Per Mertesacker believes confidence will be key for Arsenal in FA Cup game against Leeds

The Gunners defender says his team must stamp their authority on their opponents at the Emirates, in a repeat of last year's tie which almost saw the visitors emerge victorious
Per Mertesacker says Arsenal must be positive from the outset in Monday’s FA Cup tie against Leeds.

The match at the Emirates is a repeat of last season’s third round tie, in which the Gunners needed a last-minute penalty to avoid defeat to Simon Grayson’s side.

The London club went through after winning the replay 3-1, but they will look to avoid a repeat of the drama in a match that is likely to feature the return of club legend Thierry Henry, on loan from New York Red Bulls.

The German international centre-back said confidence was the key, telling Arsenal Player: “[Lower-league teams] can fight, run and play good football, but you have to be very confident from the first moment [against them]. Confident that you are part of the Premier League and the Champions League.

"It is the same in Germany [as in England]. The leagues are very strong and [teams in] the second or third leagues are also professionals who train a lot of time in the week, just like in the Premier League or Bundesliga. The difference is the speed.”

Arsenal’s last trophy came after winning the FA Cup in 2005, and the giant defender relished the chance to compete in the historic competition, adding: "The FA Cup in Germany is very famous and it is very good to be part of it - it is a great feeling. Hopefully we will go through the next few rounds.”

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