By Chris Harris

Thomas Vermaelen has proved once and for all that size isn't everything, according to Arsène Wenger.

There were a few murmurs of concern when the Belgian centre back signed for Arsenal in June, as critics suggested that Vermaelen lacked the height to cope with the Premier League's most direct teams.

Vermaelen dispelled any fears at Goodison Park on Saturday. Everton are one of the top flight's finest set-piece exponents and score more than their fair share of headed goals but Arsenal's new boy dealt comfortably with Jo, Marouane Fellaini and Joleon Lescott when the home side went forward.

Vermaelen underlined his aerial superiority with a powerful header from Robin van Persie's free-kick during the first half and he was just as impressive on the ground, distributing the ball with assurance and forging a solid partnership with William Gallas at the back. After the game Wenger paid tribute to the 23-year-old debutant.

"We liked Thomas when he played against us for Ajax," said the manager.

"We kept watching him and we liked what he did. He has shown that he has a good chance to adapt and become a good asset for us.

"He is good in the air. Many people had question marks about him in the air because of his size. But what I saw in the air was quite reassuring; being good in the air is not always linked with the size and he has shown that against Everton."

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17 Aug 2009