Premier League

Thomas Vermaelen's reaction to Arsenal axe earns Arsene Wenger's praise

Thomas Vermaelen: Arsenal captain praised for positive reaction to being dropped

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Arsene Wenger has paid tribute to skipper Thomas Vermaelen for his reaction to being dropped from the Arsenal side.

Vermaelen has been watching from the bench since the north London derby defeat by Spurs, but he is set to return to the side when Arsenal take on Norwich on Saturday.

The Belgium international centre-back, who took over the armband when Robin van Persie left for Manchester United, gets a chance to return because of the red card shown to Per Mertesacker at West Brom last weekend.

"He is a great man and I didn't make him captain by coincidence. I knew there is something mentally special there."

Arsene Wenger

"He took it in a remarkable way [when he lost his place]," Wenger said. "He is a great man and I didn't make him captain by coincidence. I knew there is something mentally special there.

"Vermaelen responds in positive situations and in less positive situations like when you don't play.

"They know there could be rotation with the three centre-backs from the start of the season, depending on good and less good periods of any individual player. He [Vermaelen] took that remarkably well."

Wenger hopes his side will come out with all guns blazing against the Canaries and feels they are at their best when they get off to a quick start.

He added: "Once we are in front, the teams who usually defend against us have to come out and that gives us space to develop our game even better. That shows you that when we start our games in a positive way, we can dominate.

"It shows you just how important the confidence is to go into the games and to have a strong start."