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playerprofile_vermaelen

Thomas Vermaelen

Club captain Thomas Vermaelen continued to be an important component of the Arsenal defence in 2012/13.

In his first season with the armband, the Belgian international largely partnered Per Mertesacker in central defence before being mainly used from the bench in the final two months. Always determined to lead by example on and off the pitch, he produced a year of wholehearted performances characterised by his famous leap, tough tackling and effective distribution from the back. He also showcased his versatility, featuring at left back on six occasions – including the 5-2 win over Spurs in November – and looking just as assured in his second position.

A popular member of the squad who takes his role as captain very seriously, Thomas joined Arsenal from Ajax in the summer of 2009 and became a firm favourite among the fanbase with a series of dynamic performances, punctuated by some spectacular goals. He was duly named in the PFA Premier League Team of the Season at the end of his debut year.

Thomas is no stranger to the captain’s armband, having previously held the role at Ajax – where he spent nine years after joining from Germinal Beerschot – in his early twenties.

Thomas Vermaelen Profile

Born November 14, 1985
Kapellen, Belgium
Position: Defender
Squad Number: 5
Previous Club(s) AFC Ajax Amsterdam, RKC Waalwijk (Loan), KFC Germinal Beerschot
Arsenal Debut August 15, 2009

He has also skippered the Belgium national team, and is close to earning his 50th cap. He represented his country at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, and remains a regular at the heart of their back four.

Thomas Vermaelen's Arsenal Career

  Prem Lge Europe FA Cup Lge Cup Total
Season Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
2009-2010 33 7 11 1 1 0 0 0 45 8
2010-2011 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 5 0
2011-2012 28 + 1 6 7 0 2 0 1 + 1 0 38 + 2 6
2012-2013 25 + 4 0 7 0 2 0 1 1 35 + 4 1
2013-2014 7 + 6 0 1 + 1 0 3 0 2 0 13 + 7 0
Total 98 + 11 13 26 + 1 1 8 0 4 + 1 1 136 + 13 15

My Year

  • 2013/14
  • 2012/13
  • 2011/12
  • 2010/11
  • 2009/10

August

A back injury kept Thomas out of all of Arsenal's games in August.

September

Thomas returned to the first-team squad for the game against Sunderland and came on for the last 10 minutes. The Club captain's only start came in the penalty shoot-out win against West Brom in the Capital One Cup but the Belgian defender insisted he is not worried about his lack of action at the moment. "I'm still so proud to be captain of this club," Thomas said. "A great captain is somebody who wants to be a leader not just on the pitch but on the training field as well."

October

It was another frustrating month for the skipper as he was restricted to just one appearance which came in the 2-0 defeat against Chelsea in the Capital One Cup. "The first goal is always important, you always want to take the lead in such a big game," Vermaelen told Arsenal Player. "It's quite disappointing they got a 1-0 lead, it was a goal we could avoid. I think both goals were avoidable."

November

It was another frustrating month for the Club captain after he was restricted to just one appearance which came in the defeat to Manchester United.

December

Thomas made three appearances for the first team in December. The Belgian defender replaced an injured Laurent Koscielny during the game against Manchester City and played the following two games against Chelsea and West Ham. Arsenal had a nine-day gap after the defeat to Man City which helped the squad to recover from a busy schedule according to the skipper. "Normally training at this time of year is mainly about recovery," said Thomas. "But we have been able to work on more things over the past week, so as I said it's been a bit of a luxury. You can see it out on the training pitches actually. Often we have some reserve or youth players joining in the sessions, but we've virtually got a full squad training now, and it's been a long time since we have had that - probably not since pre-season."

January

It was a frustrating month for Thomas after he suffered a knee injury in the first half of the win against Tottenham, keeping him out for three weeks. The Belgian defender returned to the squad for the final game of the month against Southampton but had to watch from the bench. Arsenal's defence continued to receive widespread praise and Vermaelen insists the team are well-equipped to handle pressured situations. "I think it's just [down to] hard work over the years," he told Arsenal Player. "We've been working on it and, with the discipline and shape of the team, players feel more confident because they've done it before and that makes it more calm."

February

A knee injury kept Thomas out of action for the whole of February.

March

Thomas featured in six of Arsenal's seven games in March with four starts to his name. The club captain put in a commanding performance in the 4-1 win over Everton before filling in at left back for the injured Kieran Gibbs against Bayern Munich. After Laurent Koscielny suffered an injury in the Chelsea game, Thomas partnered Per Mertesacker at the back for the rest of the month and helped to secure a hard-fought draw against Manchester City in the final game of March. Arsene Wenger reached his 1,000th game in charge of the club in March and Vermalen was full of praise for the boss. "It's incredible - not a lot of managers do that nowadays because they come in and out so for him to achieve 1,000 games is something unbelievable,” he said. "Everybody wants him to stay as long as he can. He's been incredible with what he's done for this club and for the players as well. We would be really happy to see him signing on for a few more years."

