Search

Skipper praises 10-man Arsenal for spirited comeback against Spurs

22:30 06 March 2016

Arsenal's Gabriel Paulista and Per Mertesacker embrace after the final whistle at White Hart Lane

Arsenal's Gabriel Paulista and Per Mertesacker embrace after the final whistle at White Hart Lane

EMPICS Sport

Captain Per Mertesacker insists Arsenal should take heart from their fightback in Saturday’s north London derby – although they now trail leaders Leicester by eight points.

The Gunners seemed doomed to their third successive Premier League defeat after they had Francis Coquelin sent off at White Hart Lane and Tottenham then turned a deficit into a 2-1 lead.

However, Arsenal’s 10 men battled hard to secure a point courtesy of an Alexis Sanchez equaliser – paving the way for Leicester to extend their lead at the top by winning at Watford later that day.

Referring to recent criticism of the team’s performances, Mertesacker observed: “For a team with low confidence and no belief we played pretty well!

“I think we have shown great character and hopefully that gives us a lot of confidence and a lot of belief. With 11 men, we played really well and I think we defended well.

“It was a high tempo – the first 15 minutes were absolutely amazing. I have never played in such a demanding game physically.

“Mentally, it’s always tough and you could feel the pressure but the team responded well. It is about how you turn up, and I think we turned up very aggressively.

“Especially in midfield, we were always on the ball, always aggressive and we wanted to attack the man with the ball so hopefully it gives us something.

“As long as we play like that, I’m confident – I have great belief in our group and nothing else.”

Arsenal will be back in familiar surroundings at Emirates Stadium this weekend and Mertesacker knows they must make amends for their last home game, a 2-1 defeat to Swansea.

On that occasion, the Gunners team left the field to a chorus of jeers, but Mertesacker has urged supporters to reproduce the kind of backing that was clearly audible from the away section at Tottenham.

“The expectation was there [against Swansea] and when we didn’t perform, there was a bit of nervousness in the crowd,” added the German defender. “But I can understand that.

“As long as we support each other and back each other, it will take us to another level. That is my opinion and I think our fans did really well [at White Hart Lane].

“We are looking forward to the next home game and trying to give our fans a better performance. I think you embrace playing at home, in front of your fans, even more – it gives you more energy than playing away from home.

“I think we come back to embracing the challenge at the Emirates next time because when we play like that, everyone will enjoy it.”

Latest Islington Sports News

Yesterday, 13:03

With the Gunners’ previous league win against Chelsea coming nearly five years earlier, the omens did not look good ahead of Saturday’s London derby.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Middlesex hat-trick hero Toby Roland-Jones says the squad were always confident in their ability to become county champions this year.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Middlesex dethroned Yorkshire in a thrilling finish at Lord’s to win their first County Championship title since 1993.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Islington middleweight John Ryder believes a strong performance against Jack Arnfield this weekend could yet earn him a third shot at the British title.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Following their encouraging 4-1 victory at Hull, which prompted Betway to lengthen Arsenal’s price to win the league title to 14/1, the Gunners and Chelsea go head to head on Saturday evening in what promises to be another fast and furious contest.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Tim Bresnan’s unbeaten century kept Yorkshire on course for a hat-trick of County Championship titles – and all but ended Middlesex’s hopes of snatching their crown.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

As the dual meaning of the club’s name would suggest, Soccerscool FC is based around twin objectives – developing football skills and having fun.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Islington BC’s Borys Feldman maintained his useful habit of edging close contests to seal a place in the London Development Championship semi-finals.

Newsletter Sign Up

Most read sport

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Competitions

If you’re obsessed with Apple or just love a good gadget, this is a prize that will blow you away! An incredible £3,333 to spend on Apple goodies! How would you like to be the proud new owner of the Apple Watch?

As we grow older it becomes more and more important to have means to travel about safely and quickly. Our friendship groups and families grow and the need to have a car that is not only safe but also fast and big enough for all our needs is ever more important. There are many cars on the market for such needs but none deals with them as efficiently or as neatly as a VW Golf Estate. These cars are build strong, long lasting and spacious for a reason. They cater to the needs of many and are some of the most popular cars currently on the market.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Islington Gazette
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now