Following their troubled group-stage campaign, the Gunners only advanced out of their pool in second place behind Bayern Munich, and were unfortunate enough to have been drawn against the reigning European champions in the last 16.
It was always going to have been an uphill struggle, and if Mertesacker and co. were to stand any chance of advancing into the quarter-finals, it was imperative that they took control of the tie in the first leg, in front of their home fans.
However, while Arsenal contained their opponents for over 70 minutes, they fell apart in the final 20 minutes, when Lionel Messi opened the scoring after a vicious counter attack, before the Argentine superstar doubled the advantage with a late penalty.
While Mertesacker, and particularly his centre-back partner Laurent Koscielny, equipped themselves well, the German international has insisted that without a home goal, there was little chance Arsenal would avoid defeat.
“We had to score at one point here, and that’s why we do not deserve anything,” Mertesacker told reporters after the match, as per ESPN.
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“You would never keep them quiet for 90 minutes, that was for sure,” the World Cup winner continued.
“We managed it well in the first half. In the second half as well, we had a good period with a couple of chances. We needed to score, then we can drop back.
“We took more risk and obviously then they scored. It’s going to be much more difficult, but we never give up. We tried our best, but we didn’t deserve it because we had enough chances to score at least one.”