August

Thomas took up the captaincy and remained an integral part of Arsene Wenger's first team, playing against Sunderland and Stoke as the Gunners kept clean two sheets. "It makes me really happy and proud to be Arsenal captain - it's a real honour," said the defender. "I won't change the way I am, though."

September

Thomas captained Arsenal to three victories in September. After being unavialable for the game against Manchester City, he returned to the side for the visit of Chelsea.

October

Captain Thomas made five appearances during October, missing only the Capital One Cup win over Reading. The defender helped the Club to keep a clean sheet against QPR.

November

Thomas made six appearances in November. The defender was deployed at both centre half and full back.

December

Thomas played every minute of every game during December, scoring a late equaliser against Bradford before missing the decisive kick in the Capital One Cup penalty shoot-out. "We had a lot to prove," said Vermaelen after the 5-2 win at Reading. "A lot of people questioned us and maybe that’s normal but we wanted to perform and we think we did that. If you play for a team like Arsenal, there are always going to be people outside who are going to question the manager and the team. The thing is, you have to stay united and work hard on the training pitch because we are the only ones who know what’s going on in the team. What people say outside is just part of the job.”

January

Thomas made six appearances in January, captaining the side to victories against Swansea and West Ham United. He picked up an ankle injury against the Hammers.

February

Thomas recovered from injury in time to start Arsenal’s final three games of the month. With Nacho Monreal injured and Kieran Gibbs suspended, the Club captain was deployed at left back against Bayern Munich.

March

Thomas was named in the Arsenal squad for every fixture in March, and completed 90 minutes of action against Tottenham Hotspur at the beginning of the month. “They are two outstanding players who are part of our squad,” Arsene Wenger said after leaving Thomas and Wojciech Szczesny out of his starting line-up against Bayern Munich. “They have played so many games until now. Their position is very important in the squad.”

April

Thomas made three appearances in April. Arsenal’s captain came off the bench at West Bromwich Albion and Fulham, and started against Norwich in Per Mertesacker’s absence.

May

Thomas made two appearances from the bench in May. The captain was introduced in the dying stages to help ensure victory at Queens Park Rangers, before replacing Mikel Arteta late on in the win against Wigan Athletic.

August

Having Thomas back at the heart of the defence was a welcome sight for all Arsenal fans in August. The Belgian centre half was magnificent against Liverpool in the second game of the season, superbly countering the threat of Andy Carroll at Emirates Stadium.

September

Thomas did not feature during the month while he continued his recovery from an ankle injury.

October

Thomas made his long-awaited return from injury at the end of the month, starting against Bolton in the Carling Cup to help the team progress to the Quarter-Finals. He also came on as a late substitute in the 5-3 victory over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. “Personally I don't believe in that [needing games to regain sharpness]," he said. "If I come back from injury after a long time I don't believe in coming back and getting rhythm.”

November

Thomas continued his seamless transition back into first-team football with a fine month in defence. The Belgian scored in the Premier League fixtures against West Brom and Fulham as well as helping Arsene Wenger's side to Champions League progression. “There’s a lot of competition and that can only be good for the team," he said. “It’s good to be able to rest players when they need it, so I don’t think it’s a problem."

December

Thomas proved crucial to the team's excellent run of form, featuring heavily at left back to fill in for the injured Andre Santos and Kieran Gibbs. He was injured himself in the win over QPR, however. "If you are winning games then you are in the mood, you are positive and your confidence just goes up," he said. "That's what's happened with this team."

January

Thomas continued to fill in at left back in the absences of Kieran Gibbs and Andre Santos, but featured only against Manchester United and Aston Villa after picking up a calf injury against QPR in December. “I want to play at Wembley because I haven’t done that yet,” he said. "It’s a really nice stadium, I was there at the Carling Cup final last season, so I got a chance to see it even if I didn’t play. The atmosphere was fantastic, so it would be amazing to play there."

February

Thomas continued to fill in at left back at the beginning of the month before reverting to his more familiar central role upon Kieran Gibbs' return. He featured in all three Premier League victories, playing a crucial role in the 5-2 win over Tottenham.

March

Thomas remained an ever-present on Arsene Wenger's teamsheet, starting in every one of Arsenal's six fixtures over March. He scored a late winner against Newcastle at Emirates Stadium and followed that up with the only goal in the 1-0 victory over Everton at Goodison Park nine days later. "He is an absolute soldier, someone you’d always want in front of you and a real leader who just wants to win," said team-mate Theo Walcott. “To see him banging in another big goal at Everton was great. I’m happy for him - he had his injury problems last season but he’s one of the best defenders in the world without a doubt.”

April

Thomas featured in every game in April, helping Arsenal keep clean sheets against Manchester City, Wolves and Chelsea. He also scored in the 2-1 home defeat to Wigan. "Thomas Vermaelen has been absolutely vital for us," said Arsene Wenger. “He has a nose in the box to find a goal where it is needed and I must say he is a good finisher. He is the only one, along with Robin, who gets on the end of crosses with headers. When you see him head the ball you have hope that he will score because he really goes for it."

May

Thomas featured in Arsenal's final two matches of the season to help the team secure third place.

