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The Belgian centre-back was disappointed that his side could not hold on to their lead against the MLS side, who's late equaliser was enough to secure the Emirates Trophy

Thomas Vermaelen was disappointed that Arsenal let another lead slip against the New York Red Bulls.

A late Kyle Bartley own goal condemned the Gunners to a 1-1 draw, which was enough for the Americans to lift the Emirates Trophy, a competition the hosts had won in four of the last five years.

They had led through a Robin van Persie first-half header, but for the second time in two days they proved unable to get all three points.

The draw proved to be a disappointment for Vermaelen, who felt his side should have been able to see the game out against the shot-shy visitors.

“It was a close game. They were not really physical, but they were close and really disciplined in their play," he told ESPN after the match.

“First, it was difficult to get great chances. We scored one goal and that should have been enough because they didn’t have enough chances in this game. Unfortunately they scored at the end."

The equalising goal was partly due to a brilliant Thierry Henry pass as the Frenchman returned to the Emirates, much to the fans' delight.

Asked about the great reception he received throughout the match, the Belgian said it was fully justified for his exploits at the club where he is the record goal-scorer.

“I think it’s good for him, he’s happy to be here on the pitch. He had a warm welcome from the crowd as well so for him it was a good return," he added.

“He achieved a lot for Arsenal, he did a lot for the club, the crowd did something back for him and you can see that today.

Vermaelen missed most of last season through injury and his absence was keenly felt by the Gunners who struggled defensively without him.

Now back to full fitness and having enjoyed a full pre-season, he is hoping to carry on the form he had shown in his debut season two years ago into the new campaign.

“I’m happy to be back of course. I played the last two games last season before the holidays, so I was happy with that. I hope I can play more games this year than last year," he said.

“I think we’ve had a good four weeks behind us now, we have two weeks to prepare for the Newcastle game and I think we’re ready for that.”

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