Arsenal player insists United did not take their confidence - is he right?

Vermaelen And Arsenal Celebrate

Gunners captain admits set-piece concession during Manchester United loss was frustrating…

Arsenal may have come unstuck to old rivals Manchester United by a 1-0 scoreline with a former Gunner - Robin van Persie - securing the winner with his new club but captain Thomas Vermaelen is adamant that his side will not allow it to sap their confidence as they remain in a commanding position at the head of the Premier League division.

Prior to the slip-up at Old Trafford, Arsenal had dropped just one point since their opening day blip against Aston Villa in a domestic run that saw them set the pace and go five points clear, however, Liverpool's attack-happy approach against Fulham at Anfield saw the Reds close that to two points, a cushion Arsenal failed to expand upon by returning to North London empty-handed at the weekend.

'We lost the game to a set-piece and that's a bit frustrating,' summarised Vermaelen, 27, to the club's official website. The third choice centre back, who insists he wants to stay and fight for a first choice role at Emirates Stadium, added: 'Neither side really created too many chances. We didn't play well enough in possession of the ball to create any chances or score goals.

'We wanted to win the game and went to Old Trafford to do that. We were eight points ahead of United going into the match and had the chance to make it 11 points. It was a bit of a missed opportunity.

'But we're still top of the league and need to keep the confidence we've had over the last couple of weeks. There's no reason for that to change dramatically. We're still confident we can win games and we have a long way to go.'

Perhaps the international break has come at an opportune moment for the Gunners as it allows them a chance to re-group, however, heading back into the Premier League fixtures Arsene Wenger is tasked with restoring Gunners pride in tricky fixtures such as a home tie against the seemingly impenetrable Southampton prior to a trip to the red hot cauldron that is Cardiff City at Ninian Park.

image: © Ronnie Macdonald

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