Per Mertesacker demands Gunners response

Per Mertesacker Arsenal v Monaco

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Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker insists the Gunners will “never give up” on reaching the Champions League quarter-finals, despite a heavy first-leg defeat at home to Monaco.

The Gunners fell to a surprise 3-1 defeat to Monaco on Wednesday, leaving them on the brink of another European exit at the last-16 stage.

Geoffrey Kondogbia’s deflected shot put Monaco ahead in the first half before Dimitar Berbatov doubled the lead after the break.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain reduced the deficit late on, giving Arsenal hope, but Yannick Ferreira struck in added time to pile the misery on Arsene Wenger’s side.

Monaco are now heavy favourites to reach the last eight of the competition, with Arsenal needing to score three goals in the second leg at Stade Louis II on March 17 against a side that has conceded just once in their last 10 home matches.

But Mertesacker insists Arsenal still have a chance and should not be written off just yet.

“We never give up. That’s always the sense of our game, even if the expectations will be low now,” the German defender told the club’s website.

“It’s easy to write us off now but it’s just half-time. A lot of things can happen over there and we will try.

“As we have seen we have been remarkable at bouncing back from disappointing results. That will be the key – to be absolutely brave and try to be on the front foot from the start to the end.

“There are still 90 minutes to play. That is our big target there.”

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