Mertesacker unhappy with recent lack of fight

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Per Mertesacker says he’s unhappy with Arsenal’s lack of fight in the away defeats at Everton and Manchester City and called on his teammates to work harder to prove to the fans they have what it takes to challenge for the title.

Knee ligament damage may have kept the former Germany international sidelined since August, but as club captain, he remains a vocal figure in the dressing room and used his latest interview with the matchday programme to rally the troops.

“I wasn’t happy with the way we fought, especially in the second halves [at Goodison Park and the Etihad]. There’s something we need to prove to our fans here and show them that we want to reach something, that we want to achieve something.

“First of all, we need to compete. The fans have always been great, especially away from home, but we cannot drop such performances in a row. We feel absolutely uncomfortable with it.

“It’s down to the players to show that we can put in the intensity, can get everyone involved. The fans will follow us and support us, as they always have been.”

He added: “It’s really down to us to show that we are good enough and can put the intensity in. We’ve spoken about that a number of times – when we put in the drive, when we match teams physically, we are almost unstoppable.

“But if you don’t do that, if you lack another five or 10 per cent, you won’t win any Premier League games.”

You can’t really argue with any of that. Thankfully, the captain’s words seemed to be heeded at the weekend as we ground out a hard-fought 1-0 win over West Bromwich Albion.

There remains a lot of ground to make up on leaders Chelsea with Petr Cech predicting Arsenal need to hit at least 87 points to be in with a chance of winning the title.

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Pedant
Pedant

Good message, backed up by Gabriel late reaction v West Brom. Keep it going please.

Shonky
Shonky

Here’s an idea….
Learn from the last 12 years of repeated mistakes with regard to attitude and application.
Just a thought.

Papyrus
Papyrus

I think BFG’s words had a hint of that already. He’s attacking a well-known attitude that has plagued our teams for years. But more refreshingly, one gets the idea that the team is changing. The talk from the media department signals an attitude in which ambition is the bed-rock. It is a good thing as it also creates the challenge and the desire to prove one’s ambitions. Anyways, that is the mark of champions and I, for one, encourage this attitude.

John C
John C

You’re easily pleased, a laboured 1-0 home victory and press release from the Arsenal PR department and all is well again

Gary
Gary

Quite laughable how anyone can dislike this comment…..

I appreciate any team can lose at any given time and against any given team, however for the past decade it feels like the players state the same isssues over and over, such as:

‘We need to match oppositions intensity’
‘We need to be focused from the start’
‘We need to maintain concentration’
‘We need to defend as a team’

The games against Everton and City, were lacklustre to say the least. The amount of games we seem unmotivated for over ecent years is worrying.

musajja
musajja

Miss u BFG

Alex
Alex

Yeah, always easier when you’re not on the pitch… We’ve already lacked fight with you on the pitch, Per.

Scott P
Scott P

So you’d rather him just sit on his hands and not point out the team’s flaws? Nowhere did he say we’d have all of our problems solved if only he were still on the pitch.

janine
janine

so u think we are missing per as a defender

Why not
Why not

For some games. He is the best option alongside kocielny.

Ben
Ben

It’s amazing how Arsenal fans can have a go at a player for saying something that they agree with!?!

Timsh
Timsh

Only thing that’s irritating me is that we didn’t already feel that way after Everton…
Fool me once, shame on you.
Fool me twice, shame on you,etc.

Frustrating really.
Hope we can go on a run and for City and Pool to draw.

Timsh
Timsh

Fool me twice shame on me. Obviously ?

Mootilated
Mootilated

Fool me 10 seasons in a row.. Shame on who?

Buzzy Gurkha
Buzzy Gurkha

About 3 weeks stale/late !!

richardanus
richardanus

Calling Kos a bit of a wimp eh ?

He’d be right.

Anonymarse
Anonymarse

Nobody should have to tell them to fight. Nobody has to tell Alexis to fight.

Man up.

greg
greg

Why does this continue to happen and at such important times? For a team apparently to be so strong mentally why do they continue to shoot themselves in the foot? Away to Everton okay it happened. You would as a player be fucking sure it wasn’t going to happen at city.

Which when it does, why? The players change but the same things happen. Are they not prepared enough? Are we do inflexible in our tactics that we can’t change things? Can the players not change things on the pitch themselves when they see its not working if the manager isn’t prepared to?

Benkamp
Benkamp

Why? Because arsenals tactics are rather specific for what is seemingly a fluid team. Always looking to play out and build in the same patterns. The players instinctively look to move the ball through the same patterns, when they are blocked it takes them a fraction longer than it might take others to find a new route because they expect to continue the pattern but cant. When the high press is being utilised by an opposition this leads to lots of pattern blocks and a reduced period of time to find a new route. With the increased route find time some players suffer as a result of the tactics it ends up with us getting dispossessed. Perhaps. I hadnt given it much thought. But it seems logical to me.

John C
John C

Teams are a reflection of their manager, so it won’t change until we get a new manager

Dan Hunter
Dan Hunter

What is the perennial theme in all these situations? The players are different but the one constant is Arsene Wenger. This is his mentality manifested on the pitch

Tom
Tom

Sant Carzor wouldn’t go down without a fight

shambala
shambala

Sanchez is industrious & truly fighter . If team could copy him then team would not loose winnable games against Man City , Everton etc.

