Mertesacker enjoys hectic schedule


Defender Per Mertesacker is happy to miss out on an end-of-year "breather" as he looks to help push Arsenal back into the top four of the Barclays Premier League.

The Gunners gave their league campaign a much-needed kickstart as they thumped 10-man Blackburn 7-1 at Emirates Stadium last weekend, their first league win in 2012 which reduced the gap on fourth-placed Chelsea down to three points following the Blues' 3-3 draw with Manchester United at Stamford Bridge.

Mertesacker, who moved from Werder Bremen on deadline day of the August transfer window, is happy to tackle the hectic schedule full-on with the Gunners set to travel to Sunderland this weekend, and told a webchat with Chinese fans: "It was my choice to go to the English league and have no winter break, no breather at the end of the year."

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