Per Mertesacker: ‘We have to improve at the back’

Arsenal Per Mertesacker

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Arsenal centre-back Per Mertesacker has claimed his side’s inability to sit back and defend has cost them this season in the title race.

The Gunners were one of the favourites for the title at Christmas but they are now fighting hard to stay in the top four once again.

Manager Arsene Wenger has come under intense pressure with Arsenal now just four points in front of Manchester United in fourth.

They looked to be heading for victory on Sunday against Crystal Palace but a late strike from the Eagles ensured the points were shared in a 1-1 draw.

Arsenal also let a two-goal lead slip last weekend against West Ham in a 3-3 draw and now more fans have called for Wenger to be sacked.

While Arsenal have slipped down the table, rivals Tottenham are now just five points behind league-leaders Leicester City.

With five games to go, Wenger’s men are now fighting to stay in the top four and Mertesacker has hit out at his side and admitted their defensive work must improve before it is too late.

He said: “It’s about discipline. We lacked that desperation to defend and get everyone behind the ball.

“To come back to that level is absolutely important in the Premier League, and if you don’t you will get punished. These details are very important to us and everyone can see it.”

Arsenal take on West Brom on Thursday night and they are the heavy favourites at 1.25. The draw is available at 5.50, while the Baggies are priced at 12.00.

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