Arsenal star believes Manchester City will be surprised by Gunners’ strength

10:24 21 September 2012

Manchester City's Mario Balotelli (left) and Arsenal's Thomas Vermaelen (right) battle for the ball

Manchester City's Mario Balotelli (left) and Arsenal's Thomas Vermaelen (right) battle for the ball

PA Archive/Press Association Images

Gunners skipper Vermaelen feels club’s summer signings have made them stronger

Arsenal captain Thomas Vermaelen says Sunday’s trip to Manchester City will be a “massive game” for his side, but believes that the Gunners’ new signings have made them stronger than last season.

Tuesday night’s 2-1 Champions League win in Montpellier extended Arsenal’s unbeaten start to the campaign to five games, and they head to City sitting third in the Premier League table.

However, City have not lost at home for 32 league games dating back to December 2010 and Gunners skipper Vermaelen knows the odds are stacked against Arsenal ending that impressive run, although Arsenal’s 1-0 victory over City at the Emirates in April was their last league defeat.

“It is a test of course at City but you don’t win or lose the championship in one game,” said Vermaelen. “They are the champions of last season and it is a massive game for us.

“But our squad looks strong at the moment. It looks like a lot of players are fit and a lot of important players are getting fit as well who are injured now.

“A year ago we had a lot of injuries. I remember when we played against Liverpool [in August 2011]. I think it was the second game we played, and we had a lot of young guys [and lost 2-0].

“The new players will score a lot of goals. Lukas [Podolski] scored again and [Santi] Cazorla is really obvious with how he plays – he is world class. And [Olivier] Giroud too. It looks good.

“I think the whole team works together. The shape of the team means we don’t concede a lot of chances,” added Vermaelen, who paid credit to new assistant manager Steve Bould, the former Gunners defender who stepped into the dugout to replace banned Arsene Wenger in Montpellier.

“He has a lot of experience. He played as a centre-back so for me personally I am really happy with him,” said Vermaelen. “We train a lot of tactical work as well in the whole season, and we keep working on our shape and organisation. You can see that on the pitch.

“That is good and something we need as well. Like I said, he brings us a lot of experience and he has a lot of ambition as well. He wants us to win and you can see that he puts a lot of effort in.”

The form of Vermaelen and central defensive partner Per Mertesacker has meant Laurent Koscielny, arguably Arsenal’s best defender last season, has remained on the substitutes’ bench so far in this campaign.

The Frenchman could come into the side at City, however, and Vermaelen added: “That is a good sign if you have a player like him on the bench. Maybe he was one of the most important players last season and he is on the bench now.

“That means we are doing well as a team. It is always good to have a strong bench as well and if you see the players we have there, that pleases me.”


Latest Islington Sports News

Friday, October 21, 2016

Unbeaten Archway light-middleweight Tony Milch intends to demonstrate his championship credentials when he returns to the ring at York Hall next month.

Friday, October 21, 2016

On paper at least, the Gunners face a fairly straightforward contest against a misfiring Middlesbrough side at the Emirates on Saturday. Indeed, William Hill’s 12/1 odds, posted in favour of an away win, provide a clear indication of the strength of Arsenal’s favouritism.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Islington BC’s Jerome Campbell praised his coaching team after reaching the last four of the National Development Championship with a confident display on Sunday.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Oleg Yurkevyah and Constantin Tronciu both netted hat-tricks for Niva FC as they thrashed Wounded Knee 8-0 in the Hackney & Leyton League Premier Division.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Arsenal’s first match against Bulgarian opposition was a successful one, as Arsene Wenger’s men ran out comfortable 6-0 winners on matchday three of the Uefa Champions League group stage.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Andy Maud finished second on his Metropolitan League debut to lead Highgate Harriers to victory in their opening race of the season at Claybury.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Six successive Premier League wins on the bounce mean Arsenal take on Middlesbrough on Saturday at the Emirates as joint leaders.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Theo Walcott has warned his Arsenal teammates not to be complacent ahead of their Champions League match against Bulgarian opponents Ludogrets at The Emirates on tomorrow evening.

Newsletter Sign Up

Most read sport


Show Job Lists


Cosmetics, toiletries, vitamins and more. Boots is the number one choice when it comes to purchasing daily essentials.

If you’re obsessed with Apple or just love a good gadget, this is a prize that will blow you away! An incredible £3,333 to spend on Apple goodies! How would you like to be the proud new owner of the Apple Watch?

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Islington Gazette
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now