Thomas Vermaelen talks up Arsenal spirit following draw with Everton

 

No-one can fault the mentality of the Arsenal squad as they battle to get back into the top four of the Barclays Premier League, according to captain Thomas Vermaelen.

The Gunners drew 1-1 at Everton last night, taking an early lead through Theo Walcott only for Marouane Fellaini to equalise.

After also failing to beat Aston Villa at the weekend, Arsenal are down in seventh, five points behind West Brom and third-placed Chelsea.

Defender Vermaelen insists the team are showing all the signs needed to push forwards, having extended their unbeaten run to four matches in all competitions.

"Mentality-wise, there is nothing wrong with the team," Vermaelen said on Arsenal Player.

"Everybody works hard and there is no-one who doesn't work for the team, and that will give you results, from that point of view I am very happy."

Vermaelen, though, accepts there is room for improvement ahead of Saturday's visit of Swansea.

"In the first minute we scored a good goal, and after that we dominated, but gave them chances because we were a little bit sloppy with the ball, so that was a bit disappointing," he said.

"In the second half we were a little bit dangerous, but didn't create too many chances.

"In the end we got a point, I don't know if we should be happy with that or not."

Walcott had set the Gunners on their way with a well-taken effort on 52 seconds in what was only his fourth league start of the season.

The 23-year-old, yet to pen a new contract extension, feels his killer instinct in front of goal is improving all the time.

"Those are the sort of positions that this season and in the last few seasons I have been quite deadly in," Walcott said.

"When given a little sniff I am able to take it now. The goals [I have scored] show that.

"My general play [is getting better] as well. The assists are coming now, which is fantastic, and I am enjoying my football.

"I am very happy with the way I have started and it has got to continue. Hopefully I will take it into Saturday's game."

Manager Arsene Wenger revealed Walcott, just back from a shoulder injury, was carrying an ankle problem during the second half, while defender Laurent Koscielny is expected to be sidelined for up to a month after coming off after less than five minutes with a groin injury.

German forward Lukas Podolski, meanwhile, missed out because of a chest infection and will be assessed ahead of Saturday's match.

Wenger feels his squad have shown "100% commitment" in recent performances, which included securing a place in the knockout stages of the Champions League ahead of next week's final Group B game against Olympiacos.

"We have given a lot and we have some players who play on the edge. Hopefully they will recover for Saturday," the Arsenal manager said.

Wenger remains positive for the challenges ahead.

"If you look at the Premier League at the moment we have played 14 games, eight away, and now we have played at the two Liverpool clubs and the two Manchester clubs," he said.

"If we play well at home and get the results at home we have a chance to come back, that is our job now.

"We have rebuilt a new team, we have Jack Wilshere back and hopefully we can go from strength to strength.

"We have the spirit, but we have some room for improvement in the final third. Overall, though, when you have the spirit you have the chance.

"We have to show that now by being consistent."

PA

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