Summer break: Mertesacker enters the final year of his contract in July

By Arsenal correspondent Tony Hughes

Per Mertesacker pointed the finger at Arsenal’s front line for failing to convert one of the team’s chances in their 2-0 defeat to Barcelona on Tuesday night.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain scuffed an excellent first-half opportunity and Olivier Giroud wasted some good positions.

Arsenal were solid enough in defence until Lionel Messi’s late double but Mertesacker admitted that their lack of efficiency in attack proved decisive.

“You will never keep them quiet for 90 minutes,” said the stand-in Arsenal captain. “We didn’t deserve it. We had enough chances to score at least one.

“It’s tough. We need to score, we took more risk and were punished. We had to score at one point here, that’s why we do not deserve anything.”

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It was the fourth home match out of five in which Arsenal have failed to score, following similar goal-less returns against Chelsea, Southampton and Hull.

Mertesacker recognises that Arsenal face an uphill struggle to eliminate the holders and progress to the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

He said: “We still have a little chance. We don’t give up. We have to concentrate on the Premier League and in a month we play Barcelona again.”