Arsenal defender and captain Thomas Vermaelen knows how tricky Aston Villa will be on Saturday and believes the players will have to be at their best to ensure all three points.
The Premier League campaign gets underway on Saturday and The Gunners play host to Paul Lambert’s side who narrowly avoided relegation last season.
The Villains received good news this summer after star-striker Christian Benteke sign a contract extension at Villa Park and Vermaelen knows how tough Lambert’s men will be.
“It’ll be great to get the season underway, and I think Villa will give us a really good test,” Vermaelen told the official matchday programme.
“They were in trouble for a long time last season but picked up well towards the end. I remember playing them quite late on and they gave us a difficult game, with Santi scoring a late winner for us.
“They used a lot of young players and as a result had difficulties early on, but we can see what a talented team they have. My Belgium team-mate, Christian Benteke, adapted really quickly to the league last season and will be looking to start this one well too.
“But that’s what we want ourselves – a good start, three points and a nice performance that will keep everyone’s spirits high.”
Vermaelen had an interview for Arsenal’s match-day programme and he also revealed the latest news about his fitness and his injury issues.
“I’m doing well at the moment and my recovery is going exactly as we’d hoped,” he said.
“I’m working hard, doing long days with our physios, and hope to start running again next week. If everything goes well, I’ll need a few weeks after that to get fit again.”
Written by Alex Batt – @AlexBatt