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Mertesacker wants Gunners to remain focused


DEFENDER Per Mertesacker has challenged Arsenal to learn quickly from their warning at Crystal Palace to avoid any more costly lapses in concentration and stay in the Barclays Premier League top four.

  The Gunners looked to be closing out a hard-earned 2-0 win at Selhurst Park on Saturday, only for a scrambled effort by Glenn Murray in stoppage time to set up a frantic finale before the substitute almost snatched a dramatic draw when his flying header came back off the base of a post.

  A fifth victory from their last six league matches moved Arsenal back above Manchester United, who lost at Swansea, to maintain momentum ahead of Wednesday’s Champions League last 16 first leg showdown with Monaco.

  Mertesacker, currently captaining the side with Mikel Arteta still out injured, accepts Arsenal must retain focus at the back if they are to build on the positive work since the turn of the year.

  “At the end they tried to put us under pressure and get some strikers on. They nearly scored the equaliser so we were a bit lucky,” the German said, quoted by

  “Sometimes you lose games, especially at the end, but that was a bit of a warning for us not to switch off too early.

  “Overall, though, we are absolutely delighted with the three points and we move on.”

  Arsenal had taken an early lead through a penalty from Santi Cazorla after Danny Welbeck had been tripped by Pape Souare, which the Palace bench protested happened just outside the area.

  It was 2-0 on the stroke of half-time when Welbeck ran across the backline and onto a through ball from Alexis Sanchez.


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