By Rob Kelly

Thomas Vermaelen has hailed Arsenal's defensive performance against Stoke in Saturday's battling 1-1 draw at the Britannia Stadium.

Arsène Wenger's side fell behind to an early Peter Crouch goal before equalising through Robin van Persie.

Although the Gunners had further chances to win the game, they denied the hosts any real clear-cut opportunities in a strong rearguard performance. 

"We didn't give away too many chances in the whole game and that is a good thing," Vermaelen told Arsenal Player. "The whole team showed a good spirit and we fought hard - we deserved a point.

"Defensively the shape was good, with Song in front of us and he helped us a lot."

Vermaelen was pleased with the way Arsenal stuck to their passing principles against a tough Stoke side.

"If you [play] their game you would be second best," he said. "The main thing is to keep focused on your own game, with quick passing, and that is how we scored our goal.

"Next week is an important match for us now. We want to get the three points [against Norwich] and see what the other teams do that weekend. But we must focus on ourselves first."

Watch the full interview with Thomas on Arsenal Player.

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 Apr 2012