Mertesacker: Delay was annoying, atmosphere was quite fun

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Per Mertesacker says he enjoyed the atmosphere at the Emirates as Arsenal beat Cologne in the Europa League but admits the delayed kick-off and worries about crowd safety led to concerns about the well-being of his family.

Arsene Wenger’s players spent an extra hour in the dressing room before undertaking their pre-game warm-up and looked sluggish when the game finally got underway. It wasn’t until a half time change in formation that they found fluidity in the final third, scoring three goals to dampen the enthusiasm of the visiting hordes.

“It [the delay] was difficult to handle because we were already in the dressing room and then we found out that the kick-off was delayed by an hour,” he told Arsenal.com.

“It is frustrating, and you want to find out if you are actually going to play or not. That was in doubt.

“We wanted desperately to play – but of course the safety of all supporters is the most important thing.

“I just wanted to make sure my family was OK, which they were. Because some people said to tell them to just stay at home, because there were so many people outside the stadium. But in the end we were happy to play and finish the game.”

On the match itself, he added: “It was quite fun to play in front of two crowds battling each other, in a way.

“It felt good to be part of that, and especially when we were 1-0 down, to get back, for the fans to get back into the game with us scoring two. We finally found our rhythm, and the fans as well were happy.”

It has since been confirmed that both Arsenal and Cologne will face UEFA disciplinary charges for the pre-game trouble. 

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Pedant
Pedant

I think that there must be something they can do to boost the atmosphere. It would definitely help the ‘experience’.

Mein Bergkampf

Yeah, it’s mad how the atmosphere seems muted given we are losing our only two world class players for nothing, we’ve got a manager who won’t quit, an owner who is stripping the club for scrap like a used car and we haven’t mounted a title challenge for a decade. We’ve been lied to, fleeced, ignored and patronised. But yeah, let’s sing about being by far the greatest team the world has ever seen.

PaulS
PaulS

Bullshit. Cologne are bottom of the league. They haven’t mounted a title challenge for nearly 30 years and have been relegated several times in the past couple of decades.

Mpls
Mpls

Koln went from qualifying for Europa last season to currently bottom of the Bundesliga. And look how they showed up. If our support is only able to support when we’re top of the table (and it’s weak then too) then it’s the pissy negative attitudes of the supporters not the club that is responsible for a shit atmosphere.

Mein Bergkampf

Still love how any criticism equates to disloyalty. You’d be right at home in a totalitarian state.

Maybe we do deserve what we get when so many fans are prepared to bend over, bite the pillow and happily take it.

Non Flying dutchman
Non Flying dutchman

Hope never to sit next to you at a game. Honestly mate. go find another club you buzzkiller

Mein Bergkampf

Yeah, whatevs guys. See you after the Chelsea game saying exactly the same things as me. Do you not get sick sitting on those seesaws all season?

Simon
Simon

You’d be on all 4’s if there’s a pillow available to bite…..surely?

Gooooooooonnnnaaaaaaaaa
Gooooooooonnnnaaaaaaaaa

Although I agree with you to a certain extent, I think the disconnect between the fans and the players isn’t down to a lack of ability (which is the case with Cologne), it’s down to a lack of effort and fight. We have quality players in that squad and they should be doing a lot better but it’s those games when they just don’t turn up and get bullied off the pitch. At Liverpool it looked like men against boys – as much as I hate those cliches.

Nic Bell
Nic Bell

But we’re entitled to success.

WengerOut
WengerOut

Atmosphere last night was fantastic. The stadium was rumbling. Haven’t felt that since the days of Highbury

ZakGooner
ZakGooner

When we beat Barcelona it was, amazing night. When the fans were behind the team as we believed in the club. AFC PLC have successfully contribute for to the demise of such an atmosphere. Let’s be under no illusion yesterday was a result of Cologne, any noise from the partially filled seats of the Arsenal supporters was reactive.

Gooooooooonnnnaaaaaaaaa
Gooooooooonnnnaaaaaaaaa

If the team was playing well and challenging for something the atmosphere would be great. Fans aren’t stupid and there’s no agenda or anything. It’s clear to everyone that we seriously needed to address our defence and needed a commanding midfielder, that didn’t happen over the summer and the fans are seeing the same flaws as the last couple of seasons.

