Vermaelen warns Arsenal to beware Napoli ace Mertens

Thomas Vermaelen

Thomas Vermaelen has identified Belgium international team-mate Dries Mertens as a threat when Arsenal host Napoli in the Champions League tonight.

Rafael Benitez’s side arrive in north London in excellent form and Vermaelen says the Gunners must be at their best to overcome the Italians.

Napoli recruited Mertens from PSV Eindhoven in the summer and the Arsenal skipper, who will more than likely be on the bench for the encounter, says Wenger’s outfit must be wary of Mertens.

He said: “It should be a really exciting game against Napoli, We saw what a good team they are at the Emirates Cup, and they have brought that into the new season –  staying unbeaten in the league so far and having a great result against Borussia Dortmund.

“One of my Belgium team-mates, Dries Mertens, joined them over the summer and – if he plays – will be among those to watch out for. He had a few good seasons in Holland with Utrecht and PSV Eindhoven, and was one of the league’s best players there.

“When he comes on for the national team he makes a difference for us, and he can certainly be dangerous for Napoli.”

Vermaelen has been forced to be patient to get his place back in the team with Wenger preferring to select the pairing of Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker.

He played the 90 minutes plus extra time in the recent penalty shootout win in the Capital One Cup game against West Brom and says he was glad to get game time under his belt.

He added: “Two hours of football was a challenge for me after three months out, but I was really happy to come through it and was actually quite surprised at how I well I felt in the couple of days afterwards.

“It wasn’t easy, of course, but I felt good physically. I worked hard during my injury so I am happy with how things have turned out.”

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