Belfast Telegraph

Arsenal's Thomas Vermaelen out to end title drought

By Mark Bryans

Arsenal club captain Thomas Vermaelen is putting all talk of his future on hold as he turns his attention to tomorrow's FA Cup final against Hull.

The 28-year-old Belgium defender made 14 Barclays Premier League appearances as the Gunners secured a top-four finish and another season of Champions League football.

Vermaelen, who played in the penalty shoot-out victory over Wigan in the semi-final, will be hoping to be involved against Hull this weekend despite requiring five stitches in a knee injury suffered at Norwich on the final day of the league campaign.

If he does play, it could prove to be his last appearance for Arsenal as he strives to find first-team football.

But Vermaelen is keen to keep his mind trained only on delivering the FA Cup to the Emirates Stadium and end a nine-year run without silverware for Arsene Wenger's side.

"It is not important at the moment, my future," he said.

"We are in front of an FA Cup final and my focus is there. My future is not important at the moment. We know there has been a lot of talk about not winning a trophy for a long time and so for us it would be important to win the final."

Memories of a 1-0 League Cup final defeat to Birmingham in 2011 will no doubt weigh heavily on the minds of Arsenal supporters leading into another showpiece game where they enter as the firm favourites.

Vermaelen missed the shock loss two years ago due to a long-standing Achilles issue and does not want to be recollecting that time in the run-in to the meeting with Hull.

"The whole time was difficult for me, to be out injured for such a long time," he said.

"Missing big games like finals was never easy. I was at Wembley, I was in the stands. It's a long time ago but it was a very disappointing result and everybody knows that.

"We can't think about it. Saturday is a different game again. There are a lot of changes in the team since then – a lot of players left since then – but we have to make sure that it doesn't happen again.

"Every final is something special, something different. Of course, that happened but that's the past and we have to make sure that stays in the past."

Belfast Telegraph


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