After going on a fantastic run of ten consecutive victories since defeat to Aston Villa on the opening day of the season, the Gunners have stuttered as of late, and have won only twice in all competitions since then.
They drew away at West Brom, and have twice been defeated at home in the last ten days. Their latest loss was against Chelsea, who won 2-0 at the Emirates courtesy of goals from Juan Mata and Cesar Azpilicueta to knock them out of the Capital One cup.
With the Gunners in prime form, many expected them to turn over the Blues in spite of both managers ringing in the changes. However, with Arsenal’s wait for a trophy never ceasing, the fans must have viewed this competition as the perfect trophy to end their search for silverware.
Vermaelen, who started Tuesday night’s loss to Chelsea, was very critical of the defending and bemoaned the overall result. The 27-year-old, who is no longer the first choice defender at the club, felt that the team conceded two avoidable goals to crash out of the competition.
Quoted in Arsenal’s official website, he said, “It is a bit disappointing of course. I don’t think they had a lot of chances to be honest, especially in the second half when we dominated the game. We couldn’t create a lot of chances ourselves but at the end it’s quite a disappointing result. The first goal is always important, you always want to take the lead in such a big game.”
He added, “It’s quite disappointing they got a 1-0 lead, it was a goal we could avoid – I think both goals [were avoidable]. I think we started well in the second half, pushing higher up, and we had the most possession of the ball. That’s why the second goal killed it a little bit.”
With another daunting fixture against Liverpool today, who pose a deadly strike force of Suarez and Sturridge, Wenger knows a third straight defeat at home will let all the good work done get wasted. Liverpool can climb above Arsenal with a victory, but a win for the Gunners would consolidate their position at the top and, more importantly, announce to the rest of their rivals that they mean business this season.
Vermaelen wants the club to get back to winning ways when Liverpool visits today. He said, “It’s really important for the league, we need to respond quickly. It’s good the game is on Saturday and we can respond on the defeat from Tuesday night.”
Do you think Arsenal can defeat Liverpool and send a message to their title rivals?