Per Mertesacker had admitted that Arsenal are suffering from a lack of confidence at the moment, and he himself is struggling for form in the aftermath of Germany's World Cup triumph in Brazil this summer.
Speaking after Arsenal's lacklustre 2-1 win at Anderlecht in the Champions League last night, Mertesacker, who is currently captaining the side in Mikel Arteta's absence, also revealed that the Gunners' "passing game is off".
"Everyone knows that it was a difficult start for us and our confidence is not that much how we wanted it. The character is good, the mentality is good but football-wise, we lack a few things.
"Our passing game is not as efficient as last year. We are not at our best. We have to admit that, be honest with ourselves and train harder."
Arsenal have won only six of their last 15 matches in all competitions, a period that Mertesacker has described as "dangerous".
The 30-year-old also added that he found it strange joining up with his Arsenal team-mates after the season had began, after being given an extended leave after the World Cup.
"For me, it is difficult at the moment because that was really a long season last year and to come back from that World Cup and get the motivation back… I am nearly back but you can feel there is something missing.
Anderlecht 1 Arsenal 2 player ratings
Anderlecht 1 Arsenal 2 player ratings
1/12 Arsenal: Emiliano Martinez
Made some decent saves and looked confident coming out to deal with through balls. Could not be faulted for the goal. 6/10
2/12 Calum Chambers
Beaten on a few occasions by the pacy Gohi Bi Cyriac but did excellently to set up Kieran Gibbs’s equaliser with strong run and cross. 6
3/12 Per Mertesacker
Lost his way towards the end as Arsenal became stretched looking for goals after falling behind. 5
4/12 Nacho Monreal
Didn’t look entirely comfortable at centre-back, and received a booking after just eight minutes. 5
5/12 Kieran Gibbs
Reigned in his attacking instincts for much of the game but popped up with wonderfully-taken late goal. 6
6/12 Mathieu Flamini
Patrolled the midfield with his usual tenacity and kept the ball sensibly for the most part. Substituted for the final 15 minutes. 5
7/12 Jack Wilshere
Tried to make things happen in the middle of the park but found himself shackled for long periods and made way seven minutes before the end. 5
8/12 Santi Cazorla
Worked hard but missed good chance with low effort early in the second half and lost the ball on a few occasions. 5
9/12 Aaron Ramsey
Didn’t look fully fit and struggled to get into the game. Surprising he was allowed to stay on for the whole 90 minutes. 5
10/12 Alexis Sanchez
Worked hard but missed good chance with low effort early in the second half and lost the ball on a few occasions. 7
11/12 Danny Welbeck
Took up some good positions with intelligent darts in behind the hosts’ defence but couldn’t make telling contribution. 5
12/12 Best of the bench: Lukas Podolski
The German predator was only on the pitch for the final seven minutes but he scored the winner from close range with typical aplomb. 6
"With those games, the belief and the mentality is there but the motivation will come back. We didn’t even have time to celebrate (the World Cup win) properly, that was the first thing. But you realise month after month what happened. Maybe in five or 10 years you can really realise what was going on there. We came back to Berlin, got on the stage, waved our hands, showed the World Cup and then everyone disappeared to their families to get some holidays, some rest, calm.
"That was really difficult, to get into a proper holiday. The restart is more in your head than anything else. That was really a problem. But I am happy not to have picked up an injury yet and I am confident that I have already been through the dangerous period. I am really happy that I am fit and ready for the proper fight during the winter period.
“It is harder mentally because I started literally when the season started. I have never experienced that. It is at least two or three weeks before the season started, usually, but we had already won a cup, the Community Shield, and I wasn’t there at that time, I was still on holiday. That was something really strange for us to think about.”
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