Tuesday, July 1, 2014
BFG: We need to switch on quicker

BFG: We need to switch on quicker

Per Mertesacker has called on his teammates to maintain their concentration in games after admitting that Hull nearly stunned Arsenal with a physical and frenetic opening 20 minutes in yesterday’s 3-0 win at the KC Stadium.

The Gunners were on the back foot from the off against Steve Bruce’s side with strike duo Nikica Jelavic and Shane Long repeatedly looking to scamper onto passes from the likes of Jake Livermore and Tom Huddlestone and only recovered their composure after Aaron Ramsey’s 31st minute opener.

Casting an eye over the game, the German international told Arsenal Player that it’s essential the team defend as a cohesive unit.

“I think at the start, Hull played very well, they put pressure on us all the time. They played with two strikers Jelavic and Long. They played quite decent together as well so it was quite tough.

“We were lucky [at times] but overall when it was really, really close we had a good response. I think the whole team has to switch on quicker than normal to avoid those balls behind us [when we face two strikers]. I got booked very early so I always had to be aware.

“To cover each other is a vital point. We didn’t do enough of that in the first 15 or 20 minutes but after it was much easier, especially in the second half, we got more possession, we were more dangerous and we’ve got some decent finishers in our team as well.”

As has been well documented neither Jelavic or Long will be available to Hull for the FA Cup final showdown on 17 May but Per is not wrong to highlight our sluggishness out of the traps. It’s pretty obvious after some of the maulings we’ve had in 2014 that ‘getting into Arsenal’ from the first whistle is the number one tactic in the book entitled ‘how to shit up Arsenal and win’.

Yesterday was the first time in six games (since we scored in the opening seconds at Spurs) that we haven’t conceded first. It certainly made a difference.

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46 comments

  1. Gotta love the BFG!

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    • Most consistent player this season? I only remember one mistake, that penalty against Wigan, but he redeemed it afterwards.

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  2. This will not happen if flamini starts… We need someone to get in the faces of our opponents

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    • That’s exactly what Flamini does

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      • Just A Gentleman

        I think he means ‘unless Flamini starts’ and not ‘if Flamini starts’.

        I think..

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        • The grammar of his sentence is fine. He is trying to say that we would not have poor starts to games if Flamini was a starter, because he will get in the opposition faces and prevent them swarming over us early doors.

          However, I disagree with the sentiment of the statement. Flamini has played in plenty of the games where we have started badly. He’s a great player, but one player isn’t going to change our sluggish starts. It needs to be a collective effort.

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  3. BFG has been on the pitch over 72 hours (4335 minutes) across all competitions for Arsenal this season. He is a monster fitness wise but I think he needs a rest. Towards the end of the Hull game it looked like he was running on empty.

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    • Yeah hands on his knees when waiting for a throw in : / Vermaelen out with hamstring injury though

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      • Just A Gentleman

        If Vermaelen is out, then Sagna at CB, and Jenkinson at RB could work, but with 4 cup finals, I think it’s a massive risk.

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    • BFG may need a rest but we simply can’t give him one. He’s a battler and has four more battles to come through.

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      • Gutbukket Deffrolla

        We do have a week now though. Our game every three days season is over now.

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    • Considering he’ll probably be a starter at the WC for Germany as well. He’s going to have to switch to beast mode to get through that. Hope he gets enough rest before next season starts.

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  4. We defend so compactly just outside the box that we allow too many crosses in the box and 15 yard shots which on a bad day could result in unnecessary goals (yesterday one attempt of Hull hit the post).

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  5. Mimir, I totally agree. Usually our BFG makes slalum runs in the last 15 minutes of games, but yesterday he made NONE whatsoever!!!

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  6. Arsenal scare me lol. I dont think theres a team like us where we can open dismally then flick a switch and smash it out of the park! Lol COYG!

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  7. per: “just checking that my tooth is still there!”

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  8. Left with regrets after the game yesterday but renewed hope for the future.

    Lads need to knuckle down and obviously secure 4th but am I completely mad in thinking when all fit we have a relatively superior squad than champions elect Liverpool?

