Thomas Vermaelen got his first home start of this Premier League season as he helped Arsenal to a 0-0 draw against title rivals, Chelsea.
|MAN OF THE MATCH
Arsenal 0-0 Chelsea
Forget what they say about Stoke on a wet Wednesday night, Chelsea and Fernando Torres couldn’t do it on a wet Monday night at Emirates Stadium as they could only draw with Arsenal. The heavy rain and strong winds didn’t create the best of conditions for eye-catching football to be displayed. It was a stop-start match and probably less appealing to the neutrals than those with vested interest in either team.
Thomas Vermaelen started in only his second Premier League match of the season, the only other one coming at Old Trafford. The club captain has been in the shadows due to the form of Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny as a pair. Shrugging off the cobwebs, Vermaelen slotted in almost seamlessly and ensured that WojciechSzczesny didn’t have to worry about slippery balls squirming out of his gloves.
It was not a flawless performance from the Belgian, by any stretch of the imagination. However, Vermaelen still caught the attention with his Emirates return and showed a glimpse of his former self, maybe even serving a reminder to Arsene Wenger that he isn’t out for the count yet.
Vermaelen was quick to the second balls, on hand to clear when Per Mertesacker or Kieran Gibbs is beaten. His spring remains as good, continually winning the aerial challenges. One thing that could be pointed out is his positional discipline. He doesn’t charge out of defence as much as he used to do. There’s an inclination to keep it simple and ensure first and foremost that possession is retained. Something which will bode well for Vermaelen, in the eyes of Wenger.
The draw won’t fit either team’s agenda, heading into the busy festive period. It’s all looking very tight at the top, with 5 teams within 2 points of each other. Vermaelen and his team mates will be hoping that come January, there won’t be any regrets over the dropped points in this match.