Arsenal 1 Everton 1: That was our hardest game, says Per Mertesacker
Arsenal 1 Everton 1: Per Mertesacker believes the Toffees handed the Gunners the sternest test of their title credentials yet
Per Mertesacker believes Everton provided Arsenal with the sternest test of their title credentials so far this season on Sunday.
After a goalless first half, Mesut Özil gave the Gunners the lead when he tapped home from close range in the 80th minute.
But their advantage lasted just four minutes as substitute Gerard Deulofeu’s dipping strike caught out Wojciech Szczesny and earned the visitors a draw.
“I think that was the toughest game we have been through the whole season,” Mertesacker told Arsenal’s website. “They pressed us high up, all the way through from the start until the end.
“We couldn’t play that much and in the second half everything was possible on both sides, with chances here and there so I think it was a fair result.”
The result leaves Arsenal five points clear at the top of the Premier League table heading into next Saturday’s showdown at Manchester City.
But Mertesacker insists that Arsene Wenger’s side are “relaxed” as they head towards the hectic festive fixture schedule.
“We have tough games coming up over the next week and over the Christmas period. We just want to go one game at a time,” he said.
“We are really relaxed, we don’t have to respond to anyone. We just have to do our job every single second of the game. That is our target, nothing else.”