Best in 7 years! Arsenal star equals Champions League milestone

Mertesacker V Marseille

Per Mertesacker can't be faulted for a lack of effort against Bayern.

Bayern Munich ultimately undid Arsenal's determined defensive effort at The Emirates, scoring two away goals which give the Gunners a mountain to climb at the Allianz Arena.

Yet had it not been for Per Mertesacker playing like a man possessed at the back, Arsenal could have lost by far more.

The German equalled a Champions League high over the past seven seasons of the competition, blocking six shots in a single game.

It's a figure which is all the more remarkable considering that doing so on a prolific scale is not a typical hallmark of the German's game.

In the six group stage games, Mertesacker blocked a total of four shots, an average of under one per game.

The Premier League is an even harsher contrast. In 24 appearances and more than 2,000 minutes of football, Mertesacker has successfully blocked just eight shots. Last night he managed six in 90 minutes.

Perhaps it was in his mindset, or he just knew what Bayern were going to try and do. He has a poor personal record against Munich - after last night he has just two wins against them in 17 matches played over the course of his career.

He surely knows he will be in for a tough night at the Allianz Arena in a fortnight, but his hard work has at least kept Arsenal in with the slightest of chances.

image: © ronnie macdonald

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