Per Mertesacker has called on Arsenal to show fight and to ‘go for it’ against Bayern Munich even though they are 5-1 down on aggregate following a torrid first-leg in Germany.
After a wretched run of four defeats in six games that has left the Gunners’ Champions League and Premier League hopes in tatters, the Arsenal captain was openly critical of his side’s lack of fight in recent weeks and called on his teammates to make the fans proud again.
“I think we saw on a lot of occasions that we were absolutely not ready for a fight, and that’s what I want to see tomorrow: that we are up for a fight, to challenge something,” the BFG told press Monday.
“We need to turn it around. That is really the focus, to come back to our strength.
“I think it’s up to us to show a different face. That is really something we are going to demand because we literally blew it away in the second half [at Allianz Arena]. So it’s really down to us now to make the first step to make our fans proud of ourselves again. That is really something that we need the emphasis on.
“I expect a lot from our players performance-wise, that is what we demand. We wanted to be in the Champions League, we are still in there so let’s go for it.
“We played hard last season to get there and now this is our chance to get everyone back [onside]. But it is down to focusing on the next opposition.”
As we all know, Arsenal haven’t made it past the round of 16 since 2009/10 and the chances of us changing that this year are apparently ranked at 1.2%; that’s according to a UEFA study that looked at every single identical scoreline from every competition in European history ahead of second legs.
Only three clubs have managed to recover a four-goal first-leg deficit in UEFA competition.
Borussia Moenchengladbach beat Real Madrid CF 5-1 at home in the 1985/86 UEFA Cup third round, only to lose the return 4-0. Leixoes SC (against FC La Chaux-de-Fonds, 1961/62 European Cup Winners’ Cup first round) and FK Partizan (Queens Park Rangers FC, 1984/85 UEFA Cup second round) overturned 6-2 away losses with 5-0 and 4-0 home victories respectively.
Deportivo La Coruna hold the record for the biggest first-leg deficit overturned in the UEFA Champions League era, recovering from a 4-1 away loss to AC Milan with a 4-0 home win in the 2003/04 quarter-finals.