Per Mertesacker: 'February is Arsenal's acid test'

Laurent Koscielny of Arsenal and Per Mertesacker of Arsenal celebrate victory at the final whistle during the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Liverpool at Emirates Stadium on November 2, 2013
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Per Mertesacker believes that success for Arsenal this season will hinge on how the team negotiate a number of key fixtures this month.

Per Mertesacker believes that success for Arsenal this season will hinge on how the team negotiate a number of key fixtures this month.

The Gunners welcome Liverpool twice in February - one being a fifth-round FA Cup clash - while also hosting Manchester United and Bayern Munich in the first leg of their last-16 Champions League clash with the defending champions.

"February could be the season-defining month with a lot of crucial games coming up," the defender told the club's official website.

"(We have) big clashes against Liverpool in the FA Cup, against Bayern Munich and big games in the Premier League. So February is going to be the crucial month of this season in defining how we do."

Arsene Wenger's men kick off the month with the visit of Crystal Palace to the Emirates Stadium this afternoon, with the North London outfit knowing that victory would see them return to the summit of the Premier League table.

Arsenal's German striker Lukas Podolski celebrates scoring his team's second goal during the UEFA Champions League Group B football match against Montpellier on November 21, 2012
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