The Gunners topped the table for much of the early half of the season and looked to be on course to remain in the battle for the trophy until poor results saw them slip into a fight for fourth spot.
Monday night’s win at home to Newcastle appears to have all but guaranteed Champions League action at the Emirates Stadium for next term, but despite this there is a feeling of ‘what if’ in the red half of north London.
The German international believes that the 5-1, 6-0 and 6-3 defeats at Anfield, Stamford Bridge and the Etihad Stadium respectively were a major factor in his team’s inability to challenge for the title:
“Everyone dreamed about the title, but it takes more than staying top until the winter period.” He is quoted by the Daily Star.
“We could not afford those [losses] in big games against big teams, so we did not deserve to be in the first three. That is something we have to manage much better next year.
“The [defeats in the] early away games [at Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea] killed us this year. Hopefully we can learn from that.”
But Mertesacker does not see the current campaign as a failure:
“We are in a cup final and it is important to secure Champions League football, so these are good targets to go for.”