‘The energy in the team is really great’

Per Mertesacker believes Arsenal’s energy and confidence levels will carry them into a second successive FA Cup final.

The Gunners have won 16 of their past 18 matches and are favourites to progress from Saturday’s semi-final against Reading at Wembley.

Arsene Wenger’s side were run close by Wigan Athletic last season, but Mertesacker says they have learnt valuable lessons from that game.

"The energy is really great in the team, we have a fantastic squad and the most important thing is that feeling"

Per Mertesacker

“We felt [pressure] last season a lot,” he told Arsenal Player. “No one expected us to lose, for Wigan to go through and that will be the case again.

“We are more prepared but you are never perfectly prepared. There will be different situations and the team will have to grow in the match again, we will have to face the expectations and pressure.

“But with our level of confidence and with the team in good shape at the moment, I’m very confident. The energy is really great in the team, we have a fantastic squad and the most important thing is that feeling.”

Mertesacker was involved at both ends of last season’s semi-final, firstly conceding a penalty before scoring a late equaliser for Arsenal.

“That was really strange for me,” he said. “To foul a player when we got the penalty against us, I then had to put something right at the other end.

“That was really important because we created chance after chance and it looked like we could have played 1,000 minutes without scoring, so I had to put something right. I put something in my head of, ‘Now it is your turn’ and I kept going like that.

“Finally it happened, we went through to penalties, and Lukasz Fabianski had a great day and saved two. It was good at the end, and really exciting for a lot of fans - they were absolutely buzzing.”

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