Sam
Sam

How do you train players in fight and the will to do anything not to lose , it’s a natural trait that Alexis has in abundance but it cannot be taught or trained you either want it or you don’t

Kwame Ampadu Down
Kwame Ampadu Down

Certainly looks like Klopp has been able to train Liverpool’s players how to fight…

Dan Hunter
Dan Hunter

How do you train professional footballers who are supposed to be ambitious to fight hard? Maybe a bit more ruthlessness from the manager would work? When was he able to drop the likes of Özil or Ramsey when they were not playing with the intensity required to win? How did Kloop or Conte motivate their respective sides? I personally think Wenger is not willing to do what is necessary. He’s not willing to cut the leporous limb for the good of the body, while the winners are able to. Look at fergie, what he did with the likes of Beckham, Stam and Van Horseface

B52
B52

They have to want it for themselves first and foremost, otherwise, forget it. And those second half performances at Everton and city make me question our resolve.

janine
janine

Why is per talking rubbish no one was happy bout the everon game or city game , would him being on the pitch made a difference ur too slow mate and u aint the one that has to pay all the money to see the games, may be the fans should get their money back

catbiscuits
catbiscuits

He is entirely correct, which is damning. I’m bored of the squad consistently failing to perform in big matches. The fact that they the captain needs to encourage / plead with the players to put in 100% physical effort is shameful. And frankly, it all falls on one guy (as much as I love him).

santori
santori

I think Wenger is “allergic” to being the bad bloke.

So Per is doing it for him.

janine
janine

Will wenger play giroud from the start on sunday or will he come on as super sub and score again in last min

santori
santori

It all depends on the team we face.

If they sit deep and intend on defending, we would be better off starting Giroud.

If its a team that prefers open play, Alexis will profit better from the extra real estate.

There is no Plan “B”. There are different tool heads for the job depending on the problem on hand.

shambala
shambala

Mertesacker as Captain is absolutely right & it doesn’t matter even if he isn’t playing now.He is a player with loads of experience.Players are trained to fight as was the case at Man U under Sir Alex.Klopp & Conte have changed the mentality of their teams&you can see how they fight for the ball& seem to have that never die attitude. Unfortunately, it’s missing at Arsenal now.

Tee
Tee

@john C, truer words have never been spoken

Tee
Tee

All these years of frustration, because of two important ingredients, temperament and fight…and the only common denominator, Arsene Wenger

santori
santori

I don’t think Wenger lacks fight. He won’t be in it for so long otherwise. Other gaffers would have jumped ship early when their stock was at the highest and went for greener pastures.

Wenger stayed to build the pastures and grow his teams organically.

But he is a manager that tends to have more of a hands off approach when it comes to in game management. He allows room for player interpretation (much like Jazz)

When it works, it is sublime. But when it breaks down, he doesn’t intervene timely enough to make up the difference.

Particularly with the current competition in the PL with the better technical quality across ALL squads and influx of foreign managers with high tactical acumen, Wenger will show his flaws more.

The one saving grace is he is an excellent buyer and developer of players. This if anything has kept us in the hunt all these years even during more fallow budgetry seasons with the stadium build.

Wenger has built an excellent well balance squad after painstaking years managing huigh profile exits since 2010.

Whether he can profit from the squad he has assembled to the most efficient and maximum of its potential is another thing.

I think the difference between Fergie and Wenger was ‘motivation’. Wenger adopts more of a carrot approach where as Fergie was more old schoo carrot but more stick than carrot.

Wenger ‘s paternalistic ap[proach mirrors his identity as a coach that develops and also builds.

Fergie builds too (the kids) but he is equally ruthless if you fall short of mark. Wenger will probably allow for a bit more time.

Now with recent seasons and the entry of big money clubs like City and CHelsea, the edge we had in Wenger’s knowledge of foreign players has diinished. Equitability of TV money has also created a push factor from the bottom end constricting the market.

Wenger has still bought well but the discrepency of quality between clubs is much slimer which means tactics become the slim margins that need attending.

This isn’t to say Wenger is a bit of a mug at tactics far from it. BUt he can tend to be hesitant in changing things a round to influence a match early prefering to wait out how the team on the pitch may react. Sometimes, this works against us.

I don’t think Wenger puts out any signal to curb fight in the team. BUt sometimes, even ‘adults’ need a bit of push and hthis is perhaps where Wenger is reluctant to go.

That said, we should not give up hope so easily.

It will be tantamount to the team saying it was all over when we were 3 goals down in the FA cup finals.

Its what it is. We need to just press on and the senior members of the team (Per) have to speak out and wield the whip a little.;)

Andrés
Andrés

In southamerica we call “marking the step” when you do just the strictly necessary to participate in something, but not the plus ultra to make the difference and achieve great things.
In other words, play, manage and investe just to get the 4th place.

Wenger is the constant
Wenger is the constant

Obviously if the management stays the same the results stay the same.