Arsenal captain Thomas Vermaelen pleased with fitness progress

Thomas Vermaelen pleased with the progress he is making as the Arsenal captain aims to return to full fitness after injury

thomas vermaelen
Thomas Vermaelen has been out of action with a back injury Photo: Nike

Thomas Vermaelen is pleased with the progress he is making as the Arsenal captain aims to return to full fitness following his lengthy injury lay-off.

The Belgium international has spent three months on the sidelines after aggravating a back injury in pre-season but played 120 minutes in last week’s League Cup win over West Bromwich.

And the 27-year-old says he is happy with how his rehabilitation has been going as he looks to break back into the Gunners’ first team.

“Two hours of football was a challenge for me after three months out, but I was really happy to come through it and was actually quite surprised at how I well I felt in the couple of days afterwards,” Vermaelen told Arsenal’s official matchday programme.

“It wasn’t easy, of course, but I felt good physically. I worked hard during my injury so I am happy with how things have turned out.”

Vermaelen is expecting a difficult game when Napoli travel to Emirates Stadium in the Champions League on Tuesday night.

“It should be a really exciting game against Napoli,” he continued.

“We saw what a good team they are at the Emirates Cup, and they have brought that into the new season – staying unbeaten in the league so far and having a great result against Borussia Dortmund.”

Arsenal v Napoli: Pre-match facts

• This is Arsenal’s 16th successive Champions League campaign, longevity bettered only by Manchester United (18) and Real Madrid (17).

• Arsenal have won nine in a row in all competitions since starting their season with a 3-1 home defeat by Aston Villa, although they needed penalties to edge out West Bromwich Albion in the League Cup last Wednesday.

• Mesut Özil was a team-mate of Gonzalo Higuaín, Jose María Callejón and Raúl Albiol at Real Madrid.

• Gonzalo Higuaín’s next appearance in the Champions League will be his 50th in the competition (48 with Real Madrid). He has scored nine goals.

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