By Joe Brewin
Thomas Vermaelen believes Arsenal’s central defenders must be able to play together - whoever manager Arsène Wenger selects.
The Belgian international played alongside Per Mertesacker at the heart of defence for the first time in Tuesday night’s Champions League draw with Marseille.
Their clean sheet provides a welcome selection headache for Wenger, who has also seen Laurent Koscielny enjoy an impressive month for the Gunners.
Vermaelen believes it does not matter who is playing, so long as they can perform well together.
“You have to pair with everybody,” he said. “It doesn’t matter for me who is playing or who I am playing with, we know each other’s qualities and we know that because we are training every day with each other.
“It is up to the boss because he makes the selection of who is going to play.
“It was the first time for me and I haven’t been training with him a lot – maybe once for a few minutes. For me, it is not a problem.
“I watched him play alongside Koscielny and I have a good idea of his qualities and what he is like as a player. You have to be professional enough to cope with that.”
Vermaelen conceded his disappointment that the team did not take all three points against the French outfit at Emirates Stadium, but remained confident of Arsenal’s qualification hopes.
“Unfortunately we couldn’t score a goal – we had the intention to qualify too but it was only a draw,” he said.
“But I think Marseille are a good side and sometimes they made it quite difficult, especially at the start of the first half.
“After that, we had a lot of control, created a few chances and unfortunately we couldn’t score. The important thing is that we kept a clean sheet but we couldn’t score a goal and that is a pity.
"There is always pressure when you play football. We all wanted to qualify last night and that was the easiest way to do it but we got a point and we have to look forward and we have to win those [games].
“We always go into a game to win it, especially at home so it would be better for us if we got a good result against Dortmund.”Copyright 2017 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