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Mertesacker looking for show of character

Arsenal centre-back Per Mertesacker has called on his team-mates to dig deep when they visit Chelsea on Sunday.

The German feels his team can compete with any in the top flight and is confident they can get a positive result at Stamford Bridge, having triumphed 5-3 in the corresponding fixture last season.

“We need our character on Sunday. That is the most important thing. We can go to Chelsea with optimism. We showed last season that we can go and win there,” Mertesacker told The Sun.

“We proved we can score a lot of goals away from home but we have to show our confidence.

“We’re a good squad when we put out opponents under pressure. We are always dangerous. That must be our target at Chelsea as well. Let’s see what we can do. It’s a busy week and everyone is playing a lot. Let’s show our ability and character at Chelsea.”

Arsenal sit eight points behind the Blues going into the game, and six behind fourth-placed local rivals Tottenham, but Mertesacker insists they can do better than their 2-0 defeat to Manchester City in their last league match.

“If you want to be in the top four you have to compete with Chelsea, Man City, Manchester United and Tottenham,” the defender said.

“These teams are in this zone. We need to win against those four as much as we can — it is a good point to show how we are.

“In the second half against Manchester City, we showed our character, which was much better than the first half. We were a bit scared against Man City from the beginning. We were not that confident.

“The second half was much better. With a bit of luck we could have scored in two or three situations.

“We have to take results, the FA Cup win against Swansea City (1-0 in a third-round replay on Wednesday) was vital to prove that we were ready to compete.

“We have a good squad; good young players and experienced players. We have a good balance. But everybody has to stick together.

“The next few weeks will be busy and we now have another FA Cup game. The confidence against Swansea was from the beginning, we were on our front foot. It was good to get our confidence back after the City game.”

Sun 20 January, 2013
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