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Mertesacker admits Gunners must up it in Europe


Mertesacker: unhappy with draw

Mertesacker: unhappy with draw

Mertesacker: unhappy with draw

Defender Per Mertesacker knows Arsenal will have to be at their very best to make an impact on the knockout stages of the Champions League in 2015.

The Gunners head to Galatasaray for tomorrow night's tie already secure of a place in the last 16 having beaten Group D leaders Borussia Dortmund 2-0 a fortnight ago.

However, defeat in Germany on matchday one, followed by a home draw against Anderlecht in a game they led 3-0 has, barring a freak set of results, once more left Arsene Wenger's side most likely to miss out on seeding for the knockout round and so likely to come up against one of the Champions League heavyweights for a place in the quarter-finals.

"So far, it is a solid performance (in Europe) overall I would say, because the last two seasons we got Bayern Munich in the (last-16) draw and that makes it very hard. We played well against Munich, but they are always a tough opponent. Let's see what the draw brings this time round," Mertesacker said.

"We will face these other teams and we need to be at our top level in 2015. We are really looking forward to the next round, because if you want to go all the way through you have to beat the best teams."

Mertesacker added: "It is good to have reached the last 16 with a game to spare, especially when it is an away game and it is in Istanbul. You don't want to be under pressure needing points in Istanbul."

Should Dortmund lose at home to Anderlecht and Arsenal beat the Turks, who are already consigned to finishing bottom of the group, then the English side would qualify in first place and so be seeded.

Mertesacker knows Arsenal - who are expected to rest Alexis Sanchez for the trip to Istanbul - must enter the tie with a positive mindset.

"We want to continue our run of winning games to get ourselves going. The rhythm at the moment is there and we want to try to keep that, even if we have small chances to secure that first spot," the German said. "Dortmund have to win as well and we will try our best. It's a good opportunity as well to keep that winning way."