.

But Per Mertesacker reckons it’s down to the players to prove they’re up to the task as they look to maintain the 5 point lead at the top of the table.

“It is always difficult especially now after 15 games in the league and the Christmas period is coming,” he said.

“You think you have a good chance to achieve something this season but you have to keep your momentum and that is really important.

“Now everybody is pulling a bit, questioning our group, and if we can maintain that level so we have to stay together and think that ‘yes, we are strong enough’.”

Finishing runner-up in the group means one of Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid or PSG in the next round.

It’s got the potential to be tricky but those teams might not think facing Arsenal is a great reward for winning their group. Mertesacker points to what happened last year, saying, “We got Bayern Munich last year and nearly went through. If you want to achieve something in the Champions League, you have to take every opponent seriously and I think it is better for us when we have a good lot, when there is a draw that we can concentrate on.

“When you look at the teams that finished top, if you pick one out, for me, I don’t mind. You never know what can happen with a good draw and a serious opponent, you can get so much out of a defeat or a disappointment.

“I hope that we learn a lot from Naples and we are aware of the next opponent.”

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35 comments

  1. Yes Per!

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    • He’s per-ticularly right isn’t he?

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    • I am not trying to be per-anoid but we haven’t been strong traditionally in Decembers. Per-haps it’s a good time to pick up some points, which will give us that per-fect basis to build on if we are still top of the league come new year!

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  2. LastNightEboueSavedMyLife

    Tomorrow?!

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  3. I hope it’s Barca. Just reliving that moment when Arshavin put us ahead and we erupted. Pure bliss.
    And besides we can give Cesc a jolly good reception so he has something to think about.

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  4. That is the spirit Per. Now tear Man Shitty a new one

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  5. I think its all set up for something special. First we draw Bayern, again, and set things right for getting knocked out on away goals last yeat. Then we get a less glamouress but impressive side in someone like

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  6. It was a weird game in a sense last night, as although we lost we looked comfortable overall and never in danger of going out of the group. It’s certainly not a result that anyone should dwell on and it won’t have any bearing psychologically on Saturday’s game; the only issue is potential fatigue.

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  7. The fact that 3 of our best players from last season (Theo, Santi, Aha!) are still getting back to full fitness and Özil is yet to completely settle in. The prospect of what’s still come to is very exciting and frightening.

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  8. green arse
    December 12, 2013
    I think its all set up for something special. First we draw Bayern, again, and set things right for getting knocked out on away goals last yeat. Then we get a less glamouress but impressive side in someone like Gala. We then Barca in the semis while mancity face real madrid in the other and its all set up for either an el classico or premier league final. We smash barca while real tear nasri and co. a new one. Mesut Özil score the finale winner in a classic final. Its possible.

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  9. “You can get a lot out of a defeat or punishment”.

    No Per, that’s not the right mentality. Anything but winning in the knock out stage is not good, end of.

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    • he’s talking about a loss in general. you sound like a journo, taking things out of context.

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    • right, what happend to the teams league form post bayen again? think thats all hes trying to point out, not that he isnt bothered if they win or lose

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    • Then none of the teams in all the groups are not good enough for you obviously, since they dropped points.

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  10. I really hope we can do the business against city and chelski, 2 defeats is unthinkable. 2 wins on the other hand and what a huge boost that would be for the players and the fans, will shut those pundits up about us not being able to turn it on against the “big” teams

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  11. GunnerDareMACEDONIA

    Theo must start against city, yes city are great at home but they had always weakness in the defense when they are attacking against us, if anyone remembers last year game at etihad, gervinho caused many problems to city defense with our midfiled gave him trough balls 3-4 times on counter, that’s why theo must start with flamini, ramsey , cazrola and ozil in midfield and hit them in counter with troguh ball city will attack us without doubt but with this midfield and theo speed we can win the game.

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    • … and I hope we spank them at home so that Joe Hart comes back to the team. Somehow I feel more confident that ManC will drop more points with Hart in the lineup.

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  12. Based on the game with Napoli,I don’t think Arsenal can win the cl.For starters
    the speed of the attack is slow. Watch how Stoke scored against Chelsea.
    The gunners like to pass and weave aball through the packed defence.
    Imho,that is a no go against the big teams.I just hope I am proven wrong.

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    • Dial Square Charity XI

      The speed of our attack is only slow when we play against teams that utilise the wings and play expansive football. This pushes our wingers back making it hard to for them to get up and support Giroud, who we all know is at his best when he can bring the midfield runners into play.

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    • The Arsenal right now is not the Arsenal of old. We have experienced warriors on the team who know exactly how to win a match. We can pass the ball around, mesmerise and win. Or we don’t play particularly well and still win. One bad result against Napoli isn’t the end of it all and we can still challenge for the CL. Just remember what we did to them at home.

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  13. Theres a storm brewing in Manchester Saturday lunchtime and we are going to blow City away.

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  14. I'm a gunner...nice

    I FUCKING LOVE YOU PER MERTESACKER

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  15. Crumbs it is amazing how a pants result can make you feel so negative about future tricky fixtures! I honestly thought at half time we were well on our way to a comfortable bore draw – think the boys were capable hence doubly disappointed!

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  16. Its funny how we’re all here wailing about coming 2nd when Napoli or even Dortmund would have been very OK with it prior to the game. Onwards and forward pls.

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  17. Common u gunners..now is the time to stand behind our boys.cast off the doubting spirit.

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  18. Everybody hates losing but from my perspective this is best for us. Better u playbig teams now and build mmomentum from that, than beating mediocre teams and losing out in the next stage. Touchwood, we lose, we can focus 100% on the league and not have hangovers from being knocked out.

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  19. Lesson learnt last night is best way to beat big opponents is play to our strengths. We gave Napoli too much respect and fielded a team to try and hold them back. Girroud plays best holding the ball for attacking players. I would not use him as lone striker unless we have theo or Ramsey or poldolski to complement him. I think we could not do worse than taking Henry back as player coach. Bould has helped us defensively and Henry can have same impact offensively and contribute odd goal. Wenger got it all wrong again and his strengths are not in my mind his tactics.

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  20. could sagna being out have something to do with our iffy performances in the past two games? it seems to me that he has become a really vital part of how we play and am not sure jenks is really up to scratch just yet. i wish we would just give bac the new contract he deserves. he’s a club legend at this stage and i want to see him play out his career with us.

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  21. I think I read somewhere that we ain’t lost with a back four of sagna, mert, kos and Gibbs – this season or calendar year? So a good point andy

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  22. We keep saying that yet we have dropped against Napoli when we made noise of havinga response to the performance against Everton.

    Better not to say to much at this point and just get those points.

    The way we invited Napoli to come at us, we were asking for a defeat. Wenger shuld have had Walcott on early to at very least break against Napoli. Giroud was too slow but with Walcott floating, he could have helped him spring the Napoli defense. We should have been going for at least the draw in all honesty. Did not like the fact we were content defending a one goal deficit. Poor.

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