• Premier League

Mertesacker hails Arsenal improvement

ESPN staff
March 18, 2013

Per Mertesacker admits Arsenal's defensive showing has improved thanks to footage of the Gunners' frailties at the back in last week's 2-1 loss to Tottenham.

Arsenal followed the North London derby defeat with consecutive cleansheets against Bayern Munich and Swansea, with Saturday's win in Wales helping to boost their hopes of a top-four finish in the Premier League.

Mertesacker believes watching a replay of their disorganisation against Spurs allowed Arsenal's defence to make significant improvements to their structure.

"There was a lot of room for improvement and we saw a lot of things on television," Mertesacker said. "Sometimes we didn't choose the right direction and we just lacked a bit of defensive work as a unit. We prepared ourselves for Munich and for Swansea and it was much, much better.

"We saw ourselves as a unit on the television and I think it was a good thing to do because sometimes you have a different view on the pitch and you feel different.

"Sometimes you can't believe what you did as a defensive unit. Everybody was involved and everyone felt we needed to improve and speak.

"As a unit we have to cover each other. That was the most important thing we learned. There were a lot of situations where there was no pressure on the ball against Tottenham and the back four was not prepared for any balls between us."

The victory over Swansea provided a number of sub-plots for the Gunners, with Nacho Monreal scoring his first goal for the club, Lukasz Fabianski retaining his place in the starting line-up and Gervinho breaking his Premier League goalscoring drought.

"I know that Gervinho was under a lot of negative pressure because he missed chances," manager Arsene Wenger said. "I'm sure he will be a big force for us until the end of the season.

"He gives us something different. He can dribble, he can provoke. He is sensitive - he needs the support."

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