Per Mertesacker believes it is an advantage that Arsenal are playing against fully-motivated sides in their final two games of the season.

The German defender was magnificent in Saturday’s narrow 1-0 win over already-relegated Queens Park Rangers. It was Arsenal’s second successive fixture against a side whose fate was already decided. The previous weekend they had drawn 1-1 with newly-crowned champions Manchester United.

However in their last two matches, Arsène Wenger’s side face teams who are fiercely battling the drop – Wigan and Newcastle. Mertesacker believes the pressure the opponents will be under can only help Arsenal’s chances of making the top four.

Sometimes it is hard to play against a side who are relaxed on the pitch

Per Mertesacker

“Sometimes it is hard to play against a side who are relaxed on the pitch,” he said. “You could see that against Manchester United last week as they were champions.

“So I think it is good for us to play against teams who are under pressure. It helps us keep our focus on a high level.”

Arsenal host Wigan next Tuesday. Before then, rivals Chelsea and Tottenham play two more games, including a fixture against each other at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night.

“Both teams have their future in their own hands so we are in a bit of holding position,” said Mertesacker. “We will have to wait and see what happens. We can’t do anything. But then we know we have to win the games that are coming anyway.”

Copyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source Richard Clarke 5 May 2013