Arsenal star prepares for £60m striker, is 'having fun' at the Emirates

Arsenal captain Thomas Vermaelen is preparing to face freescoring striker Falcao later this week.

Arsenal's Thomas Vermaelen has a real test ahead of him this weekend, when he lines up in a different shade of Red for his country.

The Belgian sees his World Cup bound nation go head-to-head with Colombia in a friendly match-up between two of the most in-form and fancied teams in international football.

Vermaelen's international place remains in flux due to his lack of regular football for Arsenal, so putting on a good show is going to be very important to him.

After missing training with a calf worry earlier in the week, and did not complete a full session today eiher, but hopes still to start the match.

Putting on a big show in this much anticipated match-up is not going to be as easy as just turning up for a run-of-the-mill friendly, he will face arguably the world's best out-and-out centre-forward, Radamel Falcao.

It says much about Vermaelen's character that he is not using the 'injury' to give this one a miss, but is desperate to test himself against the Colombian striker.

He told Belgian newspaper Nieuwsblade: "Playing Radamel Falcao is a great challenge, Falcao has been a goal machine.

"He is in the camp of the enemy, makes the game more interesting, especially for the defenders to try to prevent. him scoring, in view of the World Cup is a very good idea to measure us."

Putting on a stellar performance, and 'keeping Falcao in his pocket' would do wonders for Vermaelen's international reputation, and also provide him with confidence to build on for his return to Arsenal.

Falcao and Colombia also have much to prove against a top European team, and will want to put on a show themselves.

The £60 million striker, who Jose Mourinho is alleged to be scouting in the game, has netted nine goals in 13 Ligue 1 games this season since joining Monaco in the summer.


Vermaelen was quizzed in the same interview as to his plans and current role at Arsenal, where he was recalled to the starting line-up with Per Mertesacker too ill to face Manchester United on Sunday.

He feels the Gunners can really achieve this season and dismissed any notion he could wish to move on in January:

"I'm still having fun here. I'm not worried about my place in the squad. I prepare every week like I should play, for a complete game I'm always ready. Despite the defeat we did well at Old Trafford.

"In this game, to make your comeback, is a real challenge. But the important thing is that the team is doing well. We are the leaders in the Premier League and I hope that will long remain so."

image: © Ronnie Macdonald

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