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Arsenal star explains how he overcame “very difficult” season

Arsenal's Per Mertesacker. Photo: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire Arsenal's Per Mertesacker. Photo: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Tuesday, November 20, 2012
4:00 PM

Per Mertesacker admits he had a hard time adjusting to the Premier League in his first season at Arsenal but insists he is now comfortable in English football.

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The Germany international has come a long way since his first tentative steps into English football after signing from Werder Bremen last summer.

The 6ft 6in centre-half headed his first Arsenal goal in the 5-2 victory over Tottenham at Emirates Stadium on Saturday.

He said: “I had a very difficult first season with all the settling in and the new things at Arsenal.

“It was quite tough for me, but now I feel much more comfortable with the situation.

“It is much more physical than the Bundesliga so you have to make your mind up about the tackles, about the way you cover your partner, so I set those things up a bit and I feel much better than last season.

“I try to keep on going with that feeling.”

And the 28-year-old knows Arsenal face a huge game against Montpellier on Wednesday, saying they need to deliver another big performance.

“We have to get good results now, there is no space for weak games or for another home defeat,” he said.

“We are completely concentrated on this game and we have to take this stage as Arsenal have done in [previous] years.

“The group is still open for the teams, and we have to show we can go through and make clear that Arsenal will go to the next round.”

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Arsenal

Nickname: The Gunners.

Ground: Emirates Stadium (capacity 60,361).

Founded: 1886.

Honours: First Division (until 1992) and Premier League: 1931, 1933, 1934, 1935, 1938, 1948, 1953, 1971, 1989, 1991, 1998, 2002, 2004.

FA Cup: 1930, 1936, 1950, 1971, 1989, 1991, 1998, 2002, 2003, 2005.

League Cup: 1987, 1993.

Fairs Cup: 1970.

Cup Winners’ Cup: 1994.

Leading goalscorer: Thierry Henry, 228.

Leading appearances: David O’Leary, 722.