Former Gunners man confident in new squad

Arsenal
thomas vermaelen

Ex-Arsenal defender Thomas Vermaelen says he expects his old side to have a better season than last year after their summer transfer business.

The Gunners have so far earned seven points from their opening four games of the new season and sit fifth in the table.

They narrowly beat Newcastle and Burnley in their first two games before going down 3-1 to Liverpool at Anfield a week later – although they did take some encouragement from that performance.

On Sunday, they drew 2-2 at home to arch rivals Tottenham after coming back from 2-0 down.

Strike duo Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette have both had fine goalscoring starts, while new club-record signing Nicolas Pepe has been slowly integrated into the squad.

 

The Gunners have also signed Real Madrid’s Spanish midfielder Dani Ceballos on a season-long loan deal, and he impressed in their win against Burnley at the Emirates.

Vermaelen, who represented the Gunners from 2009 to 2014 and now plays for Vissel Kobe in Japan, believes Unai Emery has a better squad at his disposal to achieve more this season.

“Arsenal have improved with the players they got in the summer. I think they did a good job in the transfer market,” he said.

“It’s a new Arsenal but it doesn’t mean it is going to be worse than last season or difficult now.

“Of course a few players have to adapt but I think there is a good manager there (Unai Emery) who wants to play football. I expect them to do better than last year.”

Arsenal have also strengthened their defence, with the signings of David Luiz and Kieran Tierney.

Luiz was a surprise deadline day capture from Chelsea, with the Brazil international signing for a fee of around £8million.

Tierney, who had been courted by Arsenal all summer, signed from Celtic for £25million but has yet to make his debut due to injury.

Arsenal also allowed several players to leave in order to lighten their squad.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan left to join Roma on a season-long loan as the transfer window closed just days after Mohamed Elneny departed for Besiktas.

Long serving duo Laurent Koscielny and Nacho Monreal both left on permanent deals to Bordeaux and Real Sociedad respectively.

Alex Iwobi signed for Everton for£28million while Aron Ramsey left on a free transfer for Juventus.

 

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