Vermaelen confident on fitness
Arsenal defender Thomas Vermaelen believes his injury woes are finally at an end.
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."