We need to start well, insists Per Mertesacker

Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker knows how important a good start will be tonight for the club and he believes the first 20-minutes could define the rest of the tie.

The Gunners started their competitive campaign in awful fashion, falling to a 3-1 home defeat to Aston Villa and they now face a tricky task in Turkey as they play Fenerbache for a spot in the Champions League proper.

The first-leg is being played tonight in Turkey with the return leg at the Emirates Stadium next Tuesday and the German centre-back believes the opening 20-minutes tonight will be crucial for The Gunners.

“It is absolutely fantastic over there, so you have to be aware of the opening 20 minutes,” he told Arsenal Player. “You have to keep [the home fans] as quiet as possible, which is very hard.

“You have to play consistently over the whole 90 minutes and it is very important to be very focused on the first 15 to 20 minutes. We need to be ready and defend properly.

“The first big target of the season is to qualify for the Champions League group stage. I know that it will be very, very tough – especially away from home.

“We need to go through with good form and be at our best. We want to show our fans at home that we are ready for the Champions League this season.”

The last time Arsenal played Fenerbache in Turkey was in 2008 and on that night, they ran out 5-2 winners. How Wenger could do with that result again tonight!

Written by Alex Batt – @AlexBatt

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