Ahead of our game against Reading at the weekend, Per Mertesacker has spoken about his love of the FA Cup and how Arsenal need to respect their opponents.

The German centreback has been speaking to Arsenal Player about how he believes the FA Cup is the best competition he’s ever played in.

“It is the best competition I have ever played in because so many big teams struggle.”

He went on to echo Arsene Wenger’s sentiment that we shouldn’t underestimate our Championship opposition.

“It is going to be their biggest game of the season, he later adds, “[We need] to show them respect.”

Ultimately, the captain believes the Gunners can draw on their success in the FA Cup from last season and use that to get a victory at Wembley this weekend.

“I want to repeat the success. That is my real target so let’s make sure that we are on the same level and do more than our opponent.”

The BFG also wanted to reinforce the idea that the team needs to enter the game with the right mentality. He reflected on last season’s semi-final against Wigan and described how the ‘mental side‘ of the match was what made it ‘really tough‘.

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He also added how sometimes being just the better footballing team doesn’t necessarily mean you win the match and you have to bring other qualities to the table.

“On the football side we’re good enough but sometimes you need to put in some different qualities nobody expects from you. We had some different games when you think of Manchester City away – nobody expected us to play like that, focusing on our own defence and then getting them on the break. That was something new for us as a team.”

It’s reassuring to hear our captain is keeping a level head and hopefully this has extended to the whole team.