By Nick Teale
 
Thomas Vermaelen says Arsenal were underestimated at the start of the season and have proved any doubters wrong with their performances.
 
The Gunners are third in the Premier League and have collected 10 points from their four Champions League Group Stage games to date.
 
The 4-1 win over AZ Alkmaar at Emirates Stadium on Wednesday night means Arsenal are just a point away from reaching the Knockout Stages of the competition.
 
However, before the campaign began there was speculation that clubs such as Manchester City, Tottenham or Aston Villa could displace Arsène Wenger's side from the top four in the Premier League.
 
But a strong start to the season has pleased summer-signing Thomas Vermaelen who believes the Gunners have a good basis to build on.
 
"Maybe we were a little bit underestimated at the start of the season," he said.
 
"A lot of people were talking about Arsenal not being good enough to be at the top, but we have done well so far in the Premier League and Champions League and we have to keep going because there are a lot of games to play.
 
"We have some big games coming up including Chelsea. If we have a good result there, then it will be very big for us."
 
Vermaelen was pleased with the 4-1 win over AZ Alkmaar after a disappointing away result and says the Gunners are confident of progressing from the Group Stage.

"In the first game [against AZ] it was 1-1 and in the Champions League you don't expect easy games.
 
"But tonight against AZ I think we played well. We scored four goals and that is important.

"We have ten points now and that's a lot. We have two more games to play and we are almost qualified.
 
"I think we are confident if we play our own game. If we do, we can beat a lot of opponents but we have to do it in every game and that is the most difficult thing."

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 5 Nov 2009