Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker has criticised the team’s performance against Anderlecht, insisting that they need to raise their game.
The Gunners looked to be cruising towards the last 16 after Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain scored the 3rd goal around the hour mark. However, any hopes of perhaps overhauling Group D leaders Borussia Dortmund were extinguished as Arsenal hit the self-destruct button in allowing the Belgians to recover.
The German international has blamed the club’s attacking players for not helping out the defence in their draw with Anderlecht.
According to Evening Standard, he said:
When we drop sometimes everyone has to be involved to defend. You can’t afford for just five or six players to defend, or just the back four.
That is what we lacked especially in the final third and in the last 20 minutes. We have to defend better as a team. We did not stop them [Anderlecht] playing and they are good at it.
As you could see, even in the final third, when you do not put them under pressure, they can deliver good balls through the middle. They can cause trouble and we just left them playing. So in general that was the problem.
Last night is a small setback for us but it is a good warning and we will bounce back quickly. We are really good at that, we have shown that a couple of times.
We still have a comfortable situation in terms of going through. We want to secure second place and we still have a big advantage after four games.
It’s just impossible to imagine how the Gunners managed to throw away a 3-0 goal lead in just 30 minutes. The players have to take responsibility and if every individual make themselves accountable, Arsenal would be a far more solid team. If this defense can’t put away Anderlecht at home with a three goal cushion, how are we going to put away bigger teams. We need to make some good defensive additions in January to challenge for the top-4 if not for the League title.
What do you say Gooners? Share your thoughts in the comments below.