Vermaelen: Arsenal owe Wenger progression after continual support

The 27-year-old captain hopes to be able to see his side past Bayern Munich and into the Champions League quarter-finals to give something back to his under-fire manager

Arsenal captain Thomas Vermaelen says the squad are desperate to beat Bayern Munich and pay back Arsene Wenger as pressure on the manager increases.

The 27-year-old has refused to write the Gunners’ chances off, despite facing a 3-1 deficit from the first leg at the Allianz Arena against a rampant German side that have not tasted defeat since October.

However, Vermaelen pointed to last year when Wenger’s charges very nearly overturned a 4-0 loss to AC Milan at the same stage with a 3-0 victory at the Emirates Stadium as evidence Arsenal have the ability to perform when required.

Vermaelen told reporters: “We owe the manager. We want to give him something back because he gives us confidence and belief.

“We go into this game to win and get through. Last year against Milan we almost did it and most people thought it was impossible.

“In football anything can happen. Of course it’s difficult but we believe in it and football is a strange sport.”

Vermaelen and his defensive colleagues have been the subject of disgruntled fans’ criticism this season, and the centre-back acknowledged the problems and insisted efforts were being made to rectify them.

He continued: “We are working on the defence every day of the week. We always take it personally.
“You have to keep going and not care too much about what people say.”

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