Per Mertesacker Complains over Arsenal's Early Kick-Offs

Jason Pettigrove@@jaypetti1971Contributor IMarch 24, 2014

Per Mertesacker doesn't want to play away from home in Saturday lunchtime kick-offs.
Per Mertesacker doesn't want to play away from home in Saturday lunchtime kick-offs.Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker has spoken out about the issues over his side playing in early kick-offs in the Premier League, even joking about how the club will have to apply not to play early matches away.

His comments come in the wake of the six-goal trouncing at the hands of London rivals Chelsea.

According to Martin Lipton of the Daily Mirror, the German is unhappy about the scheduling, especially when the Gunners have to play away from home. He said:

I don’t know why, but it looks like we don’t fancy early kick offs away.

It looks like we are going to have to apply to the FA to not play at 12.45 away. That would help us a lot.

We wanted to start very strong and show people we are good enough, but they scored the two very early goals.

It's not the first time this season that Arsenal have been so humiliated, of course.

In their other Saturday lunchtime kick-offs away from home, Arsene Wenger's side conceded five against Liverpool and six against Manchester City.

Via his Twitter account, BJH was none too impressed:

Such a complaint from one of Arsenal's more senior players is likely to be met with howls of derision in Premier League dressing rooms up and down the country.

It pricks at the brittle self-confidence of a side who have always been admired for the way in which they play their football, but perhaps have always been considered to have a soft core.

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 22:  Arsene Wenger manager of Arsenal is greeted by Jose Mourinho manager of Chelsea during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Arsenal at Stamford Bridge on March 22, 2014 in London, England.  (Photo by Richard H
Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Prior to his 1,000th game, Wenger will have harboured genuine title hopes knowing that a win against Jose Mourinho's table-toppers would have left Arsenal just a point behind the West Londoners.

The way in which his team capitulated again so early in the match must surely wake Wenger up to the need for a more robust element to his side.  

Indeed, the need has been obvious for a while. Sky Sports' Jamie Carragher had noted Arsenal's inability to beat the teams around them earlier in the season:

I never really fancy Arsenal in the big games, especially away from home.

Once they start mixing it with the big teams and beating them away from home - that's when I think we'll see if Arsenal have a real chance of winning the title.

It appears on the basis of Sunday's result and performance that Arsenal are still some way from that.

But they will have to be on their mettle again this coming weekend. Manchester City come to the Emirates quickly followed by a trip to Roberto Martinez's emerging Everton side.

Mertesacker will be thanking his lucky stars he gets a lay-in for both fixtures.