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Simpson red made up for penalty pain – Mertesacker

Per Mertesacker has admitted Arsenal were lucky Leicester City defender Danny Simpson was shown a red card during the Gunners’ 2-1 win at Emirates Stadium.

But the German defender suggested his side was due a bit of good fortune after Leicester went 1-0 up courtesy of a controversial penalty awarded to and converted by the prolific Jamie Vardy in the crunch Premier League clash on Sunday.

“They were maybe a bit lucky with the penalty but if there is contact then it is a penalty. On the second occasion when they got a player sent off, we might have been a bit lucky,” Mertesacker said.

“That is the game. We tried to stick to our game and not be influenced by the referee’s decision. That is what we tried to do the whole game and I think it makes a difference in the end.

“If you think too much about situations then you will lose yourself and we kept going and that is why we won today.”

Theo Walcott levelled the scores in the 70th minute before Danny Welbeck headed home an injury-time winner to move the Gunners within two points of the beaten league leaders.

Mertesacker was clearly delighted with the former Manchester United forward’s late impact.

“I said to the lads to keep believing, keep going and we need to put pressure on them, but that is a breathtaking finish from Danny Welbeck,” he said.

“You see every player can make a difference in this squad and we are happy to have him back. You could see his impact.”

Despite leaving it late and benefiting from the fortuitous red card, Mertesacker said his team’s performance was worthy of the three points.

“We played well, especially in the first half defensively. How everyone dropped back and recovered well when we lost the ball was outstanding,” the German said.

“We created a lot of chances and we were a bit unlucky with our finishing, we could have got the winner earlier but we will take it. The energy creates such a finish and you could see the fans were absolutely delighted.

“There was a drought in January with the results but we came back strongly against Bournemouth,” he added, referring to a 2-0 win at Vitality Stadium last weekend.

“We needed [the win], if you want to challenge for anything in this league you need to win.

“We proved it on the pitch today and when we look at training sessions everyone is focused on what is coming up.”

Sun 14 Feb, 2016
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