Per Mertesacker spoke after the Crystal Palace game about Arsenal’s shortcomings last match against West Ham and how we improved this time around.
As vice-captain, the BFG probably feels the pressure more than most of the players on the pitch. In addition, he hasn’t had the best of starts and seems a little rusty around the edges after the break. At times against Palace, he seemed to be getting in the way and, as tall as he is, this is something of a rarity for the German.
The centre-back revealed after the 2-1 win over the Eagles that after the West Ham loss, we had to address some issues – something that we’d been shying away from after a good pre-season, which saw us beat Chelsea in the Community Shield 1-0.
“Obviously when everything goes very smooth in pre-season, you avoid those talks which are sometimes very important,” the defender said. “That (the need for those talks) was the case last week when we came out of the (West Ham) match where no-one knew exactly what we did, so we just had to come back to our game.”
He continued, “You could already feel something when you are in the relegation zone (in the table), and not having (produced) in that (West Ham) game what everyone expected from you, so it was important to bounce back.”
He went on to explain how we changed against Palace and played the Arsenal way, but made it clear that, despite the win, it was still far from a perfect Arsenal performance.
“Against Palace, it was good possession, to play the ball through the midfield and penetrate them,” he said. “Later (in the game) we made it difficult for ourselves, but overall it was a very encouraging performance from top to bottom.
“We were dominant and that was the key to our success.
We got the three points, at the moment that’s the important thing. Now we have something to build on and should have our confidence back in no time.