Thomas Vermaelen admits a settled backline has been a significant factor in Arsenal’s excellent Premier League run.

Arsène Wenger’s side have claimed nine victories in their last 11 matches, conceding just 10 goals along the way to significantly improve their chances of Champions League football next season.

The likes of Bacary Sagna, Kieran Gibbs and Vermaelen have all returned from injuries at various stages of the season and the Belgium international believes the subsequent results have been telling.

“It is always positive when you can use the same players at the back and don’t have to change too much,” Vermaelen told Saturday’s Official Matchday Programme. “I think things have gone well in the last few months.

“It wasn’t good that we conceded twice against QPR and Wigan but there has been an improvement.

“Our players are getting better and growing in experience, we’re getting to know each other more and I’m happy with how things are progressing defensively.”

Chelsea are the visitors to Emirates Stadium on Saturday and Vermaelen insists the whole team are focused on the only thing that matters - winning.

“It is an important game,” said the defender. “I don’t want to think about losing - I just want to focus on it and make sure we win. Chelsea are close behind us in the league and it will be vital to take three points at home.

“I am confident we will - we showed against Manchester City a couple of weeks ago that we can put great performances in against the other teams at the top. It was more disappointing against Wigan, but we only have our eyes on winning the game.

“Their season has been quite similar to ours. They have had ups and downs and at the moment they are in good form – as their win against Barcelona demonstrates.

“Their confidence will be high, but we have been on a good run ourselves over the last couple of months so we are feeling confident too. It is definitely a game that people can look forward to.”

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21 Apr 2012