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Champions League: Arsenal belief levels are on rise again says defender Per Mertesacker

By Mark Bryans

Published 26/11/2015

Job done: Per Mertesacker hails the Arsenal supporters
Job done: Per Mertesacker hails the Arsenal supporters

Per Mertesacker insists he and his Arsenal team-mates now believe they can get out of their Champions League group following their "nightmare" start to the competition.

The Gunners recorded a comfortable 3-0 victory at home against Dinamo Zagreb on Tuesday night, meaning they now head to face Olympiakos in Athens in a fortnight with progression to the knock-out rounds in their own hands.

That was not the case heading into a nervy contest against the Croatian champions as Arsene Wenger's side had lost three of their four previous Group F matches.

Needing Bayern Munich to beat Olympiakos in Germany and keep up their end of the bargain at the Emirates, Arsenal got what they needed as the Germans cantered to a 4-0 success to top the group while a Mesut Ozil header and two goals from Alexis Sanchez sealed a vital three points.

Having lost in Zagreb and at home to Olympiakos, as well as being thrashed 5-1 in Munich, Arsenal's start to the campaign left them in a position that still requires them to win by two goals in Athens - but Mertesacker believes the squad now feel they can go on and get the required result.

"We believe and before the game we knew we were capable of doing special things," he said.

"We dropped a lot of points which is disappointing but there is still a chance, so we believe. It was a nightmare how we played the first two games.

"We have to score more than one goal against Olympiakos.

"We believe that we can score goals. You saw that we are always capable. Let's go there without fear, respect our opponent but keep patient until the end."

Wenger has overseen successful progression from Champions League groups for the last 16 seasons but Mertesacker does not want history to weigh down the players.

Arsenal's Costa Rican striker Joel Campbell (4th L) challenges Dinamo Zagreb's Marko Rog (5th R) during their UEFA Champions League Group F football match between Arsenal and GNK Dinamo Zagreb at The Emirates Stadium in London on November 24, 2015. AFP/Getty Images
Arsenal's Costa Rican striker Joel Campbell (4th L) challenges Dinamo Zagreb's Marko Rog (5th R) during their UEFA Champions League Group F football match between Arsenal and GNK Dinamo Zagreb at The Emirates Stadium in London on November 24, 2015. AFP/Getty Images
Arsenal's Spanish defender Hector Bellerin (R) vies for the ball against Dinamo Zagreb's midfielder Alexandru Matel during their UEFA Champions League Group F football match between Arsenal and GNK Dinamo Zagreb at The Emirates Stadium in London on November 24, 2015. AFP PHOTO / ADRIAN DENNISADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images
Arsenal's Chilean striker Alexis Sanchez (L) on his way to scoring his team's second goal during their UEFA Champions League Group F football match between Arsenal and GNK Dinamo Zagreb at The Emirates Stadium in London on November 24, 2015. AFP PHOTO / ADRIAN DENNISADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images
LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 24: Arsene Wenger, Manager of Arsenal looks on during the UEFA Champions League match between Arsenal FC and GNK Dinamo Zagreb at Emirates Stadium on November 24, 2015 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 24: Alexis Sanchez of Arsenal is tackled by Goncalo Santos of Dinamo Zagreb during the UEFA Champions League match between Arsenal FC and GNK Dinamo Zagreb at Emirates Stadium on November 24, 2015 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger on the substitutes bench with his assistant Steve Bould (left) before the UEFA Champions League, Group F match at The Emirates Stadium, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday November 24, 2015. See PA story SOCCER Arsenal. Photo credit should read: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire.
Arsenal's Aaron Ramsey (left) and Calum Chambers are all smiles on the substitutes bench before the UEFA Champions League, Group F match at The Emirates Stadium, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday November 24, 2015. See PA story SOCCER Arsenal. Photo credit should read: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire.
Arsenal's French striker Olivier Giroud (L) heads the ball during their UEFA Champions League Group F football match between Arsenal and GNK Dinamo Zagreb at The Emirates Stadium in London on November 24, 2015. AFP/Getty Images
LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 24: The Arsenal team pose for a photo prior to the UEFA Champions League match between Arsenal FC and GNK Dinamo Zagreb at Emirates Stadium on November 24, 2015 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Arsenal's Spanish midfielder Santi Cazorla (L) in action during their UEFA Champions League Group F football match between Arsenal and GNK Dinamo Zagreb at The Emirates Stadium in London on November 24, 2015. AFP PHOTO / ADRIAN DENNISADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images
Arsenal's French manager Arsene Wenger is pictured during their UEFA Champions League Group F football match between Arsenal and GNK Dinamo Zagreb at The Emirates Stadium in London on November 24, 2015. AFP PHOTO / ADRIAN DENNISADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images
LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 24: A general view of the Emirates Stadium prior to the UEFA Champions League match between Arsenal FC and GNK Dinamo Zagreb at Emirates Stadium on November 24, 2015 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Security measures outside the ground before the UEFA Champions League, Group F match at The Emirates Stadium, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday November 24, 2015. See PA story SOCCER Arsenal. Photo credit should read: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire.
Arsene Wenger accepts that Arsenal's European form has been poor

"There is enough pressure. We do not need to discuss that too much," he said.

"They have more to lose. We are in a more difficult situation. It will be pressure for both teams and hopefully we can handle that better."

Belfast Telegraph

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