By Nick Ames
Per Mertesacker is particularly looking forward to facing Swansea City on Saturday.
The German centre-back made his Arsenal debut against the men from south Wales 15 months ago, and says that the visit of Michael Laudrup’s side will evoke good memories.
“My first game last year was against Swansea, so it’s always something special to face them," Mertesacker told the Official Matchday Programme:
“They are playing well - they have good possession and are doing similarly to last year, when they were impressive. It’s important that we keep to our normal gameplan and be ready to do something right from the start, especially in the final third of the pitch.
“Swansea are a good, technical side - they can play shorter and longer balls to good effect. But we have to look at our game first and improve on the Everton performance. We have to respect our game as well as that of the opponent. December is here, and it’s a very important month for us - let’s start it as we mean to go on.”
There were glimpses of Arsenal’s best form in that hard-fought draw at Goodison Park on Wednesday night, Theo Walcott firing home the opener inside the first minute. It was the perfect start, but Mertesacker has regrets about the home side’s eventual comeback.
“We had a fantastic start with Theo scoring, which was exactly what we were looking for," he said. "But we made a couple of mistakes in the build-up to their equaliser that made us a bit vulnerable - losing the ball near our own box. It was a vital moment for Everton, and they came back in a way that we’d wanted to avoid.”
You can read the full interview with Per in the matchday programme for the Swansea match. Click here to subscribe
The Official Matchday Programme is now on iPad! Find out more
Join the conversation on Twitter: #AFCvSCFCCopyright 2013 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 30 Nov 2012