Top-four Bid Is Not Per-shaped
Per Mertesacker is happy to miss out on an end-of-year "breather" as he looks to help push Arsenal back into the Premier League's top four.
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The Gunners gave their league campaign a much-needed kickstart as they thumped 10-man Blackburn 7-1 at Emirates Stadium last weekend.
It was a welcome first league win in 2012 and reduced the gap on fourth-placed Chelsea down to three points following the Blues' 3-3 draw with Manchester United at Stamford Bridge.
Mertesacker moved from Werder Bremen on deadline day of the August transfer window, with the giant German centre-back having taken some time to adapt to the pace of the English top flight.
The experienced 27-year-old, though, is happy to tackle the hectic schedule full-on with the Gunners set to travel to Sunderland this weekend.
"It was my choice to go to the English league and have no winter break, no breather at the end of the year," Mertesacker told a webchat with Chinese fans. "Normally in Germany you have a chance to calm down at the end of the year, maybe go on holiday.
"[Having no winter break] was very hard. We had a great time with the family here in London, but you have to deal with the situation.
"It is harder, but I really like it here. This is my new life: you get used to everything."
Gunners boss Arsene Wenger remains confident his men have the strength of character needed to finish the campaign with "exceptional consistency" and overtake the likes of Newcastle, Liverpool and Chelsea to get another crack at Champions League football.
Arsenal continue their European campaign with the first leg of their last-16 clash at AC Milan next week.
Czech midfielder Tomas Rosicky feels it is all about momentum.
"We recently had an unsuccessful spell so the win over Blackburn is something we can build on," he said.
"We can be happy after this game, but the most important thing is to carry a performance like that and fight for a Champions League spot
"It was a game when almost everything went in and it's good for confidence. But it does not matter if it was seven goals or one.
"The most important thing is the performance and the fact we can repeat it."
Rosicky, who has made the most of his recent run in the first team, added: "We were five points behind fourth place and that is nothing in today's football at this stage of the season.
"If we perform like this I have no doubt we will be there."
Full-back Kieran Gibbs has recovered from groin problems which sidelined him since the start of October and could be included in the squad for the trip to the Stadium of Light, which will be repeated next weekend in the fifth round of the FA Cup.