August

Thomas started all three Arsenal games in August. At the start of the month the defender expressed his belief that silverware will make its way to Emirates Stadium at the end of the season. “I'm always confident that we can win it [the title]," he said. "It’s our ambition to win it and we will do it this year." Off the pitch he attended the launch of the Gunners' partnership with new Charity of the Season, Centrepoint.

September

An Achilles injury picked up while on international duty with Belgium at the start of the month kept Thomas out of action for the whole of September.

October

Thomas missed the whole month of October with an Achilles injury.

November

Thomas’ Achilles injury again kept him out of action during the whole of November. Arsène Wenger admitted there was 'no logical explanation' for his ongoing problem. "We have to be patient. We know a lot medically nowadays but there are some mysteries that we do not know about. At the moment we have no rational explanation for his pain.”

December

Thomas missed the whole of December but was penciled in for a return at the end of the January. When asked for a time-scale for the Belgian’s comeback, Arsene Wenger was understandably wary given the centre back had been absent since August. "He is short on fitness and we have to build it up. He has started now and the signs are good. But I have been hit so many times with backlash that I am very cautious with Vermaelen," he said.

January

Thomas underwent a procedure to cure his troublesome tendon injury in January.

February

Arsène Wenger stated that Thomas would make his comeback in the Reserves before returning to the first team. However, the central defender remained on the sidelines throughout February.

March

Despite having surgery to correct his tendon problem, Thomas was ruled out for the remainder of the season. “For Thomas Vermaelen the season is over,” confirmed Arsène Wenger. “In fairness he has not played since September, I never expected him to be fit before the end of the season. He is not out on the field yet and it is impossible [for him to play] after six months without competition. I am confident he will have a full recovery but for this season we cannot rely on him.”

April

Thomas was back in full training after missing most of the season with tendon problems. "Thomas is still not competitive but he works very hard and we can give him a competitive edge in training because it takes a while,” said Arsène Wenger. “Thomas is a player who works very hard, he wants always to improve and he will get that from training."

May

Thomas returned to the Arsenal side after an eight-month spell on the sidelines against Aston Villa and came through the 90 minutes unscathed. The Belgian centre half also started at Fulham on the final day of the Premier League season.

August

Thomas made an incredible start to his Arsenal career with a goal on debut as the Gunners put six past Everton at Goodison Park. Vermaelen headed home Arsenal's second from Robin van Persie's free kick. The Belgian started all five games in August and slotted comfortably into the back line, something he said was partly down to the experience of William Gallas.

September

Thomas continued the fine start he has made to his Gunners career with three goals in five games during September. He prodded home Arsenal's equaliser at Standard Liege before bagging a brace at home to Wigan. The first goal was a header from a corner and the second a fine strike from 18 yards.

October

After becoming the first new signing in Arsenal history to scoop the Gunners' Player of the Month award in this first two months at the Club, Thomas scored the first goal in the 6-2 win over Blackburn Rovers. The defender struck the ball hard into the bottom corner from 20 yards to equalise for Arsenal after Rovers had taken an early lead.

November

Thomas started all five of Arsenal's games in November and played the long ball Samir Nasri took control of to score the Gunners' first goal of a 2-0 win over Standard Liege. Thomas scored for Belgium as they beat Hungary 3-0 in an international friendly.

December

Thomas played in all six of Arsenal's Premier League fixtures in December, helping the Gunners to clean sheets against Stoke City, Hull City and Aston Villa. Speaking after the Villa game Thomas hailed Cesc Fabregas as "the best midfielder I have played alongside".

January

Thomas started six of Arsenal's seven games in January, missing only the FA Cup trip to Stoke. The Belgian defender had to be substituted in the first half of the 0-0 draw away at Aston Villa but despite initial fears he may have broken his leg, he started the following game at home to Manchester United and scored Arsenal's goal in the 3-1 defeat. He also scored in the 4-2 home win over Bolton.

February

Thomas started in all five of Arsenal's February fixtures and scored a stoppage-time goal in the Gunners' 3-1 away win over Stoke City. The game will be remembered for the injury suffered by Aaron Ramsey and after the match Vermaelen shared his view of the incident with Arsenal TV Online. "I saw the tackle and I heard a strange noise and after that I saw his leg," he said. "It is not nice to see that, especially with a team-mate."

March

Thomas started five of Arsenal's March fixtures but he missed the 1-1 draw in Birmingham. He had been sent off against West Ham United and had his appeal rejected. He attended a pre-match press conference ahead of the Champions League Quarter-Final first leg against Barcelona and told journalists this is his best ever season. "For me it is the first time I have played for such a big club," he said. "It is a new season in a new League and I am enjoying it a lot. I am very happy to play and maybe it is one of the best seasons I have achieved.”

April

Thomas started Arsenal's first three games in April but limped off the pitch during the 2-1 defeat at Tottenham Hotspur due to a calf injury. Unfortunately for Thomas, that spelt an end to his season.

May

Thomas missed Arsenal's two fixtures in May due to a calf injury.