Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker has described on the club’s official website what he feels is the main difference for him personally between this summer and last.
The experienced German centre back will be an important part of Arsene Wenger’s squad heading into the new season and he appears determined to make the most of a full pre-season schedule, so he can hit the ground running from his first competitive performance.
“This year it’s totally different and I think that is very beneficial for myself, for my fitness, to get a few tests and a few games under my belt before the season starts,” he told arsenal.com.
“I feel much better than last season but first of all we need to prepare properly. We are just at the start of pre-season so let’s get some good tests and good training sessions as well.”
Learn from mistakes
Given Mertesacker’s ample experience, it was a big surprise that Arsenal’s back four were caught exposed at different points last season.
It’s an issue that they seemed to resolve over the second half of the season, but Arsenal can’t afford to concede needless goals in games where they are searching for a positive result.
Mertesacker should have learnt from that error and arguably needs to drill the backline into retaining their shape effectively.
If Mertesacker is left exposed, he doesn’t have the pace to cope against some of the forwards in the Premier League.
Cech will help
One player who will help in terms of defensive organisation and ensuring that the back four train well in pre-season is Petr Cech.
Cech won’t like the idea of being left exposed on a consistent basis and should help the club to work out an effective and reliable system for next year.