Per - It was a shocking first half

Per Mertesacker says Arsenal's first-half performance against Stoke City was "shocking".

The Gunners allowed Peter Crouch to score after just 19 seconds and Bojan and Jon Walters also beat Emiliano Martinez before the break.

Arsenal scored twice after the interval but Calum Chambers was sent off with 11 minutes remaining. Although Mertesacker was pleased with the spirit his side showed, he has "big regrets" about their first-half display.

“We nearly came back from a shocking first half,” he told Arsenal Player. “We had to show some morale and some respect to our travelling fans.

“At half-time we said to ourselves, ‘we’re going to fight until the end no matter what happens’. That was the only positive thing. We’re not normally like that, so it’s a big regret.

“We have a few problems. We have had a couple of games in the last two weeks so we had to shuffle around a bit and sometimes when you’re not used to a position, you can find yourself one or two yards from the right position.

“That’s not an excuse - overall we lacked a lot of things, especially in the first half, and we tried to turn it around and keep our chins up to give ourselves a much better position.

"At the end, with 10 men, it was even more difficult but we kept going and tried everything.”

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