Bringing a drum or a hype man with a microphone won’t change anything if the results and/or the performances are disappointing. Second half last night the fans were loud and were cheering the team, first half literally felt like an away fixture.

Clock End 20
Clock End 20

No, we should be able to create an atmosphere when we’re playing badly as well as when we’re playing well. You don’t just sing when you’re winning. Cologne were louder than us when they were 3-1 down. Truth is, the atmosphere’s been shit since we left Highbury.

People used to call highbury the library, but fuck me it was a hell of a lot better than the emirates. I’m not just saying that to be sanctimonious or superior or anything like that, it’s just a fact.

My two major gripes:

– I don’t like bowl stadiums, it stops stands having an identity

– club level / boxes are basically silent and create a barrier between lower and upper tier, so songs don’t spread around the ground

Also it’s far too expensive, and generally there’s too much hospitality shit. A lot of normal fans can’t afford it. A standing end would make a massive difference to the atmosphere i reckon, it’s something the premier league desperately needs. Poor atmosphere isn’t just a problem at Arsenal, hardly any prem grounds make a decent noise these days.

Le Prof
Le Prof

Wish they could come to every home game and bring their flares.
Made for a fantastic atmosphere and despite what the media says, 99% of the German fans who came were really friendly.
See what happens when the league looks out for the fans, they can afford to travel in clans like this and create their unique atmosphere.

David Hillier\'s luggage
David Hillier\'s luggage

I know it sounds a bit sterile, feel a bit contrived and not the answer to all our atmosphere problems, but you know how they have those huge flags at each end a couple club employees wave when goals go in, I wonder if in a similar vein we could have those guys light up a safer version of the flares you find at football grounds? It’s 2017, there must be a technology for them.

Dave M
Dave M

and the contingent of travelling Arsenal fans at away games makes more noice than the 50000 Arsenal fans at home games. I’m always way more impressed by our travelling supports than the tepid home support. I think we should increase the away contingent at home as they seem to have revved up the home fans a little to not be completely tuned out and embarrassed. Only problem is they would no doubt take any increase from the cheapest tickets, which are the home supporters most likely to make noise…this is SILENT Stan’s Arsenal afterall…

Gooooooooonnnnaaaaaaaaa
Gooooooooonnnnaaaaaaaaa

The crazy part was Cologne’s stadium seats just under 18,000 people yet they showed up with 20,000 yesterday. I bet most of those fans had work in the morning as well.

Simon
Simon

45,985 is way more than just under 18,000. That’s crazy.

santori
santori

Was easier for the defense with Holding out of the picture.

The young lad may be suffering from too much too early.

Again a cautionary tale for all those who tended to big him up (I’m looking at some of the numpties on Arsenal fan TV) much as they lauded Jenkinson ad tedium for no logical reason.

Holding will get better but probably best to take him out of the firing line and work on his confidence for now (simplify his play)

I’d give Chambers a shot at it though at Right of Cback when the next opportunity arrives.

DennisElbow
DennisElbow

BFG is so funny!!?

Dholio
Dholio

Still think Kos & Per are our best pairing and should be used for specific games. Not sure if Arsene sees it that way though.

Dave M
Dave M

Sorry man disagree, Per is SO SO slow right now. He was slow in his prime, but now he has not top end speed and it takes him longer to turn around than an aircraft carrier. Last night he wasn’t even in the hunt for any Koln attempted through ball. Love the guy, but he can only just function as a rotation piece for Europa League and the cups now and a 2 centre back system puts a lot of pressure on him.

ritabhash
ritabhash

FIFA fanboy eh? Get out of the illusion of those video games. Per’s game intelligence is something that is very difficult to find and it offsets his lack of pace more or less all the time, UNTIL the whole backline bombs foward thinking they are Iniesta and Kroos, leaving Per exposed at the back.

There must be a reason Per played 104 times for the World Champions. But what do Arsene, Joachim Low,Klinsmann and Voller know when it comes to football?

swongken
swongken

sunday seems like the best time