By Chris Harris

Thomas Vermaelen believes this season is probably his best ever - even though it's not over yet.

The Belgian defender was a relative unknown when he moved to Emirates Stadium from Ajax last summer but the 24-year-old has been a revelation in his debut campaign in English football.

He has missed just one game in the Premier League - serving a suspension at Birmingham on Saturday - and has added steel to the Arsenal back four. What's more Vermaelen has surprised everyone with his eye for goal, scoring eight times already.

He faces perhaps his biggest test yet against Lionel Messi et al on Wednesday night but Vermaelen already rates this season as a memorable one.

"For me it is the first time I have played for such a big club," he said.

"It is a new season in a new League and I am enjoying it a lot. I am very happy to play and maybe it is one of the best seasons I have achieved.

"But I have no time to be proud. I am still only 24 and there is room for me to develop as a player. I am happy at the moment, but things can be better in the future."

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30 Mar 2010