Arsenal v Villa: Vermaelen - Benteke will keep on improving
Thomas Vermaelen has backed countryman Christian Benteke to "keep on improving".
But defensive ace Vermaelen is hoping to keep Benteke quiet this weekend, as Villa face Arsenal.
He said: "I know Christian well through working with him in the Belgium national team.
"He's scored some important goals for us - against Serbia and Scotland in particular.
"He is still young, and I'd describe him as an 'English' kind of striker - good in the air, timing his jumps well, strong and improving technically.
"I think he'll only keep improving, and I am really happy for him - but I hope we can keep him quiet this weekend."
Vermaelen also spoke of his shock at Villa's current league position.
But the giant centre-half believes the club's "long-term" plan will bear fruit.
He added: "I'm surprised they have struggled this season.
"I've watched them several times and have seen them put in some really good performances, scoring some nice goals.
"Their game at West Brom a few weeks back sticks in the memory and they were very unlucky to lose 3-2 to Manchester United earlier in the season after going two up.
"They've gone with a young team and I think that's been the difference this year. What pleases me about them is that their manager, Paul Lambert, has been given time.
"He has a fairly inexperienced team and it's refreshing to see that he has been allowed to work with the players, developing them, rather than having to look only at the short term.
"Other clubs have sacked their managers very quickly and I'm glad Villa have not."
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