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'I expect Arsenal to do better than last year' - Vermaelen backs Emery to oversee progress with Gunners

15:07 EAT 04/09/2019
Unai Emery Arsenal 2019-20
The former Gunners defender believes his old employers are in much better shape after a summer of major changes at Emirates Stadium

Arsenal are well placed to significantly improve on their mediocre 2018-19 campaign under Unai Emery this season, according to Thomas Vermaelen.

Six new recruits arrived at Emirates Stadium over the summer, with 25 players shipped away from the club either on loan or on permanent transfers.

The Gunners have shown they can compete with Europe's top clubs in the transfer window once again, most notably bringing in highly-rated winger Nicolas Pepe from Lille for a record £72 million ($88m).

Arsenal also managed to acquire David Luiz, Kieran Tierney, Gabriel Martinelli and Dani Ceballos on loan from Real Madrid, with William Saliba signing a deal with the club before heading back to Saint Etienne on loan.

Emery's side have picked up seven points from their first four matches of the new season, securing wins over Newcastle and Burnley before losing to Liverpool and drawing at home to Spurs.

Vermaelen, who played at the Emirates between 2009 and 2014, has been impressed by the impact the Spanish boss has had in north London and he expects the Gunners to improve after a strong summer of business in the transfer market.

"Arsenal have improved with the players they got in the summer. I think they did a good job in the transfer market," the Vissel Kobe centre-back told Sky Sports.

"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 finished fifth in the Premier League last term, missing out on a place in the Champions League in the process.

They have been tipped to launch another bid for a spot in the top four, but they will also be aiming to go one better in the Europe League, after losing to Chelsea in 2019's final.

The Gunners find themselves in fifth place yet again heading into the international break, with a tough trip to Watford up next on September 15.

Emery will then prepare his side for a Europa League opener against Eintracht Frankfurt four days later, as the 2019-20 campaign starts to get into full swing.