Vermaelen wary of Newcastle threat

Arsenal captain Thomas Vermaelen has warned his team-mates not to underestimate Newcastle when the two sides clash despite the Magpies' recent dismal run of form.

Football News: Thomas Vermaelen, Arsenal

By staff

Newcastle have been nothing short of woeful this season, with Alan Pardew's charges picking up a mere 20 points from 19 games so far, and the Magpies currently find themselves 15th in the table, five points off the relegation zone.

This has been a far cry from the club's lofty pre-season expectations of challenging for a spot in the top four, something that their opponents on Saturday, Arsenal, seventh in the table, are currently doing.

However, with the Gunners set to host Newcastle on Saturday, Vermaelen urged his team-mates not to lose focus against a seemingly struggling team, claiming that the Magpies had the ability to harm them if they did and admitting he was left impressed with the way Pardew's men pushed league leaders Manchester United all the way in their 4-3 defeat on Wednesday.

"I thought Newcastle did very well against Manchester United, so they'll clearly pose a threat this weekend," Vermaelen was quoted as saying by the official Arsenal website.

"Scoring three goals there [at Old Trafford] is always a good achievement, and in that situation you'd usually expect to come away with a draw or a win. 

"United always seem to score one more goal than their opponents at the moment, though, and that proved to be the case again.

"Newcastle's position in the table surprises me, especially when you look at how well they did last season. 

"Most of their team is the same, and they put in some amazing performances back then. 

"I think they deserve more points than they currently have, but we know very well that things can change quickly in this league. 

"It will be a very hard game for us and we need to be ready."

The last time Newcastle made the trip to the Emirates Stadium, Vermaelen was on hand to secure a vital 2-1 victory for his side with a last-gasp goal, and the Belgian international is hopeful his side can pick up a win again on Saturday.

"That's a game I have great memories of," Vermaelen recalled.

"I managed to score the winner in injury time, and I think it was the most important goal I have scored for Arsenal. 

"The teams were very close to each other in the league at the time, and we needed to win to help us towards the Champions League. 

"It was an amazing feeling to score right at the end, and hopefully Saturday's game will also leave us feeling positive."

Both Arsenal and Newcastle have met 156 times in the league previously, with the Gunners running out victors on 58 occasions.

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