Arsenal may be on a fantastic League run of 16 wins in 18 games, but according to Per Mertesacker this sequence will mean nothing when the Gunners line up at Wembley tomorrow, and the pressure of playing at Wembley will just as tough against Reading as it was against Wigan last season.
“It’s good to have a run,” Mertesacker said on FourFourTwo. “Obviously we had some setbacks at the start of January and February, but after that we managed our situation well by just winning and focusing on ourselves.
“Not worrying about who was ahead of us, or if we were going to be a (Premier League) title contender, we just wanted to be consistent.
“But, Saturday against Reading is another competition. That run means nothing.
“We are at a good level of confidence, but there will be pressure situations for us because we are super favourites, and can we handle that during the game?
“We suffered a bit last season on that occasion with that pressure, but it was a great experience, and hopefully we can manage that much better this time.
“Last season we created a lot of chances, but it looked like we couldn’t score and we looked really desperate after we conceded that penalty and it was really hard, so let’s focus on that game and not thinking too much about the Premier League.”
Mertesacker was responsible for giving Wigan the lead in last year’s semi, but then went on to score a late equaliser to enable Arsenal to go on and win the game. The German defender can see similarities in tomorrows match: “Yes, obviously it was a tough one against a Championship side, so you can compare it a little bit, but obviously it’s going to be difficult,” he continued.
“It’s a great warning from last season, that we went to penalties and had a great stopper in Lukasz Fabianski who saved two, so it’s a good warning to all of us.
“You need to be focused 100 per cent. I think Reading and Wigan are quite similar, so it’s going to be a tough one for us.”
Just make sure you don’t give away and silly penalyies Per, and we’ll be fine!