Arsenal vice captain Per Mertesacker has called on his teammates to get their league campaign back on track and has hailed the Dortmund win as a very convincing one. Arsenal registered a 2-0 victory over Dortmund and progressed to the round of 16 for the 23653th time.
Mertesacker was one of the standout performers in an impressive defensive performance by the Gunners. He and Monreal have now forged a relationship that can hold the fort for Arsenal at least in the short term.
The German also cited Dortmund as an example of how things can go wrong domestically despite their impressive European form.
Mertesacker told arsenal.com
We were very convincing [against Dortmund ]We have to show character and that is what makes me really happy for the next few games, because we have to sharpen up in the Premier League as well.Saturday is a good chance to show everyone that we are still alive. We have secured Champions League [last-16] football and that gives us a life, but that has nothing to do with the Premier League. Dortmund are a good example of that, because they are already through but they have suffered a lot in the [German] league. We have to come back in the Premier League and that is the next target.
Mertesacker was also appreciative of his team’s efforts especially given what transpired in the past few weeks.
We were very solid from the start. We scored an early goal, which is quite new for us. Our performance did not drop in the second half and that was the key. We really stuck together and tried to find solutions. When we scored the second, we dropped a bit, but we were defensively very solid. Everyone was up for it and that was the difference to all the other games when we suffered and conceded late goals.
As Per says Arsenal were indeed solid and Dortmund hardly threatened our goal. We controlled the game for most of the periods and once we got the second goal our play was measured, controlled and it was reminiscent of the Napoli performance last season. That said I won’t be surprised one bit if West Bromwich Albion take an early lead against us and we huff and puff for the remaining 90 only for the players to call for focus once again.