I bet that the Arsenal vice captain Per Mertesacker was not looking forward to facing the media after that terrible performance and result by him and his team mates yesterday. But that is the captain´s job I suppose and the World Cup winning defender, to be fair to him, did not shirk any of the questions put to him.
In the interview reported on the Arsenal website, Mertesacker admitted that the 2-0 defeat was a massive blow to the team, especially after all the confidence built up at the end of the last campaign and in pre-season. He was at a bit of a loss to explain just why things went so wrong, but accepted that they did in almost every part of our game.
Per said, “Sometimes it’s hard to explain. We played a great pre-season but that is absolutely nothing. I’ve said that before already, especially after the Community Shield game. That’s reality now. It’s a massive loss for us because we had great confidence and now it’s time for us to settle down, stay healthy and look forward to next Sunday.
“Our first half was not too bad but we lacked a bit of control. We lost a lot of balls, we weren’t patient enough at times, our possession was not that great and they scored at the right times. They didn’t have a lot of chances but they scored at the right times and punished us from a set-piece and in the second half when we lost the ball. They didn’t create too many chances but overall we weren’t decisive enough, especially in the final third. It looked like the last ball was always the wrong decision.”
So even in the first half when we looked quite comfortable, the centre back accepts that the pace was not good and that we were not playing the way we usually do. And as well as saying that the timing of West Ham´s goals made it especially difficult, he is gutted about the manner of them and knows that our defending was poor and ultimately cost us the points.
He went on, “Yes, as I explained, they score at the right times – shortly before half-time from a set-piece. That was very disappointing. We worked a lot on that, not to concede. But I think they deserved it in the end, because especially in the second half, they just defended very deep and we didn’t find any solutions. Sometimes it’s good to come back from a massive loss. I think we are capable of coming back.
“That’s our job now. That was the first game of the season. [It’s] a bad start but sometimes you need a bad start to come back and realise that you have to give more than just what we did.
“The first half was ok, not decisive enough, especially not in the final third. We can only blame ourselves for today’s game. Hopefully we can come back from that disappointment. The confidence was high, everyone felt great but we had a couple of misunderstandings, especially in the first half. We lost the ball a lot, we were not patient enough at times, so there is a lot to work on. We have to work more.
“It’s very important [to bounce back]. We want to have a better start than last season so we need to be very cautious of the situation. To start with a game like that is not good but to bounce back is even more important now.”
Surely the Gunners will not have another start like last year will we?