Thomas Vermaelen: I still have a future
Arsenal captain Thomas Vermaelen is sure he still has a future at the club, despite having found himself on the substitutes’ bench for the majority of the season.
• McNicholas: Missed opportunity to make a statement
Vermaelen, 27, made his first Premier League start of the campaign for the Gunners in Sunday's 1-0 defeat at Manchester United as he partnered Laurent Koscielny in the centre of defence.
His chance, though, only came about after Per Mertesacker picked up a virus just before the game. However, the Belgium international insists he still has a role to play for Arsene Wenger’s side this term.
“I'm still confident I can play for this club,” he said. “I keep reading stories that I want to leave. But that's not the case. I'm still focused on the team. I am always positive.
“In any case, it is not about my situation. It's what the team do and I am really happy that we're top of the league.”
Robin van Persie once again scored against his former club, as Arsenal saw their lead at the top of the Premier League slip from five points to two.
Vermaelen did not feel that his own late inclusion in the team had a negative impact, however, as he said he was fully prepared to play anyway.
“It wasn't hard. I go into every game ready to play. I always make sure I'm mentally ready and physically ready to play, so it wasn't difficult,” he said.
“I knew it could happen at any moment so I'm always ready. I've been saying it for weeks and months and all of a sudden it happened.”
Information from the Press Association was used in this report