Per Mertesacker has revealed that Arsenal training has been ‘very aggressive’ this week as the side work hard on the issues raised in the last few games.
Speaking in his Captain’s notes in this week’s match day programme, the BFG also called on the fans to get behind the team. Pleading his case for the squad, he spoke about how hard they have been working to put things right, identified the problems that the side have had recently, and tried to explain how they can fix them.
“Today is a big test for us – we have to react in the right way and remind ourselves of how strong we were before the two games we’ve lost,” Mertesacker wrote.
“It’s very important to start well when you’re at home.
“We need the fans behind us, we need to put in such levels of intensity that the teams we play can’t cope with it. We didn’t do that against Watford and we were really punished for it.
“What we must do is find a solution today – we want opponents to respect us, to know that we are going to come at them in a really steely, focused way. I want us to get that intensity back.
“We’ve got a strong unit, we’ve built on that this season and we can’t let it slip away now.
“It goes without saying that the last week has been very difficult for us in terms of how the games went, how the team performed and the end results.
“What I mean by that is that our approach to every game is always that we want to win, we want to prepare well and we want to bring our game with intensity and quick passing. We want to dominate games and you couldn’t see a lot from that in the last week.
“That’s really bothered us, so there is clearly something that needs to be done, that needs to be changed. Everything started with training sessions, with analysing the situation and past performances.
“Training has been good and very aggressive this week.
“There are some points to prove. I can feel that in training sessions and I think everyone wants to bounce back from a week where we disappointed a lot of people – and ourselves.
“What’s important now is to come back strongly, which we’ve done at times this season already.
“We want to get back to what has made us strong – and certainly compactness and defensive discipline have always led to good performances.
“I think when we were compact, when we were disciplined, when we made the right decisions defensively, it always led to us doing things the right way at the other end of the pitch.
“And that’s what we have to come back to as it’s what we’ve lacked in the last two games.
“I think defensive discipline is something we have to put back in our minds because it’s something we need desperately. If you want to be at the top, you need discipline.
“We need to focus on that kind of game where we feel good defensively first, and then from there spread out and find our offensive power.”
It’s not clear yet when the BFG will be able to return to the Arsenal match day squad. He has been in full training for a few weeks now and should be included sooner rather than later.