Tuesday 20 August 2019

Mertesacker warns of Bayern backlash after Arsenal underline title credentials

Swansea 0 Arsenal 3

Arsenal's Olivier Giroud celebrates scoring his side's first goal of the game
Arsenal's Olivier Giroud celebrates scoring his side's first goal of the game
Arsenal's Olivier Giroud celebrates scoring their first goal
Arsenal's Joel Campbell celebrates after scoring their third goal
Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech dives in front of Swansea City's Bafetimbi Gomis during the Barclays Premier League match at the Liberty Stadium, Swansea
Arsenal's Laurent Koscielny in action with Swansea City's Gylfi Sigurdsson
Swansea City's Bafetimbi Gomis in action with Arsenal's Laurent Koscielny

Jamie Holland

Confidence is running high at Arsenal after they recorded their fifth Premier League win in a row, but Germany defender Per Mertesacker has warned his team-mates to beware of a backlash from Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena on Wednesday.

Goals from Olivier Giroud (the 2,000th of Arsene Wenger's 19-year reign at the club), Laurent Koscielny and Joel Campbell enabled the Gunners to bounce straight back after their shock midweek defeat by Sheffield Wednesday in the League Cup.

The win keeps them level on points with leaders Manchester City and was the perfect start to a pivotal week for Wenger's men, which sees them take on Bayern before welcoming Tottenham Hotspur to the Emirates next Sunday.

Arsenal gave themselves a chance of reaching the Champions League knockout stages with a superb 2-0 win over Pep Guardiola's side at home two weeks ago, but Mertesacker is wary of the threat Bayern pose.

"They (Bayern) will be angry," said Mertesacker, who returned to captain the side at the Liberty Stadium after missing the 2-1 win over Everton.

"We were the first team who really challenged them and beat them.

"We showed we can beat them, that's a good sign, but it will be a different game at their place. They will try to show they are better than us. It will be a tough game."

Despite Saturday's scoreline, Arsenal did not have things all their own way.

Swansea dominated the first half and striker Bafetimbi Gomis wasted a glorious chance to put Garry Monk's side ahead midway through the half when he hesitated after being put through by Jonjo Shelvey. They should have had a penalty when Per Mertesacker used a hand to block Gylfi Sigurdsson's free-kick.

The visitors regained their composure after the break and Wenger believes that Arsenal will remain in contention for the title if they continue to produce the form they showed here.

"We are very ambitious, very hungry as well and, if we play like that, we will be in the (title) fight," said Wenger after Arsenal had avenged last season's two league defeats to Swansea.

"Once we scored the first goal, we were the dominant team and won the game normally.

"It's a very big week for us, but we have some very strong results behind us."

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