Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker eager to avoid fourth-place finish


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Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker admits the Gunners are desperate not to finish in fourth spot and endure the Champions League qualifiers during pre-season.

A strong run of league form since the north London derby defeat to Spurs at White Hart Lane in early February came to a crashing halt as Arsenal fell to defeat against Swansea at the Emirates this week.

That leaves them two points ahead of fourth-placed Manchester United with the teams set to meet at Old Trafford on Sunday.

Mertesacker says the entire squad was unhappy with the result against Swansea.

“You could feel the disappointment in the dressing room after the Swansea game, because we gave so much, but we are still positive,” he said.

United plundered three points at the Emirates back in November despite Arsenal dominating the game.

The Gunners then gained a measure of revenge by knocking Louis van Gaal’s men out of the FA Cup at Old Trafford in March.

That performance is something they must seek to replicate on Sunday, according to Germany international Mertesacker.

Denying the home side possession is the key, says Mertesacker, who thinks Arsenal have the personnel to do it.

“That is a major part of their game and we need to try to control it. They will want to keep the ball as much as possible,” Mertesacker said.

“Can we restrict that? Can we get the ball in their half and break? Francis Coquelin did really well in that role last time.”

Arsenal are 3.03 to win at Manchester United (2.33) with the draw 3.22.

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