Arsenal struggle with early starts, admits Mertesacker

Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker has admitted the Gunners need to adapt better to kicking-off at lunchtime after they were heavily beaten by Chelsea, ESPN has reported.

The Stamford Bridge routing followed similar losses at Anfield against Liverpool and the Etihad Stadium against Manchester City, when Arsenal were beaten 5-1 and 6-3 respectively.

“I don’t know why, but it looks like we don’t fancy early kick-offs away,” Mertesacker said. “It looks like we are going to have to apply to the FA to not play at 12.45 away. That would help us a lot.

“We wanted to start very strong and show people we are good enough, but they scored the two very early goals. We lost some balls when we tried to keep it desperately. They then caught us on the counter-attack. We tried to avoid that. But we missed it completely.

“There was not much difference before the red card, but afterwards it was even harder to come back, especially when it goes to 3-0 and 10 men so early.”

Arsenal went a man down when Andre Marriner sent off Kieran Gibbs for handling the ball on the goal line despite the offence being committed by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Arsene Wenger was marking his 1,000th game as Arsenal manager but his side are now in fourth place, seven points behind league leaders Chelsea.

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