It is hard to believe Thomas Vermaelen is a defender by trade, such is the frequency in which he appears in opposition penalty boxes. With his surging runs up the field and set piece threat, the Arsenal defender exhibits a level of attacking skill that leaves many designated forwards in the shade. With this in mind, it’s no surprise to see him topping the defender goal scoring charts, having notched five times already this term.
Finding the net hasn’t always been a facet of the Belgian international’s career, however. A product of the Ajax’s famed youth academy, he has notched 24 career goals since making his first team debut for the Dutch club in 2004, though half of these have come since joining Arsenal in 2009. It is no wonder he is referred to as the Gunners’ second best striker after Robin Van Persie, although on paper this season, he is the fourth most clinical in terms of goals scored.
Despite missing nine games this term through injury and suspension, Vermaelen has still managed to accrue 115 points and is the sixth best defender in terms of total points in the Fantasy Premier League (FPL) game. Goals have undoubtedly helped him achieve this, with four double-figure returns and 13 bonus points to his name already. Among his most recent hauls was a goal and maximum bonus points in Arsenal’s Gameweek 29 victory over Everton at Goodison Park.
In recent weeks a resurgent Arsenal have tightened up markedly at the back, racking up four clean sheets in the last five Gameweeks. Vermaelen’s influence in the Gunners’ backline is obvious; in the 23 games he has started, they have returned 10 clean sheets but without Vermaelen in the first XI, Arsenal have chalked up just two clean sheets in 10 matches; a drop from 43% to 20%.
Crucially for those Fantasy managers scrabbling around to get a team together for the problematic Gameweek 34, Vermaelen is set to host Wigan this Monday. The recent improvement in form for the relegation-threatened Lancashire side will not worry Vermaelen, though; Arsenal’s Gameweek 14 clash away to Wigan was the scene of a 16 point haul for the centre-half, his biggest of the season so far.
The 7.0 priced defender then faces ( CHE, sto, NOR, wba) over the last four fixtures of the season and, with considerable potential to accrue points at both ends of the pitch, Vermaelen seems well-placed to pick up the points as Arsenal look to secure an automatic Champions League spot in the race for third with north London rivals Spurs.
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For Gameweek 38
- van Persie
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“I love to attack and I love to go up front...It is a little more difficult than when you are playing centre-back. If you play the way that I want to play, I think my influence is better as a left-back. For the team, it is best that I play as a centre-back. I like to bring the ball out. You need to move the game quickly, and that is one of my qualities as well.”Jan Vertonghen outlines what he feels is his best position for Andre Villas-Boas