By Chris Harris

Thomas Vermaelen is relishing the chance to play in one of the biggest games of any footballer's career.

The Belgian centre back sat out the weekend trip to Birmingham after earning a one-match suspension but he is expected to return to face Barcelona in the Champions League on Wednesday night.

Vermaelen represented Ajax in Europe before joining Arsenal last summer but he has never tasted an occasion as big as this. And, typically, the 24-year-old cannot wait to get started.

"It is one of the biggest games you can play in, against one of the best sides in the world," he said at a pre-match press conference.

"However, it's important to play as a team and hopefully we can show how good we are. You do not have to be nervous or look at individual players. They have good players, but you also have to play as a team.

"We have to be mentally strong and we have showed that in the past this season. If you want to win the Champions League, you have to beat the best teams."

Copyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 30 Mar 2010