manchester united, arsenal


Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker feels that Manchester United’s Marouane Fellaini is their biggest threat when the two clubs meet at Old Trafford on Sunday and is urging defensive midfielder Francis Coquelin to keep a tight hold on the Belgium international.

Mertesacker said: “Francis did really well last time. The most important are the duels in midfield, around Fellaini. That is a major part of their game.

“We need to try to control this. It’s not going to be easy. They obviously want to keep the ball as much as possible.

“Can we restrict it? Can we get the ball in their half and break? That is what we did last time and we did really well.

“We are feeling positive. We won there once and it’s possible to do that twice per season.”

However following Monday night’s shock home defeat to Swansea, the Gunners captain admits they are now battling not to finish fourth for the third season in a row.

Mertesacker added: “We are still in a good mood and good level of confidence, but the Swansea defeat shows how quickly football can change.

“When you don’t execute, you get punished. That was a good reminder how important it is to score, how important it is to get the opener when you have the opportunities.

“When you don’t do that in the Premier League, you are battling for fourth place, not second. How simple is that.

“It’s very important not to have to play that Champions League qualifier in August because, when you look at the schedule, the break will not be that much.

“So it will be a tight schedule again so we’ll really try to avoid that.”