It took plenty of commitment and tenacity to see out Aston Villa on Monday night, as Arsenal were worked hard to see win the 3 points that sent them back up to the top of the Premier League table.
Arsenal’s commanding centre back Per Mertesacker was at the forefront of the strong defensive display, and believes they coped well the intense pressure that was on their shoulders.
“Nobody dropped any points so there was a bit of pressure. The team could feel that but we responded. I think everyone was expecting that we would drop points but we kept going.” The 29-year-old centre back said on Arsenal’s official website.
“In the first half we did extremely well and put a lot of pressure on them. We took the lead by two goals and that was decisive.
“It was very important to respond and for the other teams to see that Arsenal is alive and that we can respond to anything. We just look at ourselves and think we are good enough to respond to any challenge they give us.
“It is really tight at the top. At the moment, there is no chance to drop any points. We have to show the other teams that when we feel the pressure we can respond. That is vital so I’m really happy with the fighting performance in the second half and how resilient we were.
“[on making his 100th appearance for Arsenal] We’re in a fine way and want to keep going. It is not too important that a single player got his century. To play last is always difficult, but we kept Villa quiet, especially in the first half. In the second half we had a few difficult moments but overall I would say it was a good performance.”
Mertesacker has been nothing short of immense during 2013. It took time for him to settle in England, however has become an integral member of the Gunners squad and consequently a vital leader among the player hierarchy.
The German international, alongside Laurent Koscielny, were able to hold the fort against Villa and were the backbone for the win on Monday night.
This defensive solidity will certainly bode well for Arsenal’s chances of winning the league this season, so COYG!