Thomas Vermaelen says it is “very exciting” to be at the heart of one of the closest title races in the Premier League era.

Arsenal sit at the top of the table with 22 games gone, but only nine points separate them from Everton in sixth place.

England is maybe the only league where you can get so many great games in a season, and for a player that is what you do it for

Thomas Vermaelen

Vermaelen is enjoying his team's lofty status and is eagerly anticipating the major tests to come in February and March.

“It is very exciting,” the captain told Arsenal Player. “This is what you work for as a player, you want to fight for first spot and be involved in a lot of big games.

“England is maybe the only league where you can get so many great games in a season, and for a player that is what you do it for.

“We had a tough week in the first half of the season, when we played Dortmund, Liverpool and Manchester United, but it is great to play these massive games.

“In England, anything can happen and there are always surprises every single weekend. It will be a long race until the end of the season.”

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 Rob Kelly 23 Jan 2014