It was touch and go for 94 minutes before Danny Welbeck finally popped up with the winner for Arsenal against Leicester, but our acting captain Per Mertesacker just kept telling the team to keep believing and the winner will come.
You can’t say that the Gunners stopped trying to score and would have been happy with a point, and the Big German revealed what he told his team. “I said to the lads to keep believing, keep going and we need to put pressure on them, but that is a breathtaking finish from Danny Welbeck. You see every player can make a difference in this squad and we are happy to have him back. You could see his impact.”
And as for Vardy’s penalty, BFG refused to complain too much and said the secret is just to get on with the game:”We have to take it. They were maybe a bit lucky with the penalty but if there is contact then it is a penalty. On the second occasion when they got a player sent off, we might have been a bit lucky. That is the game. We tried to stick to our game and not be influenced by the referee’s decision. That is what we tried to do the whole game and I think it makes a difference in the end. If you think too much about situations then you will lose yourself and we kept going and that is why we won today.
“We played well, especially in the first half defensively. How everyone dropped back and recovered well when we lost the ball was outstanding. We created a lot of chances and we were a bit unlucky with our finishing, we could have got the winner earlier but we will take it. The energy creates such a finish and you could see the fans were absolutely delighted.”
Wenger had the luxury of bringing on both Theo Walcott and Danny Welbeck to improve our striking options, and for once the fans can not complain about his decisions as both of them went on to score our needed two goals. Per said that the team does not get influenced by the criticism of Wenger or his decisions. “We haven’t spoken about that. We are not looking too much at the rumours and the press so we tried to concentrate and we are in a good situation. That is why we concentrate on ourselves and not about rumours. You said about criticism about the manager, so we don’t look at that. Every player counts and every player contributes and you could see that today.”
Mertesacker also agreed that it was important to get over our bad run after the New Year, and now they just need to concentrate on dealing with each game as it comes. “There was a drought in January with the results but we came back strongly against Bournemouth. We need it, if you want to challenge for anything in this league you need to win. We proved it on the pitch today and when we look at training sessions everyone is focused on what is coming up.”
And what is coming up is three important games for our season. There are not many teams that can say they are still in the three competitions at this stage of the season. For example Leicester are only involved in one, and Ranieri has the luxury of giving his players a mid-season break, but the Gunners have the FA Cup match against Hull, the massive match with Barcelona and back to the League again at Old Trafford. Would you rather be playing in those three or having a two-week holiday?
I know what I want. Arsenal to win all three and keep the dream alive. We just need to keep believing!