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Per Mertesacker: Early stages of Spurs game will be pivotal

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Defender Per Mertesacker says Arsenal have to enjoy a quick start to the game if they are to gain an advantage over Tottenham Hotspur tomorrow.

Tomas Rosicky's early goal secured victory at White Hart Lane when the two teams played this fixture last season and the Germany international wants more of the same from the Gunners on Saturday afternoon.

"It's a special atmosphere in both grounds, a special atmosphere from the supporters' side, so we have to realise that," Mertesacker told Arsenal Player.

"It comes very quickly into your mind that it's a special game for everyone at this club, so you better get on with it quickly otherwise it will hurt you.

"We did well especially last season - we won all our games - so let's focus on not giving them any chance.

"We know from recent years that defensive unity is vital especially against our north London rivals, so we have to be really cautious on the defensive front.

"We need to be really focused, especially in the first 15 minutes, to keep the players and the crowd quiet, then afterwards let's play our game and try to do it again.

"We did very well last season, as we scored very early and then defended well until the end, so it's going to be the target for this year.

"We have good confidence at the moment so let's show that again."

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