Arsenal skipper Thomas Vermaelen has spoken of his frustration at being unable to force his way back in to the side.
Manager Arsene Wenger prefers Laurent Koscielny’s double act with Per Mertesacker at the heart of the Gunners rearguard.
And that means the Belgian international defender must be content with a place on the bench as Wenger’s outfit prepare for the Premier League visit to Crystal Palace on Saturday.
Arsenal sit on top of the table and haven’t lost a league game since the season’s opener against Aston Villa.
So although Vermaelen is desperate to gain some game time, he understands that he must be patient given Wenger’s side’s league form.
He said: “This of course a frustrating time for me as I try to get back into the side, but I am really happy for the team.
“A winning atmosphere is so much better when you are around the training ground, it makes it more happy. For me, I just have to be patient. I feel good in training, I have come back from my injury, feel really good and I am ready whenever the boss needs me.
“Of course, you want to play in every game, but it is tough competition in there, especially when everyone is fit.
“So it’s not easy but I am happy we are winning at the moment, there’s a good atmosphere and I hope we can continue the run.”
And Vermaelen has revealed he has spoken to the manager about his current situation.
He added; “There are going to be around 60 games, so you will always get a chance to play. I have spoke to the boss about it – it can happen in a split second. I had it last year when Per got the red card at West Brom. I needed to be ready to come on and then play the next game too. It can change so quickly.
“That makes it difficult, too, because you need to be ready 100 per cent of the time even if you are not starting – you need to prepare the same way because anything can happen in the first second or the last second. Mentally and physically you need to be ready when the manager calls you.”