Per Mertesacker reveals that Arsenal being embarrassed by the big sides last season made them bring back the ‘arguing culture’.
In recent seasons, the Gunners have been outplayed and outclasses when it comes to big matches against the big teams. Just last season we saw 5-1, 6-3 and 6-0 defeats to the likes of Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea.
However, despite describing the losses as ‘embarrassing’ for the North London team, the big German centreback also suggests that these helped them in the long run by reintroducing what he describes as an ‘arguing culture’.
“You need that arguing culture. We lost that at times.” he says, “It gets personal, and someone gets upset too quickly, but you have to face the truth and have a proper argument. That was normal 10 years ago and it has slightly changed.”
He goes on to say, “’We lost that a bit, what is the intention of argument. It’s really important, not only in general, but in a footballer’s life. It has to get louder sometimes. We need to discuss, to find solutions, to get everyone in one direction.”
Despite the negative connotations that the word ‘argue’ carries, holding players accountable for poor performances, especially ones which form a pattern like Arsenal’s did, has obviously helped Arsenal overcome their Achilles heel when it comes to playing the ‘big teams’.
As Mertesacker says, “It’s always a big discussion. I mean, we are responsible for our performances. No one wants to have such a miserable day again.”