Swansea 0 Arsenal 2 match report: Tottenham scare prompted emergency meeting at Arsenal
Per Mertesacker claims talks have inspired side
Monday 18 March 2013
Per Mertesacker claims a meeting held after Arsenal's north London derby defeat by Tottenham Hotspur was the key to wins over Swansea and Bayern Munich.
Arsenal's defence came under heavy criticism when it was ripped open twice in three minutes in their 2-1 defeat at White Hart Lane but they have responded with two clean sheets away from home.
It's only the second time Arsène Wenger's back four have secured consecutive shut-outs this year.
Mertesacker said: "There was a lot of room for improvement after the Tottenham game. We saw a lot of things when we watched it back.
"We watch the videos after every game but the defenders did it on our own again. We all had the feeling there was something to do, so everybody was involved and everyone felt we needed to improve.
"Sometimes we didn't choose the right direction and we just lacked a bit of defensive work as a unit.
"We prepared ourselves for Munich and for Swansea and it was much, much better. Sometimes as a player you have a different view and you can't believe what we did as a defensive unit (against Spurs).
"You have to get another view from outside and we have experienced coaches to help. You need to learn from games and that was very important for us."
Second-half goals from left-back Nacho Monreal and Ivorian striker Gervinho against Swansea lifted Arsenal to fifth in the Premier League and kept alive their hopes of securing Champions League football for next season.
With Reading, West Brom and Norwich to come next for Wenger's side, Mersesacker believes Arsenal can make a push for fourth place.
"It was a vital win for everybody," said Mertesacker. "There's a good international break now, a little breather for everyone, and then we can concentrate on the last nine games. We need to keep on going.
"We are not in the position that we want to be in so it is a good target to think about our situation in the league. Our focus must be to climb up the league table."
Gervinho's injury time strike to settle Saturday's win was the 25-year-old's first goal in the Premier League for Arsenal since September 29. Wenger insists the much-criticised forward can win over the Arsenal supporters by scoring more important goals before the end of the campaign.
He said: "It was a special goal for Gervinho. He has been under a lot of negative pressure because he has missed chances. I'm convinced it will give Gervinho a major boost. Now I'm sure until the end of the season he will be a big force for us.
"He is sensitive and he needs support. He wants to do well, he loves football and of course when he doesn't score he is very down.
"He gives us something different. Recently, he has lacked confidence because when he gets in front of goal you can see he isn't spontaneous. I hope that goal will give him a lot of confidence.
"I am a great admirer of the team's attitude, you cannot question the solidarity of the players."
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