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Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker is confident that Petr Cech's presence will give the Gunners a massive boost in their quest to overpower Stoke City at the Britannia, a place where they haven't won in over five years. The north London club recorded their last win at the Britannia in 2010, the day when Aaron Ramsey broke his leg following a tackle by Ryan Shawcross.
Cech has an enviable record there during his time at Chelsea, losing only once in his last six visits with the Blues. The 33-year-old has been a massive influence since moving from Stamford Bridge and Mertesacker hopes that his added experience will be an important factor in churning out a win for the Gunners. A victory here will take Arsenal back to pole position, three points ahead of Manchester City and two ahead of Leicester City.
Their last visit to Britannia was a nightmare for Arsenal, going 3-0 down in the opening half, which all but ended the contest. They made a valiant attempt in the second period, but lost the game 3-2. The German expects Arsenal to start the game brightly, as opposed to last season and gain momentum going into the game.
"It's going to be tough game, but we have got Petr Cech in the squad who has won there in recent years," Mertesacker told Arsenal's official website. "We keep trying to ask him what [they] have done maybe different to us. We have got more experience in the squad now, but we need to turn up with the right performance from the start."
"We haven't done well in the last couple of seasons so it is a good challenge for us if we can turn it around and win there. It will be a good chance for us to get confidence that we can go through difficult periods, that we can win at Stoke. That's why we have to focus on things we haven't done in the last couple of years."
"We keep losing at the start there. We were 3-0 down last year, and came back to 3-2 but you could see at times we need to survive the first half and try to focus on the first minutes. If we can do that then we have a good chance, especially in the second half when we're used to playing better, used to control the ball much better, [making] less mistakes," the defender added.