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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Mertesacker braced for gruelling run

Per Mertesacker has urged his Arsenal teammates to maintain their form ahead of a testing run of fixtures.

• Mangan: Szczesny hands victory to off-key Gunners

The Gunners returned to winning ways on Saturday after they followed up their 2-1 loss to Borussia Dortmund with a 2-0 win over Crystal Palace.

Arsene Wenger's side are back in action in the Capital One Cup on Tuesday before facing Liverpool, Dortmund and Manchester United.

With the club enjoying a strong start to the campaign as they top the Premier League table, Germany international Mertesacker is looking for the club to continue their momentum.

"The games coming up will be the big test," Mertesacker said in The Sun. "I think we have surprised a few people already this season.

"But we need to surprise them more and keep applying the pressure on all the teams chasing us. And that is going to be difficult.

"We wanted to come back as a strong unit as quickly as possible after the defeat by Dortmund.

"What we showed against Palace was a good enough response for now but there will be many more tests to come which will be crucial for the rest of the season."

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