Future's Gunner be great says Vermaelen
Published 22:30 22/03/12 By David Maddock
Thomas Vermaelen believes his Arsenal side have found the spirit that promises them a brighter future.
The Gunners moved into the top three for the first time all season - leapfrogging over arch-rivals Tottenham in the process - with a determined display at Everton that saw them win 1-0, thanks to a goal from their inspirational centre-half.
It was the sort of game the London club have routinely lost in the past, but their show of strength was light years away from their dismal early season form, which saw the expected title challengers fall to an embarrassing 17th by the start of October.
Even little more than six weeks ago they were 12 points behind Spurs, which raised serious questions about the future of under-fire boss Arsene Wenger.
But since then Arsenal have shown a heart for the fight and rattled off six straight league wins, and their Belgian centre-back is convinced is it is the start of better things to come.
"We are always confident, especially if we keep winning games as we are. We've had some good results, against some difficult teams as well," insisted Vermaelen.
"Look at the win at Everton, who have beaten teams like Manchester City and Tottenham, so everyone knows it's not an easy place to come and get a result.
"But we have shown good mentality again, winning a lot of duels at the back and that's why we have got the three points.
"We are very confident at the moment. We have a great spirit in the team, and we have to keep that going."
It has been a complete transformation in fortunes for Arsenal in the last month.
With Spurs taking just one point in 12, it means the Gunners are overwhelming favourites to now take third place... and with it a massive advantage for next season, as Vermaelen explained.
"We know that being in the Champions League is very important to the team, the club, and we know that finishing third gives you straight qualification for [the group stage]," he added.
"Finish fourth and you have to play a qualifier.
"But it's not going to be easy, we know that, because there are still a lot of games to play. We'll just stay focused and see how far we go.
"But we have shown we have the spirit, and we certainly won't be looking at Tottenham, only ourselves. That's the only important thing for us now, about what we have shown we can achieve, not what other clubs are doing.
"Everyone can beat everyone else in this league and of course we had a few ups and downs at certain times earlier in the season, but now the top four is the target - maybe even the top three."
ARSENAL have loaned striker Benik Afobe, 19, to Championship promotion chasers Reading until the end of the season.