Per Mertesacker has stated the obvious by telling Arsenal they need to get better defensively but at least he didn’t sugar-coat things.

Speaking ahead of the game against Bayern Munich on Wednesday night in the last 16 of the Champions League, Arsenal fans know exactly what he’s on about.

Most fans would also use the word ‘desperately’ when speaking about Arsenal’s defence, but perhaps in a different way than the club captain meant it.

“I think defensive discipline is something we have to put back in our minds because it’s something we need desperately,” Mertesacker said.

“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.

“The encouraging thing is that we’ve shown that resolute defence at times this season. We have the potential so let’s utilise it.

“You can’t do what we did against Watford, where we gifted them two goals, or what we did against Chelsea, where we lacked that bit of intensity at times.

“But I’ve had a good feeling in training and I’ve sensed how this squad demands the best from one another. Saturday’s game was crucial for us and the Champions League is massive for us, too, because we want to prove that we can perform on an international level, when the floodlights are on.

“The Bayern Munich tie gives us a real chance to do that again. That’s what we want to do, that’s why we play in the Champions League.”

This will be the 11th time Arsenal have played Bayern Munich in the Champions League and their 200th game overall. You can see a breakdown of the first 199 games here, including details of the opponents we’ve played the most (guess who?!)

SOURCEEvening Standard P. 59
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