Thomas Vermaelen insists that if Arsenal continue to demonstrate the same passion and hard work shown against Tottenham, Liverpool and AC Milan then the Gunners will not only achieve their aim of qualifying for the Champions League, but also prove themselves a force to be reckoned with in years to come. Currently in fourth place on goal difference above Chelsea, Arsene Wenger’s side can close the gap on third placed Spurs to one point this evening if they beat Newcastle United at the Emirates.
Speaking to the Arsenal official website ahead of the game, the Belgian international stressed that he and his teammates must stay focused in the final ten matches of a roller-coaster season.
“We had some good results against Tottenham and Liverpool and if we can play the way we did against AC Milan then I am not worried if we will be top four or not,” he said.
“If we play that way then we can beat any team. The thing is you have to be consistent and that is not easy in football.
“Newcastle are close behind us of course, but we have a few contenders there. Chelsea are still there, Newcastle and Liverpool.
“They [Liverpool] are 10 points behind now with a game in hand but they are all there and we have to be on the top of our game to fight for fourth and maybe third place, you never know. We can have a lot of confidence after this week with a lot of victories.
“Of course, a club like Arsenal belongs in the Champions League and we will try to achieve that for the Club, for the fans, for ourselves, for everybody. If we play the way we did in that first half on Tuesday then I am not worried about it at all.”
Pleased with the level of quality shown in the aftermath of defeats at both San Siro and the Stadium of Light, Vermaelen also paid lip service to the injuries, which have rocked the camp at regular intervals throughout the last nine months while crossing his fingers that fitness issues don’t hinder the current momentum.
“I believe in this team even though we are missing Jack Wilshere, who I believe is a world-class player, and Per Mertesacker – another great player.
“We have been missing a lot of players throughout the whole season through all sorts of injuries, so if we can keep the team fit you can see what we are capable of.”
Excited at the way Arsenal have faced down their detractors, Vermaelen also insists that this current squad can achieve much more as a group:
“I am really confident that we can do something in the following years.
“It is hard to say what has changed. What is important is to not look too far forward, to just take it game by game. If we are going to finish third or fourth you just have to focus on the game ahead of you. The most important thing now is Newcastle and to try and win that game.
“We are together, we are in the dressing room every day and we talk to each other every day. We talk about situations, we talk about what we can do better of course. Otherwise we would not be professional.”