Arsenal star: We don't deserve to be in the top three

Per Mertesacker has claimed that the Gunners’ performances again title rivals away from home means fourth is where they should sit.

Arsenal looked for all money like they were ready to put forward a real title challenge this season, but slipped out of the running at the business end of the campaign.

Comprehensive defeats against Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea away from home played their part in Arsene Wenger’s men dropping out of the title reckoning.

The Gunners look set to finish fourth and qualify for next term’s Champions League, while they have the chance to win the FA Cup and end a nine-year trophy drought.

Per Mertesacker has stated that the club will aim to improve next term, but this season the north London side did not deserve to be any higher than fourth.

“Of course everyone wanted us to get further up, especially the fans,’ Mertesacker is quoted as saying in The Daily Mail.

“We were top of the league for a long time and everyone dreamed of maybe getting the title. But it takes more than just to stay top until the winter period.

“We couldn’t afford those away games against big teams. So we didn’t deserve to be in the first three. That is something for next year that we have to manage much better than this year.

“The early away games killed us this year. Hopefully we can learn from that.”

The Germany international has targeted improvement next season and urged his side to take lessons from this campaign.

“How we come back as a team, that makes us stronger for the future,” he continued.

“Especially those away games, those early games — we have to learn quickly how to play and how to defend in the first 20 to 25 minutes.

“When you go there and they try to get you on the break — it was very similar in each game. The first 20 minutes we lost some balls in the middle of the park and they got us on the break. That is something we have to look at next year.”

Arsenal are four points ahead of Everton and need one win from their remaining two games to guarantee Champions League football.

Mertesacker is expected to travel to this summer’s World Cup in Brazil with Germany.

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