Axed Mertesacker stays patient: "That's why I've survived for so long in this business."

The Germany defender admits that being a substitute like he has been in five of the Gunners' last eight games is not something he wants to get used to.

"I've got to admit it is new to me," he said. "I've been around a long time now and this has not so often been the case, but I'm in good spirits, am fit and I have no pain.

"Of course I'm playing less, but I'm sticking at it. Maybe I'll get another chance. Things change quickly nowadays.

"You get ups and downs as a footballer and you've just got to remain professional, and I've always been that down the years.

"That's why I've survived for so long in this business. I listen closely to what the coach says and he knows that he can count on me, no matter what happens.

"I want to show him in every training session thadt I'm ready when needed. The team needs every player, whether I'm on the bench now or not - I don't just write it off.

"I always look ahead positively and that is the best way to get over the disappointment of not playing."

The 31-year-old World Cup winner, who has a year left on his Arsenal contract, has played 21 times for the Gunners in the Premier League this season, wearing the captain's armband in all but three of those appearances.  

And he still hopes to play his part in an unlikely Arsenal title win.
A 4-0 victory over Watford at the weekend kept third-placed Arsenal 11 points behind league leaders Leicester with a game in hand on the Foxes.

With Arsene Wenger's men having seven games left, Mertesacker has not given up hope of overhauling the pacesetters - but concedes his side can ill afford to drop any more points.

"It's not totally over yet," he told German website "If we win all of our matches, then we've got a good chance.

"We've got to keep focusing on that and that's why we're taking things game by game.

"We're trying to concentrate fully on our next game against West Ham. We have a bit more time now that we're not in any other competition so we don't have to concentrate on anything else, other than the title."


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