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Secret defenders’ talk salvages Arsenal

KOLCIELNY-SWANSEALONDON, England, March 18- Per Mertesacker has revealed how a frank training ground exchange between Arsenal’s defenders earlier this month might have salvaged their Champions League qualification bid.

The Gunners rearguard were so appalled by their derby defeat at Tottenham on March 3 that they got together for a private video session at their London Colney HQ in an effort to finally rectify the issues that have repeatedly undermined their season.

After scrutinising the footage of their 2-1 loss, Arsenal responded with impressive clean-sheets in the 2-0 wins at Bayern Munich and Swansea on Saturday and Mertesacker is adamant they have gone some way to solving their problems.

He said: ‘We all had the feeling after the Tottenham game that there was something to do, so everybody was involved and everyone felt we needed to improve and speak.

‘We watch the previous game back before every game but the defenders did it on our own and I thought there was quite an improvement against Swansea.

‘We saw ourselves as a unit on the television and I think it was a good thing to do because sometimes you have a different view on the pitch and you feel different.’

Mertesacker added: ‘We learnt that as a unit we have to cover each other. There were a lot of situations where there was no pressure on the ball and the back four was not prepared for any balls between us. To cover each other, that was the most important thing we learned.’

Arsenal’s backline is expected to undergo a substantial rebuild during the summer, with the futures of Thomas Vermaelen, Mertesacker and Bacary Sagna in doubt, and Arsene Wenger pondering a system switch to accommodate three centre halves.

Swansea defender Ashley Williams is wanted by Wenger and Sportsmail understands he is privately keen on the chance to move to a bigger club, while Swans goalkeeper Michel Vorm has been on Wenger’s radar for more than a year.

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– Daily Mail

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