Per Mertesacker has revealed that Arsenal’s players were “knackered” as they labored to a draw at home to rivals Tottenham. The Gunners had Kieran Gibbs’ first Barclays Premier League goal in more than three years to thank for rescuing a point after Harry Kane had given Spurs the lead in the north London derby. Sunday’s 1-1 draw at the Emirates Stadium was not enough to take second-placed Arsenal to the top, but they remain unbeaten in the league since defeat at Chelsea on Sept. 19.
This result came on the back of a 5-1 Champions League thrashing against Bayern Munich and, with seven injured players on the sidelines, Mertesacker believes those who are in the side have been feeling the strain:
“It was fun to play but we all looked a bit knackered, especially in the first half.
“We gave absolutely everything to get a draw here and we will enjoy next weekend off, a few of us, then back to duty the next week.
“We stayed with the same line-up as against Munich apart from Gabriel, and even (Tottenham) played on Thursday but they looked fresh in the first half and then suffered in the second.
“It is difficult to explain but to sum it up both teams gave their all on the pitch and that is why it was a joy not only to watch and a joy to play, especially in the second half.”
Aaron Ramsey, Hector Bellerin and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain could all return soon after the international break to ease the injury concerns of manager Arsene Wenger, who conceded ahead of the game he was worried by the sheer number of players on the treatment table. Mertesacker, too, feels there is only so long the Gunners can paper over the cracks, with the World Cup winner looking forward to welcoming his teammates back:
“It is very important (to have them back).
“Over a short period you can replace a couple of players, but with two games a week — and the intensity will not lessen — you need a lot of players who can replace each other and come and give energy.
“That is important. It is how we beat Bayern Munich, Theo (Walcott) played for 75 minutes and then Olivier (Giroud) came on and gave us a different style and had a massive impact on the game. We need game changers.
“That is why with injuries we suffer a bit, but I’m convinced that after the international break we will have more options and therefore more confidence.
“At times we need to give more and be more convincing with our game plan. There is room for improvement but we are in a good position and we want to continue that unbeaten streak.
“Obviously with players coming back we will gain some more energy. You could see today how great it was to have Gibbs on the bench – he gave us a big lift we he came on, he was fresh and gave everyone a lift with the goal.”
One concern for Wenger will be the travel times for the likes of Alexis Sanchez and David Ospina, who will link up with Chile and Colombia respectively, while fit-again defender Laurent Koscielny has been called up by France and could come up against Gibbs, who is in Roy Hodgson’s England squad. But if they and Arsenal’s other internationals come through unscathed, the FA Cup holders will be in a strong position to continue their Premier League title tilt in the run-up to Christmas.
200+ Channels With Sports & News
- Starting price: $33/mo. for fubo Latino Package
- Watch Premier League, World Cup, Euro 2024 & more
- Includes NBC, USA, FOX, ESPN, CBSSN & more
Live & On Demand TV Streaming
- Price: $69.99/mo. for Entertainment package
- Watch World Cup, Euro 2024 & MLS
- Includes ESPN, ESPN2, FS1 + local channels
Many Sports & ESPN Originals
- Price: $6.99/mo. (or get ESPN+, Hulu & Disney+ for $13.99/mo.)
- Features Bundesliga, LaLiga, Championship, & more
- Also includes daily ESPN FC news & highlights show
2,000+ soccer games per year
- Price: $4.99/mo
- Features Champions League, Serie A, Europa League & NWSL
- Includes CBS, Star Trek & CBS Sports HQ
175 Premier League Games & PL TV
- Starting price: $4.99/mo. for Peacock Premium
- Watch 175 exclusive EPL games per season
- Includes Premier League TV channel plus movies, TV shows & more
- Liverpool fans confident Reds will bounce back after Champions League setback
- Salah’s Egyptian fans share in his Champions League misery
- UEFA blames ‘fake tickets’ for Champions League final delay
- Courtois earns respect with heroics to thwart Liverpool in Champions League final
- Liverpool will ‘come again’ after anticlimactic end to stellar season
- ‘I can’t do much more’ to win Ballon d’Or – Benzema
- Families of Liverpool staff caught up in Champions League final chaos – Klopp
- ‘Fake tickets’ to blame for Champions League final delay, UEFA say
- Real Madrid win Champions League; Ancelotti breaks record
- Ancelotti keeps calm amid the storm to make Real Madrid champions again