Arsenal want to avoid another 'Besiktas' experience says Mertesacker

Arsenal Beşiktaş partnership

Arsenal want to avoid qualifying for the Champions League through the playoff route according to defender Per Mertesacker.

The Gunners played a tough playoff tie against Beşiktaş in this seasons Champions League qualifier.

The North London based side were held to a goalless draw at the Atatürk Olympic stadium in Istanbul and narrowly scraped a 1-0 win at the Emirates.

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“We want to qualify directly for the Champions League”, Mertesacker told the official Arsenal site.

“The championship has gone but it would be an improvement for us from last season where we had those two qualifying matches [against Besiktas], really tight ones, to secure the Champions League.”

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Arsenal ended up being knocked out in the second round of the Champions League this season.

Beşiktaş made it to the quarter-finals of the Europa League before crashing out against Club Brugge.

The Black Eagles did however, maintain an unbeaten home record against English opposition in Europe this season, drawing against Arsenal while beating Tottenham and Liverpool.

Beşiktaş are currently first in the Süper Lig and take on Gaziantepspor next.

Arsenal are second on equal points with Manchester City but have a game in hand and could go three points clear with a win over Swansea.

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