Arsenal’s captain, Per Mertesacker, has told the official matchday programme, that he wasn’t happy with how his Arsenal side fought in their last two Premier League matches.
The BFG has been sidelined all season and has had to advise from the touchlines, but he was less than impressed with what he saw from his side in the last two matches at Everton and Manchester City.
“What was especially frustrating about our last two games was that we started them both well, scoring early and putting ourselves in great situations,” Per said.
“But then our opposition stepped up, they were one goal down and struggling for results before our game.
“We didn’t kill those matches in a way we would normally do. When other teams are struggling and we are in front, we need to do even more. There is no way you can step down or be timid after you score. You need to do even more because 1-0 is always a difficult scoreline.
“The momentum can change quickly and on those two occasions, we didn’t take the momentum for ourselves and that was poor, especially the second halves. They easily stepped up, put more intensity in the game and we struggled to match that. 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 lot 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. That’s the topic for us to step it up, especially over this Christmas period where everyone is watching the Premier League, everyone is eager to get results.
“We need to jump on the train, and the train is leaving early and is going at high speed. If you don’t realise that, if you don’t learn from those games, it’s uncomfortable.
“We want to learn quickly. That’s what we have always shown and we have the right manager, who points things out in a needed way.
“Now it’s down to the team that we are good enough to be competitive in the league. That means achieving something special and always being at the top.
“I wasn’t happy with the way we fought, especially in the second halves.
“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.”
Mertesacker is back in training but it is unlikely that he will feature for the first team this side of 2017. On December 8, Wenger said that the defender was still a few weeks away from a return despite ‘recovering well’.