English Premiership

Per: Midfield battle key

2015-05-13 09:50
Per Mertesacker (Supplied)

Cape Town - Per Mertesacker says controlling the midfield will be vital to Arsenal’s chances at Manchester United on Sunday.

The Gunners have already won at Old Trafford this season, when Danny Welbeck's goal settled a pulsating FA Cup quarter-final tie against his former club.

Mertesacker is confident that Arsenal can produce a similar performance this weekend as they look to bounce back from Monday night’s defeat to Swansea.

“We won [at Old Trafford] once and it's possible to do that twice per season,” the centre back told arsenal.com.

“We are looking forward to it.

“It'll be a massive crowd again and they will have respect [for us]. We are still in a good mood and have a good level of confidence and we are looking forward to the next four games.

“I think most important are the duels in midfield, around Marouane Fellaini. Francis Coquelin did really well last time. I think that is a major part of their game so we need to try to control this.

“It's not going to be easy. They obviously want to keep the ball as much as possible. Can we restrict it? Can we get the ball in their half and break? That is what we did last time and we did really well.”

The Gunners can take a major step towards securing a top-three place with victory at Old Trafford, and Mertesacker says avoiding a Champions League play-off is a big target.

“[It would be] very important because, when you look at the schedule, the break will not be that much,” he said. “I think, even for non-international players, it is pretty weird.

“And we have a couple of under-21 players, a couple at the Copa America I think, so it will again be a tight schedule, so we'll try to really avoid that.”


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