Mertesacker believes fourth is best finish Arsenal deserve this season
Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker does not believe the Gunners are deserving of a finish any higher than fourth this season, according to The Guardian.
The Gunners had set the league alight earlier in the season, but a dip in form has seen them continue to battle Everton for a fourth placed finish, and Mertesacker believes that is the best the north Londoners deserve this season, though he does believe the club can go on and target an improved finish next season.
The German international said: “We didn't deserve to be in the first three. That is something for next year that we have to manage much better than this year. The early away games killed us this year. Hopefully we can learn from that.”
Arsenal had been riding high for almost the entire first half of the season, but heavy losses at Man City, Liverpool and Chelsea arguably highlighted the Gunners’ shortcomings in direct competition with the other clubs near the top. From those three games, Arsenal scored four – not a bad tally considering the opposition – but conceded an alarming 17 goals, the same number they conceded in the entire 1998-99 season.
Speaking of those three games, which helped to “kill the first three spots” according to the 29-year-old, he continued: “We have to learn quickly how to play and how to defend in the first 20 to 25 minutes. It was very similar in each game. The first 20 minutes we lost some balls in the middle of the park, they got us on the break and that is something we have to look at next year.”
A growing injury list didn’t help their plight either, but at one stage a top four berth looked like it could also be fading, though a recent run of solidified results have stabled that ship.
They now sit fourth, four points ahead of Everton with two games to go, and so one more win will see them qualify for the Champions League once again. The club have waited since 2005 for any silverware, and after early hopes of lifting the Premier League title faded they do find themselves just 90 minutes away from ending that hoodoo when they take on Hull at Wembley in the FA Cup Final next month.
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