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Mertesacker hails Arsenal improvement

ESPN staff
March 18, 2013 « AVB: Spurs can bounce back | Chartbeat test »

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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