Thomas Vermaelen encouraged by Arsenal display

 

Thomas Vermaelen is certain that Arsenal will qualify for the Champions League if they can keep repeating the kind of display that saw them rip apart AC Milan last night.

Goals from Laurent Koscielny, Tomas Rosicky and captain Robin van Persie gave the Gunners a resounding 3-0 lead against the seven-time European champions, but they were unable to grab the fourth goal that would have taken the tie to extra-time and they bowed out of the competition.

It was always going to take something special for Arsene Wenger's men to bounce back from their 4-0 capitulation in the San Siro three weeks ago, but the Gunners squad are now full of confidence heading in to the last quarter of the season.

Since that hammering in Italy, Arsenal have thrashed Tottenham and beaten Liverpool to move in to fourth in the Barclays Premier League - three points ahead of Chelsea.

Arsenal have suffered from woeful inconsistency all season but Vermaelen is convinced that his team-mates are now producing the kind of performances that show they deserve to be in the Champions League next term.

"If we can play like (we did last night), there is no way that we will not be in the top four," the Belgian said.

"That performance will give us a boost now.

"We are out of the Champions League but we need to take the great feeling out of this game.

"It's really important that we qualify for the Champions League.

"I think Arsenal are a team that belongs in the Champions League.

"We have the quality to do it, that showed in the second leg."

Arsenal cruised through their group stage but came unstuck in the first leg of the last-16 tie, collapsing to a 4-0 defeat which Wenger labelled "shocking".

Vermaelen admits the Gunners must improve their performances in the knockout stages next year if they qualify for the competition again.

"We have learned that we have to do better in the away games. We were not ourselves in Milan. It was not Arsenal," he said.

"The way we played in the second leg was Arsenal. We should be more consistent over two legs next year."

No team in the Champions League era has overturned a four-goal deficit in the knockout stages, but Arsenal made light work of the huge task ahead of them, racing into a 3-0 lead by half-time against the Serie A leaders before running out of energy in the second period.

Right-back Bacary Sagna admitted the team's performance in the opening period was the best he has seen.

He said: "I honestly can't remember us playing that well in a first half before.

"We played without any pressure. We had nothing to lose. We could only score goals but it was not enough.

"It is disappointing to go out but it will give us some momentum going in to the game against Newcastle (on Monday)."

PA

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Solved after 200 years: the mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army

Solved after 200 years

The mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army
Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise

Robert Fisk on the Turkey conflict

Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise
Investigation into wreck of unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden

Sunken sub

Investigation underway into wreck of an unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden
Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes

Age of the selfie

Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes
Not so square: How BBC's Bloomsbury saga is sexing up the period drama

Not so square

How Virginia Woolf saga is sexing up the BBC period drama
Rio Olympics 2016: The seven teenagers still carrying a torch for our Games hopes

Still carrying the torch

The seven teenagers given our Olympic hopes
The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis, but history suggests otherwise

The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis...

...but history suggests otherwise
The bald truth: How one author's thinning hair made him a Wayne Rooney sympathiser

The bald truth

How thinning hair made me a Wayne Rooney sympathiser
Froome wins second Tour de France after triumphant ride into Paris with Team Sky

Tour de France 2015

Froome rides into Paris to win historic second Tour
Fifteen years ago, Concorde crashed, and a dream died. Today, the desire to travel faster than the speed of sound is growing once again

A new beginning for supersonic flight?

Concorde's successors are in the works 15 years on from the Paris crash
I would never quit Labour, says Liz Kendall

I would never quit party, says Liz Kendall

Latest on the Labour leadership contest
Froome seals second Tour de France victory

Never mind Pinot, it’s bubbly for Froome

Second Tour de France victory all but sealed
Oh really? How the 'lowest form of wit' makes people brighter and more creative

The uses of sarcasm

'Lowest form of wit' actually makes people brighter and more creative
A magazine editor with no vanity, and lots of flair

No vanity, but lots of flair

A tribute to the magazine editor Ingrid Sischy
Foraging: How the British rediscovered their taste for chasing after wild food

In praise of foraging

How the British rediscovered their taste for wild food