    Tweaks needed for next season to ensure we can last the pace and not have to suffer the catastrophic displays of recent months but without all the injuries I’m convinced we would have still been challenging.

    Oh well, we move on and learn but I’m feeling excited about next season already (I know, work still to be done beforehand).

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    • Honestly at times this season we sailed through almost carefree, mainly down to the excellent football we were playing – and it felt so good. Seeing Ramsey and Ozil back in action yesterday highlighted just how good we can actually be. I definitely agree with you in that we have a squad to rival (even better) those of City Chelski AND ‘Pool. Just hope we build on it during the summer and don’t let it go to waste.

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  9. Ramsey for captain

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    • Just A Gentleman

      Definitely not now IMO. Although it would boost his confidence even higher, it’ll mean much more pressure and stop him from playing as freely as he does now (more tasks on the pitch).

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    • BFG for captain next season.

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      • Next year is definately the year....

        Ozil for captain. Just imagine the inspiration the other players can gain from his permanently tired expressions, sunken shoulders, and ferocity in the challenge.

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    • Ramsey for Pope

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  10. Thank God for a nice game. Keep the faith Gunners… Mert I believe in you… 4 Final games remaining. BODMAS from Nigeria. COYG

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  11. Bodmas =

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  12. *bodmas = brackets, powers of, division, multiplication, addition, subtraction

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  13. kels (Naija boi)

    Our defends, attacks and finishing was superb. Shows we missed the likes of Ozil and Rambo. Consistency and 4th is ours. COYG!!!

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  14. But Per is slow. So it’s his fault. Wenga out!

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  15. BFG is the best! Always there to clear and so comfortable on the ball. I love you BFG

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  16. You give yourself great credibility Jesper.
    Learn to spell!

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  17. Slow or not he always gets his long legs in, have you ever noticed? Just when you think hes going to get run rugged he pulls out a block. Per is our german tony adams

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    • I remember reading a quote from Per when he first came to Arsenal that he wanted to become our ‘next Tony Adams’. Couldn’t really see it at the time – now I know he was dead serious!

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  18. Arsenal’s best player of the season…Appears almost perfect atimes.

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  19. BFG and Ramsey both contenders for our player of the season. I think Ramsey will get the vote as he has been outstanding but the BFG for consistency and getting us through to penalties in semi final is a deserving second place and perhaps should be awarded the captains armband next season.

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  20. The fans should wait n see if wenger will sign tough players with class if not it’s a waste of money to buy tkts and watch us crumble because of injuries he doesn’t care for the fans just the shareholders

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  21. Stewart Robson's therapist

    Much as I love Per, I can’t help but laugh at the idea of him telling other people to be quicker.

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    • Still remember most people deriding Wenger for buying a player that is too slow.

      Metersecker was supposedly a ‘panic buy’.

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      • As was Arteta whom Wenger re-roled successfully, much like Henry and Toure.

        To think many feel Wenger doesn’t know how to do his job.

        He is a legend in talent development.

        If he can get the extra 10% out of Podolski, he would polish another over looked player into a piece of gem (again). he is becoming a bit of an expert at this with Metersecker recently. Ozil can also reach significantly higher heights.

        Walcott and Ramsey were hopeless to most Wenger Out Fans until recently.

        Those who deride his ability to build strong defenses should also remember he bought Sol and re-roled Toure into an effective partnership for the unbeaten run.

        Finally Flamini. People keep criticising the gaffer for only buying Ozil (curiously they keep saying he doesn’t show ambition buying cheap when he just splurged on the German) and they conveniently forget that Wenger brought Flamini in as well…for free.

        No we don’t have to spend money for quality and no other clubs are not the only ones doing this. I give you Per Metersecker.

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  22. As frustrating as Feb and March have been watching us crumble week in week out as a fan I have blown plenty of fuses but as a true fan I persevere. I will never refuse to support the team I love especially when we got a big fucking german. COYG

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  23. This is the player many said was a panic buy.

