By Rob Kelly

Per Mertesacker says Arsenal must immediately stamp their authority on the game when they face Leeds in the FA Cup on Monday.

The Gunners again face Simon Grayson's side in the Third Round and will be anxious to avoid a repeat of last season's tie, which required a replay at Elland Road.

Mertesacker insists that his side must be prepared to meet the challenge that Championship teams pose head on.

"It is the same in Germany [as in England],” he told Arsenal Player. “The leagues are very strong and [teams in] the second or third leagues are also professionals who train a lot of time in the week, just like in the Premier League or Bundesliga.

"The difference is the speed. [Lower-league teams] can fight, run and play good football, but you have to be very confident from the first moment [against them]. Confident that you are part of the Premier League and the Champions League."

The German centre back admits that he is relishing the chance to play in a competition that he has always followed closely.

"The FA Cup in Germany is very famous and it is very good to be part of it - it is a great feeling. Hopefully we will go through the next few rounds," he said.

See the full interview with Per later today on Arsenal Player.

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9 Jan 2012