Few would argue that we were truly abysmal against West Ham in the season’s opener, and the Arsenal players are clearly aware of that. Per Mertesacker claims crunch talks were held following the game (via The Independent), which inspired a far more impressive performance against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.
The giant German has been operating as our captain for quite some time, with Mikel Arteta in and out of the team due to injury. He has hailed the impact the “important” talks post-West Ham have had, and highlighted the team’s ability to bounce back.
“Obviously when everything goes very smooth in pre-season, you avoid those talks which are sometimes very important,” Mertesacker said.
“That [the need for those talks] was the case last week when we came out of the [West Ham] match where no-one knew exactly what we did, so we just had to come back to our game.
“You could already feel something when you are in the relegation zone, and not having [produced] in that [West Ham] game what everyone expected from you, so it was important to bounce back.”
The tree like defender went on to praise the qualities we showed against Crystal Palace, and backed us to kick start our season following our success against Alan Pardew’s side.
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“Against Palace, it was good possession, to play the ball through the midfield and penetrate them,” he continued.
“Later [in the game] we made it difficult for ourselves, but overall it was a very encouraging performance from top to bottom.
“We were dominant and that was the key to our success.
“We were good on the break, good in the combinations, there is a lot more to come from us, that is what we need, that is our game and we need to count on that.”
There is no denying that we have the quality to beat any team in the league on our day, but we need to show consistency if we are to mount any kind of challenge. We showed during the second half of last season that we are more than capable of consistency, so there’s no reason we can’t do it again.
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Mertesacker is a leader at the club, and it’s his job to inspire the consistency that could prove so important. Is he capable of doing so?