    Koscielny was derided as a half baked player Wenger bought on the cheap rather than investing in an expensive option at Cback.

    Walcott was a player most wanted sold two seasons ago. Last season Ramsey was deemed surplus to use by the Wenger Out crowd.

    Recently Arteta was not good enough because of our dip in form where he is again superb to the same crowd.

    Fickle Arsenal fans.

    Players improve and Wenger is a bit of an expert at this.

    Aside from talent spotting players. he re-roled Henry, Toure, Arteta to significant results (and unexpected to most), he has bought players that have brought plenty of value for little money which has ensured steady profit and given us the fan base to build the new stadium/grow the club’s brand.

    Whilst most de-cried Wenger for only spending 42.3m on Ozil, they conveniently over look Flamini who has been instrumental this season. Sanogo has barely played ten games and many have already given up on him (granted we do need the quality striker up front)

    Think you know better than Wenger then?

    Think again.

    4th spot finish is a very high minimum standard that teams like Liverpool (recent years), Everton, indeed United would give an arm and a leg for.

    It was only recently that most of the Wenger out crowd were crowing at Spurs ‘ambition’ to buy numbers as an example for Wenger to follow.

    Even recently I hear this same clap trap about our lack of depth and the need to buy in numbers when if you look at the squad objectively, we are stack with quality when all are fit and firing.

    The issue this season has been down to the details. Namely we lack an alternate type of striker and one with quality to provide a different approach to the Giroud one. And secondly that whilst we were fortunate not to sustain injuries in other critical areas, we were hit hard in attacking midfield (albeit where we have most depth)

    But if you look at the depth of the squad in all areas(bar up top), we have plenty.

    With Ramsey back, we have Jack (and Diaby) still competitive for the link up role in midfield next season.

    In CDM, we have currently Arteta, Flamini and Kallstrom.

    In the slot role, we have Ozil and Santi and Rosicky

    Out at RW with Walcott fit, we will have Chmaberlain as well as Gnabry.

    Out LW we have Podolski and Santi not to mention Gnabry again or Ozil.

    Where we seem light in Cback this season, wenger ensured cover with kallstrom covering Flamini should he need to deputise for Sagna if the latter needed to move to the centre.

    Bar striker, the lack of depth argument is a false one perpetuated by the media and bought hook line and sinker by certain quarters of Arsenal ‘faithful’.

    The sooner this team realises how strong it really is the better. Wenger is no fool. He has been reconstructing this team for several seasons now since he gave up his erroneous ways depending on our academy graduates.

    Where he was constantly 2 to 3 pieces of the jigsaw away, he is but 1 or 2 away now from a complete team. There will be complications this summer precisely a result from the strength of depth in the squad in that Vermaelen and Fabianski cannot get sufficient games (plus the legacy issue of Sagna)

    But we are still better position to push forward if we keep Wenger’s acumen in the market.

    Change (of Wenger) is only good if the person coming in is the right pedigree. I can’t think of many who share Wenger’s ethos and vision that can bring forward this team without too much change that would disrupt the current good work.

    Martinez is a joke when you consider he got Wigan relegated and has only had one successful season with Everton (think Laudrup), as good as they have been this season.

    We need someone in the caliber of Klinnsman, Blanc or maybe Deschamp, all with longer proven records.

    Unless available,w e are better off with Wenger for the mean time proviso we retain 4th of course and the FA cup.

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  24. The other thing that gets me is this constant harping on about our shortcomings with regards height in the side.

    This is again a myth.

    Metersecker, Giroud, Sanogo, Diaby, jenkinson and Kallstrom are all 6’1 or way over. (+ we have bentnder in Denmark)

    Vermaelen, Koscielny, Gibbs, Ozil, Popdolski are all 6′+. Seen us lose out aerially at the back in recent season?

    Arteta, Flamini, Monreal, Ramsey are 5’10+ which is average height.

    Rosicky is 5’9

    Then we have some shorties in Gnabry, Chambo, Walcott who are wingers (except Jack)

    And of course Santi brings down the height average but for the fact of course we have the BFG.

    In short, we have height.

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