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.”5,479 views