Arsenal news

Vermaelen confident on fitness

November 3, 2011
By ESPNsoccernet staff

Arsenal defender Thomas Vermaelen believes his injury woes are finally at an end.

Thomas Vermaelen
GettyImagesThomas Vermaelen: Out for three weeks

Vermaelen has suffered horrendous injury problems, starting only five Premier League games last season and so far this term being named in the starting line-up just twice in the league.

After such a superb debut season for Arsenal in 2009-10, when he scored seven Premier League goals and missed only five matches, he now feels his fitness issues are a thing of the past.

"Of course, as it has been a difficult time for me, especially last year being out for pretty much the whole season," he was quoted as saying by the Daily Mirror. "I came back strong, had a great pre-season and played the first four games and then I got injured on the other [Achilles].

"I was not too stressed about it, as I knew what it was. I had experience of it from last season, so I knew that it would only take six weeks for me to come back. I was not worried.

"Of course it is the main thing for me at the moment to get the 90 minutes under my belt. I trained hard to come back and I feel good and great and it is always good to have 90 minutes again.

"It is up to the boss - he makes the decision. I can't make the decision but what I said is that I feel good - great - and I hope that I can play on the pitch."

Vermaelen also questioned the criticism Arsenal have received for their defensive frailties. He said: "There is always criticism and complaining about Arsenal's defence. What can I say about it? It does not worry me at all. I am on the pitch to do my best. I am confident and don't care what people say.

"There has always been criticism. I don't know. I think that the most important thing is that, for the most part, we win games - we have won eight from 10 and drawn one. That is the most important thing. Of course it is not only about defence, [it's also about] the shape of the team, the organisation - and that is something really important in the game and something that we can really improve on.

"It is difficult to talk about a partnership as we have four or five centre-backs in the squad and it is up to the boss who plays. We know each other's qualities. If I play with Laurent, [Johan] Djourou or [Sebastien] Squillaci we know each other's qualities and you have to cope with it every game. It is not an excuse that you don't play or train a lot with each other."